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The Gospel

Dear New and Overwhelmed Christian

Dear New and Overwhelmed Christian

It was so good to get your email and hear that you’ve been a Christian for almost a year now:

I’ve loved it, but it is also pretty overwhelming as I am just developing as a Christian and so many things are being thrown my way. Things such as Anglican tradition, special holidays, different perspectives of the Word and Christ, ways to act as a Christian woman, you name it.

I am not sure how long you’ve been a Christian, but I am pretty sure it’s been longer than I have been. Do you have any tips or advice you could pass on, which will help me in my journey with God as a new Christian? Advice regarding getting through the Word of God, praying always, listening to God, applying God to every aspect of my life, etc.?

First, praise God for giving you the gift of faith in Christ’s once-for-all sacrifice for your sins. I’m so excited I have a new “sister” in the family of God.

I’m sorry that the excitement of your new life in Christ has been crowded out by others throwing lots of stuff your way.

Don’t ever get over Christ and what He has done for you.

My main advice is this: Don’t ever get over Christ and what He has done for you. Remember that you contributed nothing to your salvation. You were dead spiritually.

And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him [Christ], having forgiven us all our trespasses (Col. 2:13).

Dead people can do nothing! God gave you the gift of faith in His Son. Without this gift, you would not have been able to see how beautiful His offer of salvation is:

By grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God (Eph. 2:8).

Guard yourself from believing that God will be more pleased with you if you read Scripture, pray, go to church, etc. Some Christians refer to these activities as “means of grace.” That’s because they’re not acts we do for God; they’re ways God graciously makes us more like Jesus.

So pursue these means of grace as gifts, not as duties. Here are a couple means of grace I’d start with:

1. Get involved in a solid church.

You need community; Christianity is not a solo sport. Here are three websites that can help you find solid churches in your area:

2. Study the Word of God daily.

All Scripture points to Christ, so this is where you go to look for and at Him. Ask an older, godly woman who has walked with God awhile to teach you how to read and study God’s Word. Here are a few posts I’ve written on the subject that will help:

Then take a deep breath. It’s okay that there’s so much you don’t know right now. I’ve been raised on the Bible since I was a little girl, and there’s still so much I don’t know! Above all, set out to know Christ.

As you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him, rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving (Col. 2:6–7).

One of my favorite quotes of all time is by Robert Murray M’Cheyne: “For every look at self take ten looks at Christ.”

It’s fine to explore some of these other things, but above all, keep the main thing the main thing. Or rather, the main Person the main Person: Christ Jesus, our Savior and Lord. As you do, I can say with Paul:

I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ (Phil. 1:6).

Dear New and Overwhelmed Christian was originally published on LiesYoungWomenBelieve.com. 

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Will I Go to Hell If I’m Not a Virgin?

Will I Go to Hell If I’m Not a Virgin?

“Will I go to hell if I’m not a virgin?” a single girl asked me.

I wish I could scoff, “Of course not!” But the truth is, it all depends . . .

Hell: Our Default Destination

Let’s start with this basic understanding: Every person’s default destination is Hell. That’s because without exception:

All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God (Rom. 3:23).

While our culture ridicules the notion that sex is off-limits to everyone other than a man and a woman united in marriage, God says otherwise.

We all sin in countless ways, but let’s specifically address this girl’s question about choosing to have premarital sex.

While our culture ridicules the notion that sex is off-limits to everyone other than a man and a woman united in marriage, God says otherwise.

First Corinthians 6:13–20 explains:

The body is not meant for sexual immorality, but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body. And God raised the Lord and will also raise us up by his power. Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ? Shall I then take the members of Christ and make them members of a prostitute? Never! Or do you not know that he who is joined to a prostitute becomes one body with her?

For, as it is written, “The two will become one flesh.” But he who is joined to the Lord becomes one spirit with him. Flee from sexual immorality. Every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body. Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.

Choosing to have sex outside of marriage is sin, and all sin results in death—physical death and eternal death in hell (Rom. 6:23).

That’s because our God is stunningly more holy than we can imagine:

You who are of purer eyes than to see evil and cannot look at wrong (Hab. 1:13).

Believe me, I get how hard it is to swallow the fact that all of us deserve hell. To us, hell seems like “a divine overreaction.” But as author Randy Alcorn writes:

If we understood God’s nature and ours, we would be shocked not that some people could go to hell, but that any would be permitted into heaven. Unholy as we are, we are disqualified from saying that infinite holiness doesn’t demand everlasting punishment.

