The Christmas season is upon us. This time of year, we can get stressed about money, finding the perfect gift, and figuring out how to attend all of the events we've been invited to.
I would like to take a moment to remind you of what this season is all about, while asking you a very important question.
I'm on Chapter 13 in my book "The Battle Plan for Prayer". This Chapter is about Jesus. I am going to share some of what the Kendrick brothers have written in hopes that I will lead you to God, if you aren't a Christian, and to provide a Spiritual "Check up" if you will, to those who are.
In Matthew Chapter 7 Jesus says something that's somewhat scary. Verses 21-23 in the HCSB version says this, "Jesus warned, "Not everyone who says to Me, "Lord, Lord" will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of My Father in heaven. On that day many will say to Me, "Lord, Lord, didn't we prophesy in Your name, drive out demons in Your name, and do many miracles in Your name?" Then I will announce to them, "I never knew you! Depart of Me, you lawbreakers!"
I understand how this verse might make you feel. You might be thinking, "So what's the point? If I give my life to Jesus, He could say this to me and it wouldn't matter anyway."
Please keep reading.
You can't simply go to heaven because you're a good person, or because you walked an aisle, or because you prayed a prayer, or because you were dedicated as a baby, were baptized at any point in your life, because you joined a church, or because you volunteer at that church.
Those things don't constitute you being a Christian. They are good, don't get me wrong, but they don't make you a Christian.
What is needed is a relationship with God that must begin with repentance and faith in what Jesus did on the cross for us.
I know at Christmas we focus on His birth. And that's a GREAT thing! But we can't stop there. We need to remember that this baby grew up, died on a cross for our sins, and is at the right hand of the Father right now praying for us.
"God is the One, not people, who establishes the righteous requirements for knowing Him, praying to Him, and spending an eternity with Him. We are foolish and prideful to think we get to decide these things for ourselves." ~ The Battle Plan for Prayer
Salvation that comes by grace through faith separates Christianity from every other religion in the world. God offers us forgiveness and eternal life as a free gift, rather than requiring us to spend a lifetime of sacrifice trying to EARN heaven and God's forgiveness.(Can I get an amen and thanks be to God for this?)
The Kendrick brothers have 7 indications of true salvation... I hope you can see all of them in your life.
1. A lifestyle of obedience to God. Though Christians stumble and make mistakes, the big picture direction and habit of a true believer becomes one of submission and obedience to Christ.
2. A confession of Jesus as the Christ, God's Son.
3. A lifestyle of repentance of sin. Jesus said, "Unless you repent, you will all likewise perish. (Luke 13:3)
4. Genuine love for other believers.
5. The discipline of God your Father. Even as a loving earthly father disciplines his children, God promises to discipline His children when they get out of line. This isn't punishment. It's discipline.
6. The presence of God's Holy Spirit. If you are a true believer, then God's Spirit is in you and will testify with your spirit that you are a child of God (Romans 8:16). He will also convict you when you sin (John 16:8), reveal what God's Word says when you read it (John 14:26), and pour genuine love, joy, and peace in and through you toward others (Galatians 5:22).
7. Faith in Jesus alone for salvation (and not yourself). Have you been trusting in Jesus alone for your salvation or trusting yourself or your church?
"These 7 indicators are signs of a CHANGED life - litmus tests revealing whether God has really made you a new creation or not. They don't come naturally and are impossible to fake long-term. The world, the flesh, and the devil are all against you doing these things and will push you in the opposite direction from them." ~ The Battle Plan of Prayer
So, what about you? Are these indicators showing you that you are living as a Christian?
It's not about being perfect. Ok? Hear me on this. There isn't a rule list to check off. It's about a relationship with God that is REAL, RAW, and HONEST. He loves you so much and all He wants is for you is to be in relationship with Him. He will lead, guide, and direct you if you let Him.
If you don't feel like you are really a Christian, talk to God about that. Ask Him to help you. Repent and turn to Him. He only wants your heart. I like this cartoon illustration of giving God our broken hearts.
If you need prayer, please ask me to pray for you. I promise I will. I hope you will give your heart to God if you haven't.
God bless you today and always.