Thursday, November 28, 2013

Thankful for the Change

This has never been more true for me than it is right now.
Happy Thanksgiving.

Friday, November 22, 2013

How My Answer has Changed: Thoughts on Grace and Salvation

I haven't blogged for over a month... which makes it appropriate that I am writing about grace today! No need for perfection in blogging (or anywhere for that matter), especially when this space is my own.  A space for my reflections, thoughts, and other little tidbits.

Anyway, I wanted to share a little something I have thought about lately. I recently began volunteering at an agency that encourages sharing the Gospel with its clients. This is something that is fairly new to me. As the agency suggested various ways to open up a conversation relating to faith, salvation, and Jesus, they suggested asking the following question:

 "If you died today and Jesus asked you, "why should I let you into Heaven?" how would you answer."

I do think this may be a little bit of an intimidating question for some people so I think it should be used with discretion, but thinking about my own answer to this question and how it has changed over the years reveals to me some ways that I have grown. Some ways my understanding has changed. And I am grateful that God has allowed this growth in me. 

Up until not too long ago, I would have answered this way: 

"I have said the prayer to accept Jesus into my heart. I have asked forgiveness for the things I can remember (probably only noticing major sins, not those that deal with the status of my heart). I try to pray often, I try to pray every night. I try to avoid doing the wrong thing." 

Basically, my answer was all about me, not much about Jesus. All about what I was trying to do, nothing about what He has done. Now I have learned that it's more about Jesus than it is about me. Actually it's all about Jesus. All I have to do is believe and accept

So my answer has changed into this:

"God, I honestly don't deserve Heaven. I have sinned and no matter how hard I try to avoid sin, I am fallen. But I believe in Jesus, the One You sent to save me. I recognize that I desperately need Him. Not just as a one time prayer and free ticket into Heaven, but everyday. All day. I am thankful for Your grace and Your gift of Jesus, who You sent to save and redeem me."

I also notice that when I make it about me, I use the word "try" many times. It's as if my salvation is tentative, and I am unsure. When we recognize that our salvation is more about Jesus and His gift, we can be assured and confident that our future is filled with hope. 

"Because of Christ and our faith in Him, we can now come boldly and confidently into God's presence." -Ephesians 3:12 (NLT)

"Therefore, we who have fled to Him for refuge can have great confidence as we hold to the hope that lies before us. This hope is a strong and trustworthy anchor for our souls. It leads us through the curtain into God's inner sanctuary." -Hebrews 6:18-19 (NLT)

"And this is what God has testified: He has given us eternal life and this life is in His Son. Whoever has the Son has life... I have written this to you who believe in the Son of God, so that you may know you have eternal life. And we know that the Son of God has come and that He has given us understanding so that we can know the true God because we live in fellowship with His Son, Jesus Christ. He is the only true God and He is eternal life." -1 John 5:11-13; 20 (NLT)