So the million dollar question is this. How can this girl who is no longer a virgin—and how can you and I—exchange our one-way ticket to hell . . . for heaven?

How to Exchange Our One-Way Ticket to Hell . . . for Heaven

We can’t on our own. But Someone has done it for us. Jesus chose to endure hell for you and me so we might have the option of entering the joys of heaven.

He [God] made him [Jesus] to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God (2 Cor. 5:21).

Jesus chose to endure hell for you and me so we might have the option of entering the joys of heaven.

Because of our sin, you and I deserve hell. But Jesus has made a way for us, instead, to enjoy Him forever in heaven. In response to this girl who asked, “Will I go to heaven if I’m not a virgin?” I have to ask:

Have you accepted Jesus’ unbelievably heroic, extravagant gift?
Have you confessed and turned from your sins?

First John 1:9 promises that:

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

Hell will be full of those who have sinned sexually (and in other ways). Heaven will also be filled with people who formerly sinned sexually (and in other ways). What’s the difference? It has nothing to do with the sins you’ve committed, but with whether you have embraced the Sin-Slayer, Jesus Christ, your righteous Substitute . . . and turned from your sin as a result.

Have you?

PS: I am indebted to Randy Alcorn for his insights on hell in chapters 3 and 4 of his book Heaven.

Will I Go to Hell If I’m Not a Virgin? was originally posted on LiesYoungWomenBelieve.com.

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A Whole New You

A Whole New You


Editor’s Note:
This post was written as part of the 15-Day Heart Prep series for True Woman ’14.

My whole life I’d struggled to defeat the power of sin—with no success. But after I began studying Romans 6–8 with a couple friends, all that changed.

Old News

Some of it was old news. You know—Jesus came to earth, lived a perfect life, died on a cross, was buried in a tomb, rose from the dead three days later, and then went back to heaven. When I was growing up, I’d rehearsed the story every Sunday at the communion table.

But I’d never connected the dots. I’d never understood how these facts about Jesus applied to me—how they changed everything about me.

New News

It wasn’t just Jesus who died—I died with Him. It wasn’t just Jesus who was buried—my old self, packed with sin, was buried with Him, too. And when Jesus burst out of that tomb with brand-new resurrection life, I, too, was given new life! Galatians 2:20 sums it up well:

“I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”

For the first time, I understood Jesus didn’t die to forgive me of my sin and leave me in it. He died to forgive and to free me from the power of sin! Suddenly I realized I didn’t have to be jealous of that beautiful woman. I didn’t have to hate that person for excluding me. I wasn’t powerless anymore.

For the first time, I understood that Jesus didn’t die to forgive me of my sin and leave me in it. He died to forgive and to free me from the power of sin!

“We know that our old self was crucified with Him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin. For one who has died has been set free from sin. . . . So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus” (Rom. 6:6–11).

My New Identity

I realized that I had a new identity now: Dead to sin, alive to God, and in Christ Jesus (Rom. 6:11). My only job? Believing it to be so and living in light of that truth.

From that point on, I saw God begin to change not only my outward behavior but even the hidden desires of my heart. Whether I actually became a Christian at this time or not, I can’t say. I asked Jesus to save me as a young child, but this was the first time I really understood why the Good News was such good news! This was the beginning of my whole new life.

Your Whole New Life

How about you? Are you “in Christ”? If all your trust is in His righteousness and not yours, the answer is “yes!” Now it’s up to you to remember, believe, and personalize these truths. The old you is dead and buried, you’ve been raised brand-new in Christ! Believe it. Live in light of it.

What about you? Are you looking within, or are you looking to Christ?

A Whole New You” was originally posted on TrueWoman.com.

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Are You Good Enough to Go to Hell?

Are You Good Enough to Go to Hell?

 

I think these words of Jesus are the scariest I’ve ever heard:

“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.

“On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’

“And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness'” (Matt. 7:21–23).

Check out the résumé of these people to whom Jesus will refuse entrance into heaven:

  1. They claim that Jesus is their Lord, the One who rules their lives.
  2. They publicly teach about Jesus with passion and authority.
  3. They cast out demons in Jesus’ name (something I definitely haven’t done!).
  4. They do miracles—actual miracles—all in Jesus’ name.

Jesus says people will be shocked when He’ll ask, “Who are you? I never knew you.”

News flash: hell is for good people, too. People like you; people like me.

Tell me, do you:

  • Read your Bible?
  • Volunteer at the soup kitchen?
  • Tell people about Jesus?
  • Rescue helpless animals?
  • Go on mission trips?
  • Help in the church nursery?

