Dr. Stanley Spence, Pastor First Baptist Church, Lincolnton, N.C.
The first thing we must understand is God loves us and has a plan for our lives. We are not all called to some full-time Christian ministry, but we are called to be Christian full-time. That plan for our lives is to share fellowship with others and be lightened from the load of our sin. Sin, however, is a difficult burden to understand. We are caught between what the world tells us is alright and what our hearts will not let us forget. How then, does one resolve this burden of the heart? It’s even more than that. There is a spiritual life that cannot begin until the Creator of us all breathes His life into us. This comes to us when Jesus comes into our hearts to dwell within us and give us this life.
By asking Jesus into our hearts, this journey begins for us. The Holy Spirit then dwells within us--freeing us from the burden of sin. We must confess our sin to the Lord and turn from our sin and live for God. This is a decision of choice--not by force. It is based on faith in God, not bargaining with Him for what we want. Bargaining with God is based on the idea you are buying God’s favor for some goodness or act of kindness. When God lives in you, that nature of goodness and kindness becomes your behavior by choice, not force. Sin is not your objective but righteousness is. Jesus will enter your heart when you ask Him to and are ready to surrender your life to Him.
You are then a new creation based on the spiritual birth provided by God through Jesus. How does this new spiritual life work from here on out? We are to live for God by faith with love for Him. Our love for others should reflect the love of God. We must remember, God so loved us in that ‘while we were yet sinners Christ died for us.’ He gave Himself up for us. There is a no truer form of love than someone who will lay down his life for you. But still, it is different with Jesus; as He died for us He saved us too, for all who will receive Him as their Lord and Savior. Here is where we should practice what is known as spiritual breathing. We should breathe out our sin by way of confession unto God and breathe in the forgiveness of God through Jesus’s love. By this we are able to know we are forgiven and free in Christ. We are free to love others not as the world does, but with a love that is more on the order of God’s love; unending and a ‘no matter what’ kind of love. It is a love that makes the ultimate sacrifice for you and me so that we may be free to know Him and love others. This is why we celebrate this season as a result of the resurrection. Free in Christ! Free indeed! Now Ambassadors for Christ!
Sign up for our FREE email service; it's the best way to make sure you get the latest news. We'll send you an email every day with links to our articles posted since the previous day's email. That way, you won't miss the news, obituaries, sports and other items of interest for Lincoln, Gaston, Catawba and Cleveland counties.