Life has a certain linearity to it. You didn’t live the other choices you could have made. You only can live the single path you choose. Each interaction. Each conversation. Each decision. Each experience. Each moment only happens once. There are no re-dos, come-agains, or take-twos. You’ve already come from where you’ve been and you aren’t yet where you are going. All there is, is right here, right now.
I know you’ve heard that forgiveness is about God granting you a second chance. That what you should be seeking is absolution and what you should be focused on is repentance. So many of the voices in your life are likely telling you to make up, make do, and hope for a better future. They’re saying that life is about correcting past mistakes, making up for your errors, and pursuing a supposed purity that no one you know has ever attained.
I visited a church a few weeks ago where the pastor was preaching a message that could easily have been titled “Why God’s plan is for you to hold on for a better future — when someday, somewhere things might get better, maybe” or, for short, “Life sucks and then you die”. Have you ever heard one of these messages?
“In life there are challenges. You are going to face disease, loss, sadness, grief, and despair. Things are going to go wrong for you and when you look around you may not understand where God is in all of it. As you can’t find an ability to live in the presence of God, as you scramble, grasping for a sense of belonging, healing, restoration, and life — realize that God loves you and let that be enough.”
I am not ready to give up that easy and you shouldn’t be either. I worship a living God who loves me, provides for me, heals me, restores me, blesses me, increases me, empowers me, commissions me, calls me, sends me, directs me, and gives me life every moment of every day through every experience and every decision. When the enemy is against me, God is for me. When the enemy would hold me down, God is promoting me. When the enemy seeks to destroy me, God is working a new miracle in my life.
This is for real. I’m tired of surrendering to the message that the enemy has planted in so many pulpits and congregations across America. I’m tired of the defeat that I see on so many faces and the checked-out, passive acceptance of anything and everything that is being passed off as the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Jesus did not tolerate diseases. Jesus healed them.
Jesus didn’t ask people to put up and shut up. Jesus released His own Spirit to empower and enlighten all who would receive Him.
Jesus didn’t take life lying down, hoping that someday things might change. Jesus was the living God, come to turn the world, and everyone in it, around and open the way to new life, eternal life — right here, right now, and forever.
Jesus wasn’t afraid to get His hands dirty. Jesus was a charismatic, can-do leader who came with His direction clear, His reward in hand, and His intensely focused attention on accomplishing the mission and purpose He was called to in every moment of every day. He didn’t give up. He didn’t give in. He didn’t’ wait for sometime, somewhere. He was ready right then, right there. And He did whatever it took to achieve the results he was looking for.
Jesus didn’t let death, disease, doubt, fear, conflict, misunderstandings, anger, hatred, violence, lies, or anything else that the enemy could throw at Him, stop Him.
So you’ve got a terminal disease. So you weren’t born with the body of a movie star. So you’ve lost a loved one. So your business is failing. So your finances need help. So you struggle with depression, anxiety, fear, doubt, disbelief, mental illness, fatigue, insomnia, you name it. These are not who you are. These are not what defines you. These are just the enemy doing their best to bring you down.
The good news is, God has an answer. God has a solution. God isn’t overwhelmed by your challenges, God is using them to take you to the next level.
Through death we discover eternal life. Through loss, disaster, disease, and the rest we discover our ability and our calling to heal and be healed, restore and be restored, serve and inspire, connect and empower others with the good news that we are not defeated, we are not destroyed.
Like Jesus before you, you are an overcomer, you are a conqueror, you are a victor, you have the spirit of the living God washing over you, penetrating deep within you, lifting and strengthening you, and you are His messenger, the messenger of the good news.
For all of hell’s fury. For all of life’s trials. For all of the obstacles, attacks, and defeats that the enemy comes at you with. Not one can stand against the power of the actual gospel of Jesus Christ.
You are alive. You are strong. You are healed. You are restored. You are renewed. These trials that are facing you today will not last. They will not defeat you. They will not destroy you. You are a child of God and He will have the last word. Your life is more than death can extinguish. Your health is more than disease can compromise.
You need to stop looking at your life like it is something that is happening to you. You need to stop approaching life like it is a novel that you are reading. You need to join with your author and start writing the pages of the present that are going to determine the story of your future.
Belief is more than an aspirational statement of supposed fact. Belief is the knowledge that comes from an experience of God.
Belief is not blind conviction or baseless assertions. Belief is a vision of things to come that empowers you to choose wisely the life that God is laying out before you.
Life is eternal. Stop waiting for it to happen to you. Start making it happen for those around you.
There is an old saying that courage is not the lack of fear, courage is when you experience fear and are able to take action anyway.
It’s time to get your courage on. It’s time to realize that nothing can defeat you, nothing can destroy you, nothing can hold you back from realizing the destiny that God has in store for you.
“Weeping may endure for the night, but joy comes in the morning” – Psalm 30 (NKJV)
It’s time for Christians everywhere to take a stand for joy, for peace, for blessings, for fulfillment, for love, for abundance, for prosperity, for intimacy, for commitment, for goodness, for the good news of the gospel that Jesus Christ was willing to die in order to share.
Let’s stop sharing the message of defeat, apathy, surrender, mediocrity, and wishful thinking about a better time and a better place and start declaring the goodness of our God — the immediate presence and salvation that He offers, and the eternal life of victory that He created you, me, and every person living today to enjoy. Don’t accept anything less. The gospel of Jesus Christ will carry you through whatever struggle you are in today and the victory is guaranteed.
Death can not defeat you. Disease can not destroy you. No weapon formed against you will prosper. You are a child of God. Formed on purpose, for a purpose. You are called. You are chosen. You are loved. And your mission is to bring the good news, to lighten dark places, to heal the broken, and raise up the downtrodden. You are the hope of the world. Don’t let the enemy’s vain attempts to stop you get in the way of your destiny. Press on. You are a conquerer, like Jesus before you. You can do all things through Christ who strengthens you. And He will give you the victory.