If so, you’re good enough to go to hell.

You’re headed to heaven not because you were good enough, but because Jesus was good enough for you.

But if good people go to hell, then who on earth is good enough for heaven?!

No one.

And if your hope is in being good enough to get into heaven, you’re headed straight to hell.

I’ve heard Mark Vroegop say it like this: “Works don’t work.” Check out Romans 4:5 to see what he means:

To the one who does not work but believes in him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is counted as righteousness.

In case “does not work” sounds like a permission slip for a lifelong vacation, let me clarify. In 2 Peter 1:5–7 we’re told:

Make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love.

“The gospel is not opposed to effort but [it is opposed] to earning,” the ESV Gospel Transformation Bible explains.

There’s nothing wrong with good works—as long as they flow out of gratitude for the grace you’ve been shown by Jesus. You’re headed to heaven not because you were good enough, but because Jesus was good enough for you. He bore God’s wrath toward your filthy and your “good” works, and He gave you the record of always having been 100 percent good.

If you recognize that you’re good enough to go to hell, please, oh, please, would you stop counting on your “good works” to earn you a spot in heaven? Turn to and trust in the only One good enough to secure eternal salvation for you—Jesus.

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Are You Good Enough to Go to Hell?” was originally posted on LiesYoungWomenBelieve.com

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Teens Desperately Need Help, and You’ve Got What It Takes!

Teens Desperately Need Help, and You’ve Got What It Takes!

Do you ever feel like you don’t have a clue how to help the teens in your life? Maybe, like me, you think you need a crash course in counseling and culture and technology and teen speak and, well, a little of everything in order to help them!

I still feel this way, even after writing a book for teens and interacting weekly with them on the Lies Young Women Believe blog.

Let’s Get Over Excuses

Maybe you’ve never gotten too close to them ’cause you’ve been afraid you wouldn’t know how to answer their questions. Or maybe you have given them answers, but then you’ve woken up the next morning wondering, Did I really help them? Was my answer even relevant? Or did I just put a heavy burden on their back?

In one sense it’s not a bad place to be, realizing you have nothing to offer unless God comes through . . . again. Jesus knew what He was talking about when He said, “Apart from me you can do nothing.” You and I will always be needy this side of heaven.

But today I hope to give you a glimpse of the direction I think you need to head in order to be able to help your teen(s) with . . . everything. I’m not saying there’s not room for a varied education—I love to learn!—but if I could advise you, I’d tell you to learn one subject inside and out. I’d encourage you to learn how to apply it from every angle to any person’s life situation.

Are you ready? It’s the gospel your teen needs. He or she needs you to help them see how Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection has everything to do with their Friday nights and Monday mornings . . . and everything in-between.

Let’s Connect the Dots

“But Paula,” you say, “If everything my teen needs (and everything I need) is found in the gospel, then why is it so tough to make that connection and to apply it to everyday situations?”

I think it’s ’cause it’s easier to deal on the moral, what-I-can-see-with-my-eyes-level. Connecting the dots to how your teen needs the gospel means you should want more than just outward conformity.

Do you? What do you want more in your teen? Genuine heart change or outward conformity to the rules? If you want the former (and oh, how I hope you do!), you have to get to the heart behind why they’re doing what they’re doing. The bad news is this will take longer. It’s not as easy as just saying “Stop it!” or “Fix it!” You have to dig deeper to root motives.

But the good news is when you apply the gospel to core heart issues, it has the potential to bring about real, lasting heart-change from the inside out.

Let’s Play

Here are three tips for you as you interact with teens (or anyone, for that matter). If an acronym would help, remember “play” (PLA minus the “y”):

  1. Pray. Pray that they’ll “get” gospel truths and implications. Pray that you will. Pray silently as you’re talking to them. Even just throwing up a “Help, God” or a “What next, God?” Second Corinthians 4:4 says,

    The god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.

    If this is Satan’s scheme for unbelievers, you’d better believe he’s up to something similar in believer’s lives.

  2. Listen. Listen not just to what your teen is saying, but what may be behind what they’re saying. Ask questions to clarify. Lots of questions. Make sure you’ve really heard them.
  3. Apply. Apply the gospel to their life situation. When you’re finished, if your teen still has a glazed-over look, it’s possible you didn’t explain it well, or it’s possible their heart is hardened and their eyes are blinded to the good news. But know that the fault never lies with the gospel itself. It is, and continues to be, as Romans 1:16 says, “the power of God.”

