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Monday, July 10, 2017

What is the Good News?

"Sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence"  (1 Peter 3:15)

For years I asked the question - what is the good news?  It seems so vague, reading about it in Scripture.  I hear it weekly, proclaimed from the pulpit.  It appeared as though every other Christian knew what this was all about, except for me.  I kid you not, I truly didn't know what exactly was the good news!  

Basically, it's like this.  God loves me unconditionally, and He sacrificed even Himself on the Cross to ensure that I could spend eternity with Him in heaven.  He loves me so much that He couldn't stand the idea of being separated from me, even though I turn from Him when I sin.  He loves me like no one else loves me.  He loves me like I love no one else.  He models true love for me.  I am loved to the ends of the Earth.  What can possibly be better news than that???

Ok, so here comes the natural extension of this realization.  If I feel so utterly loved by God that I live my life in a way that is often contrary to the secular standards of the world, then shouldn't I be grateful beyond measure for this gift of unconditional love and the resulting inner peace that comes with it?  And if I am indeed grateful, then shouldn't I desire to share this gift with others? 

(Of course, if I don't live my life any differently than Secular Sam, then I have to wonder if I really believe in God's eternal love for me.)

I struggle with self-consciousness.  But in Christ (the incarnation of God's love for me!), I am learning to accept who I am, praising the Lord for my positive attributes, and humbling accepting correction surrounding my negative tendencies.  

I worry. But in Christ, I trust God and needn't worry any longer!

I judge. But in Christ, I am aware of my own smallness and feel a sense of comraderie with my fellow sisters and brothers, all children of God, all struggling to some degree in various areas of their lives.  

I have been waiting to replace these faults with virtues (mainly humility and faith) before feeling ready to be able "to give an account for the hope that is in" me (1 Peter 3:15).  But perhaps the best way to attain these virtues is through practice!  Humble in the realization that I am not where I'd like to be, where God calls me to be, as far as virtue is concerned, I have faith that He can nonetheless use even my imperfect attempts to give a testimony of His great love.

So, if right now you do not have a sense of peace about your life, if you are anxious about the future or have regrets about the past, if you struggle with tendencies that you aren't very proud of, if you feel alone and unloved.... I have great news for you!  

Your Creator loves you beyond measure!  He made you on purpose, with a plan for your life. He forgives you for whatever is nagging at your conscience, so long as you admit your wrongdoing and repent!  He wants to spend not just this earthly life with you, but all of eternity!  Whatever is holding you back from living up to your potential, He can help!  He is, after all, the mastermind behind the blueprint for your life!  He can fix it!  He can make it better!  All He wants in return is your love.  Can you believe it?  Can you accept His love? Because that is all it takes - accepting His free offer of unconditional love and eternal life.