Friday, April 20, 2012

The Most Important Blog Post You'll Read This Year

Every day, I see Christians trying so hard. I hear people talking about the heavy load they carry, and how they need more faith to trust the Lord with these heavy weights. It's obviously God's will to struggle through life, it seems. But didn't Jesus say that his yoke is light?

There's a missing ingredient that I've found. hidden right under my nose. After years of trying to lift this heavy burden of "Christianity," whatever that means, I believe I've found the one secret to a successful, fulfilling, joyous Christian existence, no matter what's going on in my circumstances. Once you grab onto this secret with all of your might, and refuse to let go, I believe you may be shocked at how much simpler this whole "Christianity" thing becomes.

Can it really be that simple? One thing that makes this whole walk smooth? I've found it to be true in my own life. Lighten the load, with one simple, singular focus. Feel the peace that surpasses understanding and get on with living life the way God truly wants you to live it.

We are at war. But that doesn't mean you have to be constantly struggling, moment by moment, in a never-ending tug of war with yourself that you feel you can never win. Give yourself a break already.

And once you really embrace this one simple understanding, you'll be in a better position to lighten the load others carry. Instead of well-meaning advice that often falls on deaf ears, provide your loved ones with words that genuinely bring comfort and restoration to their souls when times are at their toughest.

Ignore this truth, and the people around you will feel it. You'll project your struggles onto everyone around you. Even with the best of intentions, you'll sabotage relationships, cause unnecessary tension and turn hopefulness into heartache.

Christianity was never supposed to be a frustrating experience of fits and starts, where you take 2 steps forward and 3 steps back. Where you feel close to God one day and so far from him the next. Where you wrangle and hustle and struggle, only to find yourself falling short and feeling tired.

The bible says that if we take hold of this simple truth, then times of refreshing will come from the Lord. I don't know about you, but I could use some refreshing from the Lord.

What is the lone truth you need to guide you to the refreshing experience of Christianity that the bible promises? The Gospel.

You say, "I already know the Gospel." Are you sure?

What is the Gospel? Take a few minutes and really think about it. First, take a few moments to really meditate on your sinfulness. No, this isn't a guilt trip. I mean really think about how God sees every thought. Every cross word. Every time I've lost my temper or acted selfishly. Every time I dishonored Him. How many times have I done that today? 10? 50? It's true that I'm desperately wicked. I choose iniquity. In fact, I drink it up like water. How about you?

Now, how sweet is the cross, in light of all of that? Even though that's who you are, in truth, God demonstrated His love for you on that brutal, bloody cross. He did that for you. He created this whole world. Everything you see. He owns it. You've cursed Him with your thoughts and with your actions, but look how much He loves you anyway.

Doesn't that make you want to worship Him? Amazing grace, how sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me? How amazing is God's love for us!

Take a few moments to bask in this truth, and everything seems a little different, doesn't it? But here's the thing: you've got to do this every day. You've got to put aside everything else and meditate on the Gospel every day. Otherwise, Christianity (and life, for that matter) will just become a heavy burden. There's only one way it'll be different: meditating on the Gospel every day.

Know what else? How you think of others will change when you do this, too. You'll start seeing people as God sees them. You'll stop (consciously or unconsciously) trying to "punish" others, because they've already been punished. When you want to fight, you'll take your fight to the foot of the cross, look up and suddenly break into worship.

When things are hard, you'll take that to the cross and realize that you've gotten far less than you deserve, and far more than you deserve. Your circumstances will cause you to worship God. You'll experience the times of refreshing your soul desperately longs to taste.

You say, "Don't all Christians already know the Gospel?" Paul seemed to think he needed to remind Christians of the Gospel constantly. Read through his letters. He's constantly preaching the Gospel - to born again believers. Why? Because we constantly need to meditate on the truth of the Gospel.

Because we are at war. And much of this war is fought in your mind. The only antidote is reminding ourselves that Christ died for us. That He was, and we are, resurrected to a new life because our God is rich in mercy and grace and love toward us.