Let’s Practice

With that said, let’s practice applying the gospel to a real-life situation right now.
In a moment of raw confession, the pastor’s daughter, who serves in leadership and who you’ve been friends with for years, admits to you she often watches porn. You’re shocked. How do you respond in a gospel-centered way?

First, recognize that it took enormous courage to tell you. Here’s a recent comment from a teen on LiesYoungWomenBelieve.com. It’s on a different topic, but you’ll still get the picture:

For a fleeting month I thought I was homosexual or bi. . . . To answer your question, do we feel safe talking about it with other believers: Heck no! I think the church is still hostile toward it. I am against homosexuality (at least acting on it) and so is my church. I think if I told anyone what I felt like that they would freak out. Just like I don’t feel safe telling anyone I struggle with self-sex. I have told people I cut and was bulimic but the weird sexual sins, no way would I ever tell someone at my church.

This girl isn’t the only one who feels like that. You may even feel like you can’t share your sin struggles with others in the church. That’s a problem we want to avoid in our churches, as we’re told to confess our sins to each other and pray for each other, that we might be healed (James 5:16).

You and I need to be a part of making the church a safe environment to confess our sin struggles to each other so we can all get the prayer and help we desperately need. And what safer place than the church, where we know we’re accepted in Christ and where we can fight against our sin and do the hard work of repentance together? How much easier that makes it to admit how flawed we actually are!

So a good place to start is in affirming your teen friend. Tell her you admire her transparency and want to model it, too.

Then, you might want to explain something like this to her in your own words. (I’m borrowing from Pastor Tim Keller.)

We are more wicked than we ever dared believe, but more loved and accepted in Christ than we ever dared hope at the very same time. This [truth] creates a radical new dynamic for personal growth. It means that the more you see your own flaws and sins, the more precious, electrifying, and amazing God’s grace appears to you.

The more aware you are of God’s grace and acceptance in Christ, the more able you are to drop your denials and self-defenses and admit the true dimensions and character of your sin.

After that, you might offer to meet with this teen regularly to study gospel truths and pray together. Here’s a place to start: Five Ways to Avoid Getting “Beyond” the Gospel. As you share gospel truths, don’t shy away from giving her helpful tips like moving her computer to a public place and getting an accountability partner. These aren’t enough to deal a blow to the sin root in and of themselves, but they’re super helpful when the teen also understands the practical outworkings of God’s holiness, their sinfulness, and the “Great Exchange” Christ made so they might be seen as totally flawless in God’s eyes.

Yep, I’m convinced that everything your teen needs is found in the gospel. Everything your teen needs, everything you need, and everything every single person on this planet needs. Don’t worry if you don’t have a Master of Arts in Biblical Counseling or if you you’re not up on the latest fashions. You have everything you need to help that teen . . . in the gospel.

Teens Desperately Need Help, and You’ve Got What It Takes!” was originally posted on TrueWoman.com.

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Five Ways to Avoid Getting ‘Beyond’ the Gospel

Five Ways to Avoid Getting ‘Beyond’ the Gospel

“Titanic Sinks Four Hours After Hitting Iceberg”

“ON THE MOON! And It’s ‘One Giant Leap for Mankind'”

“Diana Dead”

All these headlines were breaking news at one time, but now they’re just . . . old news.

The gospel isn’t much different for most Christians. I don’t know about you, but for most of my life, I thought of the gospel as good news for unbelievers but old news for believers.

Boy, was I wrong.

News flash: The gospel isn’t mainly for your lost neighbors!

The Gospel Is for You, Too, Believer

But don’t just take my word for it. Let’s head straight to the source. For example, in Romans 16:25, Paul writes to believers,

Now to him who is able to strengthen you according to my gospel and the preaching of Jesus Christ . . .

Did you catch that? It’s the gospel that strengthens us as believers. Not how-to books or more schooling but the simple, familiar story of Jesus Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection on our behalf.

Here’s another verse, written about believers, that clues us in that the gospel isn’t mainly for our lost neighbors:

The gospel is bearing fruit and increasing in them since the day they heard it and understood the grace of God in truth (Col. 1:6).

Mind if I ask . . . Is the gospel bearing fruit and increasing in you? (Hint: If you’re not regularly going back to gospel truths, it probably isn’t.)

I like how Tim Keller puts it,

The gospel is not just the ABCs but the A-to-Z of the Christian life.

