A problem, solution and response

Today I wandered early onto the internet, just a check-up, hoping someone would post something to entertain or distract me. Later, my heart realized that I was searching the internet for what only Jesus could give me. He gives me purpose every morning, joy, and a multi-grain life. So I brought Him my wandering heart, confessed my idol and found great joy in setting about my day. We’ve got testimonies every day as a believer. Repentance and faith. We find ourselves seeking life in other sources besides Jesus and the Spirit pricks our conscience just like He did when we first chose Jesus. So today, hopefully  you are starting anew with Jesus. Soaking in His beautiful new mercies for you this day. I hope you confess all day that Jesus is where you find full life.

Do you remember first encountering Christ? For most, especially those who’ve grown up around the Church, the change sometimes seems gradual. We’ve acted like Christians and woke up one morning to really believe in Christ. For you, Christ graciously submerged you in His body of believers to thaw your heart in His love. And for others, it’s the nuclear zap from heaven – a dramatic moment where you clearly remember choosing life over death.

However God chose to rescue you, today I want to help you sort through your story. I believe that your story is powerful – God chose to write your story with His blood for His glory, your good and for the good of the people around you. Your testimony of Christ saving you cost Him a lot, so I know it is worth the time and mind-racking-effort to sort out the details.

We can all break down our stories into three stages: a Problem, Solution and Response.

Each of our stories begins with a PROBLEM:

Romans 3:23 “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”

Romans 6:23 “For the wages of sin is death…”

That problem is sin.

Before I became a Christian I was very selfish and self-centered. me Me MEEEE! I truly thought my family’s life revolved around my soccer, piano and cross country practices. I even remember shutting my little sister out of my room to play dolls by myself! What a bummer of a big sister! Another big sin besides being terribly me-centered was that I found my self worth in what others thought of me and especially in how well I performed at sports and at school. I took critiques from coaches very hard and was always determined to please my coach. I bowed down to idols that appear socially acceptable, but to God my idol worship reeked.

Since I am a sinner, what does that mean to God? “For the wages of sin is death…” What I’ve earned with my sinfulness is death. An eternal wrecking of relationship between me and God. That’s what I earned all on my own with my sinful heart. And that’s what Eve and Adam earned when they disobeyed God in the garden. Sin is everyone’s issue. Now, what to do about it?

Each of us encounters a SOLUTION:

Romans 6:23 “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is life eternal through Jesus Christ our Lord.”

I grew up going to the church camp, Camp Glisson in North Georgia. The summer between my sophomore and Junior year was the first year I really heard the gospel. And it was the first time I noticed a difference in someone who loved Jesus. My camp counselor weeped in worship services. He talked about Jesus like he was spending all day with Him. I didn’t get it, but I wanted that realness. So I listened and watched and for the first time I encountered the gospel.

What is the gospel? It is the “free gift of God… life eternal through Jesus Christ…” God freely gives us back our relationship with Him. Freely gives  — we can’t earn this and we don’t deserve it. A gift is something you give and if you’re a good giver, you don’t ask for anything in return. To receive a gift, it’s yours the moment you accept it. Through Jesus Christ — Only because Jesus lived a perfect, sinless life could He die for our sins. His blood redeemed us before God — so that when God sees us, He sees Christ’s blood over us, NOT our sinfulness.

The gospel demands a RESPONSE:

Romans 6:23 “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is life eternal through Jesus Christ our Lord.”

The day after I got back from camp Glisson I was sitting in Church. For months up until then, my friend tried to convince me to join her on a mission trip.  And not just my friend, but I had also heard for months the Spirit asking me to go. And for months I found reasons to say no. But that Sunday morning, instead of hearing the sermon I heard the Holy Spirit prompting me to go on this mission trip. The only thing was that they were leaving 30 minutes after church. I haggled with the Spirit and He finally whispered just ask. So I did. I responded. As it turns out, someone dropped out that morning so there was a free spot. My mom and friend helped me to pack. My dad wrote a check. And in 30 minutes I was in a Church van headed to Tennessee.

How does Christ ask us to respond? By making Jesus Christ “our Lord.” If there were a throne on your heart, before Christ we’d be sitting on it, but when we become a christian Christ sits on that throne. We instate Him as Lord of our lives and we begin lives of surrender to Him.

Don’t think that I was the perfect missionary. I wasn’t. In fact what I remember most clearly about that trip was a fabulous nap. I’m pretty sure I was a terrible missionary. But that’s not the point! What began on that day for me was a pattern of surrender. For the first time, I believed in and obeyed Jesus.

 Just as I have a story of my problem, my solution and my response you too have your own story. I pray that you find time this week to examine the story God has written in your life. Because He has no doubt been at work weaving His glory into your being. I pray that Jesus will use your story to ignite the people you meet and share it with to encounter Jesus for themselves.

 

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