“Our idea of God tells us more about ourselves than about Him.” -Thomas Merton
It doesn’t matter who you are, where you’re from, or what you believe (or don’t believe), you need Jesus. This is true whether you are wealthy, middle class, or poor. It is true regardless of the language you speak or the color of your skin. It is true whether you are male or female, young or old. It is true regardless of your religious background, whether you grew up Buddhist, Hindu, Christian, Muslim, atheist, or any of the myriad other possibilities. It is true regardless of any lifestyle choices you have made and it is true whether you are willing to acknowledge it or not. You need Jesus.
You may be trying very hard to live a good life, donating money, helping others, serving your neighbor. Compared to others you might stand out as one who truly has compassion and genuine love for others. You may even be a social worker, medical professional, first responder, or a pastor or religious leader whose very vocation is to help and serve others. Even so, you still need Jesus. Because the truth is – we cannot be good enough. The Bible says: “For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard.” (Romans 3:23) The prophet Isaiah wrote, “We are all infected and impure with sin. When we display our righteous deeds, they are nothing but filthy rags. Like autumn leaves, we wither and fall, and our sins sweep us away like the wind.” (Isaiah 64:6)
We tend to compare ourselves to others, whether consciously or subconsciously. It helps us stave off the feelings of guilt we might otherwise experience; because deep, deep down inside our souls, we know we are sinners. God designed us with a built in sense of right and wrong, but we frequently ignore it, deny its existence, or we rationalize our actions because we want our own way. We “feel” something is right rather than rely on God’s Word to inform us; and in an effort to further justify our feelings, we recruit others to our point of view. There’s safety in numbers because if everyone’s doing it, we tell ourselves, then it must not be wrong.
We would never claim to be perfect in front of others, so we are being disingenuous when we deny our sinful nature, even if we are only denying it to ourselves. “If we claim we have no sin, we are only fooling ourselves and not living in the truth.” (1 John 1:8) There must be a standard for right and wrong and there is, in God’s Word. When we’re honest with ourselves, we know it is not found in our self-comparison to others, or in how we “feel”, or by what we see others doing with seeming impunity. But then isn’t that why many of us do not read the Bible or go to church? Because when we do we may be confronted with the truth. Jesus said, “All who do evil hate the light and refuse to go near it for fear their sins will be exposed.” (John 3:20)
Yet the purpose of God’s laws is to protect us and to show us how sinful we are. When God says “don’t” he means “don’t hurt yourself.” As our loving Father, He sets boundaries and rules so that we may have life, abundance, and happiness. But like a small child testing his parents, we push the boundaries and do our own thing because it “feels” right. Convinced of our moral superiority and reliant on our self-knowledge, we rationalize our behavior until we are convinced God doesn’t exist or his Word is flawed. We start telling ourselves that all roads lead to heaven and we resent those who tell us there is only one way. In other words, our sinful desires drive us to buy into a lie rather than accept the truth.
“Oh, what a miserable person I am! Who will free me from this life that is dominated by sin and death? Thank God! The answer is in Jesus Christ our Lord.” (Romans 7:24-25a)
Everyone needs Jesus because there is only one way. And that way is Jesus. In John 14:6, Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me.” And in 1 John 5:12, we read, “Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have God’s Son does not have life.” The fact that Jesus is the only way is nothing anyone should be upset about, though, because it is an act of the purest love that God sacrificed his very own Son that we might be saved. “For God so loved the world that He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. God sent his Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through him. There is no judgment against anyone who believes in him.” (John 3:16-18a)
Read the words of John 3:16-18a again very carefully. God so loved you that he made provision for your redemption by sacrificing his one and only Son. How is it that love like this would make someone mad? And it is very inclusive because God didn’t exclude anyone – He desires that everyone should be saved.
So you need Jesus. And you can avail yourself of him right now and it couldn’t be easier. Just admit you are a sinner (remember you are being disingenuous if you say you aren’t) and ask Jesus for forgiveness. For “if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved.” And remember, you are dearly loved, more than you will ever know.
God bless you.
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