Reminding Ourselves of the Gospel

The gospel is meant to change everything about our lives. Everything. Paul understood that; that’s why he reminded the Corinthians believers over and over of the gospel:

Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you (1 Cor. 15:1).

We need to daily be reminded of the gospel, too. Marci Preheim says,

Christians do not outgrow the gospel. They don’t achieve a level of righteousness and then write how-to books to help the folks who haven’t figured it out yet. We never get beyond needy.

And I’d add, we never get beyond our need for the gospel.

Receiving the Gospel

Paul goes on,

Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you received.

When we hear the gospel for the three-thousandth time, rather than sighing, I’ve heard this before—why can’t you write a more practical blog post? and then clicking away, we need to gladly receive and believe the gospel each time we hear it.

I stumbled across an admission on the blogosphere from a man named Dane Ortlund and found it really helpful. Here’s the gist:

At the most fundamental level, I am an irreversible “believer” the rest of my life, by the grace of God. But at another level I move from believer to unbeliever (from exercising faith in Christ to forsaking faith in Christ) dozens of times, hundreds even, each day.

At the doctrinal level we look to Christ with sustained, consistent permanence. But in our everyday experience we keep faltering, keep swiveling away from Christ and looking to other saviors—even Christian saviors like Scripture memory or service in the church.

Ouch. I don’t know about you, but that hurts ’cause it’s right on. We need to continually believe and receive the gospel.

Paul knew that nothing is more important than the gospel:

I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received (1 Cor. 15:1).

Dusting off the Gospel Daily

So if the gospel is so important, how can you grow in your understanding and appreciation of it? Here are five suggestions.

    1. Realize you’re not any more accepted or loved by God if you grasp all the gospel implications for everyday life, or if you can communicate gospel implications clearly. You and I are accepted by faith in Christ alone.
    2. According to The Gospel-Centered Life, the way to grow in the gospel is not to downplay either God’s holiness or your sinfulness. As your awareness of God’s holiness and your sinfulness grows, the cross will stretch bigger and bigger in your mind and heart. Surprising, huh?
    3. Continually repent and believe. Repent of forsaking Christ in favor of a works-righteousness and believe again in Christ’s perfect righteousness applied to you. Repent and believe. Repent and believe all day long.
    4. Watch how the biblical authors modeled this, and then imitate them. Over and over in the New Testament, there’s this pattern of first gospel declaration (who we are in Christ), and then gospel expectation (how we are to live in light of this). Watch for this pattern and communicate this way with others. When you share a gospel obligation, be sure to also share a gospel declaration. Tim Keller puts it this way,

The knowledge of our acceptance in Christ . . . makes the law of God a thing of beauty instead of a burden. We now run the race for the joy that is set before us rather than for the fear that comes behind us.

  1. Get your hands on gospel-centered resources.Books by Elyse Fitzpatrick like:

    Grace Is Free: One Woman’s Journey from Fundamentalism to Failure to Faith by Marci Preheim

    The Jesus Storybook Bible: Every Story Whispers His Name by Sally Lloyd-Jones

The fact that:
the Titanic sunk . . .
and mankind left footprints on the moon . .
and Princess Di died . . .
doesn’t have a whole lot to do with your everyday life, does it.

But if you’re “in Christ,” the fact that:
     Jesus died . . .
     was buried . . .
     and rose again . . .
     has everything to do with your everyday life. Everything. 

Is this a news flash for you? Have you tended to think of the gospel as good but OLD news, or as good news for today and tomorrow and the day after?

Five Ways to Avoid Getting ‘Beyond’ the Gospel” was originally posted on TrueWoman.com.

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The Three Truths That Forever Changed My Life

 

The three truths that forever changed my life

 

 

Hey girls,

As I read your comments on last week’s post “The Most Influential Man In Your Life,” I realized we weren’t speaking the same language. Several of you made comments like,

I am in-between both of those characteristics: Adam and Christ. Some days I give into the world, other days I live my life for Christ. It is a never-ending battle.

Here’s the thing: Being in Christ is less about your experience and more about your position in Christ. There isn’t any in-between. You’re either all the way “in Adam” or all the way “in Christ.”

The fact is, all of us were born “in Adam,” but if and when we put our trust in Jesus to be our righteousness, we are born again “in Christ.” We are one with Him now. It’s a fact. A true one.

Paul begins Romans 6 by asking should we keep sinning ’cause we’ve been shown such crazy extravagant grace in Jesus? NO WAY! he bursts in on himself. We’ve died to sin! We died and were buried with Jesus, and now we, too, have brand-new resurrection life. We have power over sin.

