When & Where
Who We Are
Maybe you can relate to this....
When I first became a Christian, I was so grateful that Jesus accepted me as I was. My life was pretty messed up, and I knew it. So when I realized that God loved me first, it was the natural reaction to love Him back. Joy and peace surrounded me, prayers were answered miracuously, life was filled with hope......
Then I went to church.
Don't get me wrong, I was so excited to be with other believers. I was so hungry to learn. But over time, I began to realize that I was being taught all the things I had to DO to earn and maintain God's pleasure with me. Answers to prayer grew further apart, joy and peace began to elude me.
Why? The answer to this question has taken me years to learn, but it finally dawned on me. When I first met Jesus, he was my total focus. I never for one second expected Him to answer my prayers because I deserved it, I knew better than that. But after spending years in church, I now understand that I had picked up teaching along the way that took my focus off of Jesus, and centered on me and my behavior.
I would pray, and when the answer seemed postponed I would begin navel gazing, sifting through my past behavior to make sure I measured up. Obviously, I never did. There was always something more I could have done, or less bad stuff I should have done. As a result, I got to the place where I knew God loved me (after all, He loves everyone) I just wasn't sure that He liked me.
Whenever we take the focus off of Jesus and His finished work on the cross, we inevitably put the focus where it should not be, It shouldn't be about circumstances, the devil or me. It is ALL about Jesus. We never deserved any of His goodness, His Grace is a free gift.
My journey reminds me of Peter walking on the water. As long as Jesus was his focus, all was well. The wind and the waves scared Peter and he began to sink. It didn't enter Peter's mind that he would not be able to walk on water even if the wind was still and the sea was glass.
My point is .....It's all about Jesus. Period. He paid the ultimate price so that my sins could be forgiven and I could receive new life. Take your critical eyes off of yourself, and turn your gaze toward Him.
That's what we are about at Impact. Living by Grace... because it was never meant to be so hard.
Hope to see you, joe