Every day, we need the manna of the reminder of how much God loves us and demonstrated that love. Yes, it's good to read your bible, pray, go to church and tell others about Christ. But the most essential part of this whole journey is constantly spending time meditating on who you are, and who Jesus is, and what He has done because He is so merciful.

If you think this is too simplistic, I challenge you to pray this through. For the next week, take just 10 minutes, close your eyes and really stop to think about your sinfulness. Who you are in truth. The thoughts no one sees. Think about the brutality of the cross. The blood He shed for you. The anguish. A pain we can never even begin to understand. Yet he cried out, "Father, forgive them." He cried out, "It is finished."

After a week, I promise you that your burdens won't be so heavy and your heart will worship Him more and more. God invites you to walk with Him in the cool of the day, like Adam and Eve once did. This is how. Will you walk with Him today, meditate on the Gospel, and experience the time of refreshing He longs to have with you?


  1. Oh my goodness Jesse... totally wow! You have NO IDEA the timing of this today and how much God spoke to me through this post you have written. The Spirit was leaping off of my computer and truly convicting and speaking to my heart. Today has been an awful day. It is the day before performance and up until today things were going very well. They still are for the most part. The drama I had to face today just left me discouraged at myself because I believe I could have handled things much better. I am so angry at myself and feeling like such a failure. I came home and decided to check my facebook before I took some quiet time to relax. I saw the link to this post. I headed here as I always do when you write. Your writings are always so inspiring and the Lord uses you to speak to my heart through them. The problem is you don't write enough here. LOL! Honestly though... it is HIS timing and HIS leading so I understand. Just know that your post today spoke so much to my heart and has helped me to get my focus where it belongs. I definitely see repentance coming my way and lots and lots of weeping in prayer. Thank you for obeying God's leading.

  2. Thanks Yvette...Isn't God always right on time? Sorry to hear it was rough today. Hey, I've got even more bad news. As bad as you think you did today, I guarantee you that you did far worse than you even think you did. I just opened my mouth foolishly, so I'm in that boat, too. And I handled things far worse than I even realize I did. THAT'S what makes the Gospel so amazing. God loves us so much, that He went to such extremes to show us. Despite us. Every time I foul up, I realize it stinks far worse than I even perceive. That drives some to feel guilty, or less "Christian." That drives me to worship! (Okay, not always, but it SHOULD.) :) Be blessed. Even though it's been awful, try to squeeze all the enjoyment you can out of it. It's Ashley's special day - and yours, mom. Savor it. The sand goes through the hourglass fast, doesn't it? Seems like just yesterday she was starting kindergarten... be refreshed and enjoy tomorrow. Strive to enter His rest. Moment by moment, continue to strive to enter His rest. Thanks for the encouragement. :)

  3. Thank you Jesse! Tonight you helped me realize even more how much I have a rotten stinky attitude at times. It's like I keep saying about our move to Pop's. There is a HUGE mountain that I cannot go around. It sits at my feet and I know I need to get to the other side. But instead of climbing I have to chip it away one small small chip at a time. I would prefer to just climb it, but God wants to teach me so much the longer way there. That's how my stinky attitude is. It seems like a huge mountain spiritually. I see my bad attitude and so many things about me that need changing, but cannot seem to rid of it all at once! LOL!

  4. I see myself in your comment so much Yvette...that's what makes God's grace so amazing. Amazing grace, how sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me. The good news is that God sees you white as snow, at this very moment, no matter what kind of rotten attitude you or I may have had today. It's so simple, I'm so guilty of just going, "yeah, I know that already. That's baby Christianity." But that IS the meat of Christianity. Don't stay at the "I am...." place. Let that drive you to the "He has done..." and "He is..." place. That's where the power to overcome it all is. That's where the joy and refreshing is. The "I am..." stuff just creates a contrast that helps us see HIM more clearly, and therefore worship Him more fully. Not that you don't know all this, but we all need to be reminded. Myself included. That's why Paul preaches the Gospel over and over again... to Christians. He is the God of all comfort. He'll take care of you. Always has. Keep your eyes on Him and He'll never let you down.