When you hear “repentance,” what do you think of? Often we mean little more than reading off our list of bad actions so that God will forgive us. Perhaps we go a little bit deeper and acknowledge our wrong thoughts as well. Both of those are good, but they’re not enough. Do your prayers go down to the level of your heart, not just your head and hands?
Do you share with God your hopes, dreams, disappointments, and feelings? Do you ever admit to God that you’re depressed because you didn’t get what you want? Or that you are frustrated because someone failed to recognize you publicly? Have you ever told God that you didn’t feel like going to church Sunday evening, or that you’re scared to share the gospel with your co worker?
In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also. John 14:2-3 (KJV)
There has been a lot of distrust over modern versions. Some feel their updated language somehow makes the Scripture too common. Some dislike the fact newer versions sometimes leave out words or phrases if they feel that, based on new evidence, those words or phrases weren’t part of the original text. But some don’t like the fact that classic passages, such as the one above, have been modified or altered. After all, how many of us have grown being told we will receive a mansion? And now that’s changed? The NASB, NIV, ESV, NET, and the CSB have all changed this word to either rooms or dwelling places. So what gives?
I have read through Genesis many times. That’s not meant to be impressive, because a number of those times were when I attempted to read through the Bible in a year, only to give up a month or so in. Through-the-Bible-in-a-year programs usually go really well, until about halfway through Exodus. Then we get bogged down with specific laws for Israel and chapter after chapter describing how to build the Tabernacle. If we manage to make it through Exodus, we find ourselves in Leviticus, and then Numbers, and by that point many have thrown in the towel.
There are portions of the Old Testament that people love. One of the most common answers I get when asking teens where they are reading their Bibles has been Proverbs. The Psalms are well loved, and rightly so, for the way they speak directly to our emotions. But there are sections that confuse and challenge us. Wiping out all the Canaanites? Nine chapters of genealogies in 1 Chronicles! I mean, genealogies are one thing, but nine chapters! Then there’s poetry that doesn’t rhyme, imagery that doesn’t make sense to those living in the technology age, and prophets addressing a political scene that many are unfamiliar with, and before we know it we are back in the familiar territory of one of Paul’s letters.
Do you enjoy God? I wonder if anyone has ever asked you that question before. Often we are asked if we are saved, if we love God, if we are willing to serve Him, obey Him, worship Him. But do you enjoy God? Do you enjoy worship? Listening to preaching? Bible reading and praying? Do you anticipate time with God, or do you dread it? Is it a delight or a chore?
My guess is that most of you would say, “Yes, I do enjoy God, but not like I want to.” But how does one go about enjoying God more? How do you go from “I want to delight in God” to “I delight in God?” There isn’t just some magic switch that can be flipped, or we would all flip that switch in a heartbeat! No, that’s not how our emotions and feelings work, so how do we go from “I have to spend time with God” to “I want to spend time with God”?
I’m going to give you 4 keys that I have found helpful in building a relationship with God. These are pretty basic, and they aren’t overnight fixes. But if you begin implementing them in your life, over time you will see a desire and love for your Savior grow stronger and stronger.
I once saw a picture on twitter that had a bar graph showing several unlabeled categories of differing heights. The label at the bottom read “Sin in our eyes.” Beneath was a picture of that chart as if you were looking down on it and couldn’t tell how high or how low each category. The label read “Sin from God’s perspective.” It was creative. It was thought provoking. It was encouraging. It was wrong.
Perhaps you have heard a well-intentioned believer say, “All sin is the same in God’s eyes.” Perhaps you have been brought up believing that. Perhaps you believe that now. But as with every spiritual sounding mantra that isn’t actually a verse, we must ask if it lines up with what Scripture teaches. A careful study of the Bible will show us that, contrary to what many believe, not all sin is the same in God’s eyes. And rather than being a discouragement, the truth ends up being more helpful, encouraging, and fair than we might at first realize.
The Problem With Christian Trump Supporters
How to Have Personal Standards Without Being a Legalist
The Heart of Modesty
Stop Trying to Reach Millennials
Like our Facebook page to keep up with the latest articles!