So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus.
Last Sunday, Lead Pastor Ben Snyder took us into the scary, very real world of the thoughts that haunt us and how to thwart them. He asked, “What is chasing, shaming, or even haunting you and thus affecting your life in a negative way?”
Ben described many kinds of failed strategies (he called them “isms”) that we employ in an effort to achieve success, safety, admiration, and temporary material goods. We do this in an effort to feel “in control” and to keep from having to exit our comfort zones, all while life inescapably reminds us that we are not in control.
Isms such as perfectionism, criticism, pessimism, and my personal favorite, protectionism. I’m not sure that’s a word, but I’m referring to living on the defensive and by the premise, “The best defense is a good attack.” None of these work to promote internal peace or improve coping skills, nor will they change our thoughts or behaviors in positive, meaningful ways. They promote mental anguish instead of relieving it. Unfortunately, you will remain haunted and driven by those negative, fear-mongering thoughts.
There IS good news though! When we embrace God’s answer to our problems, failings, and fears, we find true love and eternal peace and purpose. The Apostle Paul spelled it out this way in Romans 7:24-25: “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.” He then goes on to say, “So you see how it is: In my mind, I really want to obey God’s law, but because of my sinful nature I am a slave to sin” (emphasis added).
You see, God is not here to shame or condemn us. Our sin nature has already done that! Instead, God sent his perfect, divine, sinless son, Jesus Christ, to provide the means for us to escape from our love of sinning. Only Jesus—the perfect, sinless sacrifice—is able to pay the terrible price commanded for our sins.
The only way to free yourself from the isms that keep you locked in sin and condemned for playing god in this life is to accept God’s love, kingship, and his offer to pay that terrible price for you through the sacrifice of his son. By doing so, you are saved and free to live a life of peace that surpasses understanding and has eternal meaning and value (Philippians 4:7).
I hope you will take your loving, heavenly Father up on his offer.
Isaiah 26:3 (NIV)
You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast because they trust in you.
What are you haunted by, afraid of, and/or need to control or run from? Make a list.
Will you turn from your fears, anger, entitlement, self-loathing, regret, and/or condemnation of others? If not, why?
You cannot do this alone! There are people here who love Christ and want to love and grow with you—your church family. Don’t isolate yourself. The family of God is a judgement-free zone. Sign-up for GrowthTrack and find out just how much God loves you as you start the journey of a lifetime, getting to know and grow closer to the one who loves you best, the One True God, and his divine Son, Jesus Christ, while being guided deeper into faith by the Holy Spirit.
If you have questions, we have people who would love to help seek those answers with you. Contact your campus pastor or stop at the customer service booth in the lobby at any of our locations and ask.
Every journey to salvation and a deeply meaningful, powerful life starts with one fearless step in the direction of God. Take your first, or your next one today. Right now.
Lord, thank you for your love that will save me if I merely reach out and take it. Lord, give me the vision to choose you, the one true God, to provide healing, help, love, and eternal joy and purpose as I grow ever closer to you. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.
This post was written by Martha Smith, a regular contributor to the LivingItOut Bible Study. Martha describes herself as a lover of Christ who likes to share faith with others.
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