Joy, peace and contentment are not found in the external world. How do we find all three when we live in a world where immediate gratification is glorified? We need to whole-heartedly embrace the Christian life.
- Understand what it means to be human.
Science and people will defy the existence of God. Books were written to uncover Jesus Christ’s life on earth, which question His divinity. Understanding what it means to be human means choosing faith over matter. We will be tempted to choose the visible. But when we reflect on who we are as human beings, our mortality and our experiences that have all led to victories and reflect miracles, we are reminded that there is something much bigger than ourselves. We may have free will, which may “act” as our means to reach ends. However, throughout the journey circumstances will lead us to pain, reminding us of our nature. The invisible hand that carries us through every trial and goes beyond our own understanding as human beings is God, an all-powerful, forgiving and compassionate God. Believing in Him and seeking Him will always win battles that are spurred by the external world. Trusting Him and allowing Him to love us every day, help us uncover His grace that was once hidden by our self-righteous, self-reliant and prideful ways. Building a relationship with God is never too late. Following Jesus Christ, whose death covered our sins so we may receive God’s grace every day and who enabled us to have a relationship with our Almighty God is a calling to open the doors to everything that is good and driven by perfect love in this evolving material world.
2. Follow Jesus Christ by denying or dying to yourself every day.
This is the true essence of the Christian life. You see, “dying to oneself” has been a mystery to me until I started my walk with God. I have always believed that I would need to sacrifice everything for God in order to “die to myself” or “be crucified with Christ” every day. For years, the notion had been intimidating and nearly impossible to do which stopped me from exploring what it meant.
Only through God’s mercy and love for me did I find out that the biggest barrier that kept me from experiencing joy, peace and contentment was myself. When I accepted Jesus Christ as my Lord and my Savior. I became born again. Through God’s grace by the death of His Son and my Savior Jesus Christ, I was able to start cultivating a personal relationship with my Heavenly Father. I found myself taking down many defenses that had kept me from getting to know Him. The walk was not easy. I experienced trials and doubts. However, God’s grace carried me through each one. It ultimately enabled me to let go of my old self, find my identity in Christ and grow in love for Him. I let go of the security I found in the external world, in people and in my human self, repented for my sins, forgave myself and others and allowed God to renew my mind. The “sacrifice” that once intimidated me slowly became the means to discovering the absolute and beautiful truth about who I was created to be. I discovered that the essence of who I was meant to be came from knowing who I am in Christ. No matter what life brings, His grace gives me the power to choose love over fear and joy over misery. I’ve realized that this power can only come from the Holy Spirit and not from my own understanding.
The beauty about discovering who we truly are in Christ lies in the continuous uncovering of His plans for us and the unparalleled experience of His love. This can only come to life if we continue to seek Him and obey His commands. When we do this, we continue to find ourselves transformed in spirit and truth. By dying to ourselves we become more like Jesus every day. Through this, we encourage others to do the same.
“Then he said to the crowd, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross daily, and follow me. If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake, you will save it.” – Luke 9:23-24 (NLT)
2. Do everything in love.
When you find who you are in Christ, you are empowered to do everything in love. The Bible passage that continues to guide me throughout my journey is taken from Romans 12:2: “Do not conform to the patterns of the world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind so that you may know the will of God that is good, pleasing and perfect.” When you leave your former self and become a follower of Christ, you are guaranteed that the Holy Spirit will continue to renew your mind as you discern God’s will. His will is always rooted in perfect love for us. And our purpose is to magnify Christ by reflecting this unconditional love in everything we do and in every life we touch.
May your days be filled with grace as you begin your journey or as you continue to walk with Him.