Our job—to believe it to be so,

You also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus (Rom. 6:11).

As you begin to operate out of who you are (dead to sin, alive to God, and in Christ Jesus), it will drastically change what you do.

See what I mean in this excerpt from my book Confessions of a Boy-Crazy Girl: On Her Journey from Neediness to Freedom:

A Whole New Me

My whole life I’d struggled to defeat the power of sin—with no success. But now I was reading startling truths I’d never grasped.

It wasn’t just Jesus who had died—I’d died with Him. It wasn’t just Jesus who had been buried—my old self, packed with sin, had been buried with Him, too. And when Jesus burst out of that tomb with brand-new resurrection life, I, too, was given new life! Galatians 2:20 sums it up well:

I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but

Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by

faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.

For the first time, I understood that Jesus didn’t die to forgive me of my sin but leave me in it. He died to forgive and to free me from the power of sin. Suddenly I realized I didn’t have to be jealous of that pretty girl. I didn’t have to covet every guy I saw. I didn’t have to hate that guy for not liking me. I wasn’t powerless anymore.

In fact, in Christ I was no longer that helpless, hopeless, boy-crazy girl. I had a new identity now: I was dead to sin, alive to God, and in Christ Jesus. My only job? Believing it to be so and living in light of that truth.

From that point on, I saw God begin to change not only my outward behavior but even the hidden desires of my heart. Whether I actually became a Christian at this time or not, I can’t say. I asked Jesus to save me at about age four, but this was the first time I really understood why the Good News was such good news!

This was the beginning of my whole new life.

Notice I said “the beginning.” It’s not like I was instantly transformed. But as I remembered, believed, and personalized these truths, my overwhelming despair ebbed away and was gradually replaced by hope. I stopped trying so hard and just started dying. Or rather, I started believing that I had already died with Christ. I gave up control and let Jesus take over.

How about you? Have you repented of your sin and put all your faith in Christ’s righteousness instead of your own? If so, you are now dead to sin, alive to God, and in Christ Jesus. Regardless of how you lived yesterday (or today!), this is true of you. Now, begin to thank God for this truth. Wear it. Remember it. Relish it. Live from it.

The Three Truths That Forever Changed My Life” was originally posted on LiesYoungWomenBelieve.com.

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The Most Influential Man In Your Life (You Might Be Surprised!)

 

The Most Influential Man In Your Life (You Might Be Surprised!)

 

 

I don’t know you personally, but I can narrow the most influential man in your life down to one of two men. I don’t have a glass ball, and I haven’t stalked your Twitter account, but I know because these two men have been the two most important men in my life, too.

Even though I let you in on lots of guys who have impacted my life over the years in Confessions of a Boy-Crazy Girl: On Her Journey from Neediness to Freedom, these two men have shaped who I am today infinitely more than Mike, Neil, Jack, Edward, and Jim.

The crazy thing is, no two men have been more impactful in your story, either. No, I’m not talking about your dad or your crush (important as they are!). I’m talking about Adam and Jesus Christ.

How Adam Shaped Your Story
Adam lived thousands of years ago. You probably already know he was the first man God created! You can read the highs and lows of Adam’s story here. You might think a man who lived so long ago has nothing to do with your life today, but you’d be dead wrong about that. Romans 5:12 shares how even now Adam impacts your life:

Just as sin came into the world through one man [Adam], and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned.

If you want to throw tomatoes at Adam right about now ’cause he blew your chances at a sinless life, think again. The end of Romans 5:12 makes it clear that “all sinned.” Romans 3:23 confirms it: “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”

There’s no doubt that Adam was the most influential man in your life. His story shaped your story. The question is . . . is Adam still the most influential man in your life or is Jesus Christ.

 

How Christ Can Transform Your Story
Romans 5:15–19 shares some amazing news:

But the free gift is not like the trespass. For if many died through one man’s [Adam’s] trespass, much more have the grace of God and the free gift by the grace of that one man Jesus Christ abounded for many. . . . For as by the one man’s [Adam’s] disobedience the many were made sinners, so by the one man’s [Jesus’] obedience the many will be made righteous.

It’s true that Adam’s story was your story. But Christ Jesus wants to transform your story by giving you new life—His life!

When you are born again in Christ, you receive a brand-new identity. Everything changes—everything becomes new—beginning with you.

Your identity is not volleyball captain or sci-fi nerd or piano prodigy. Your identity is either wrapped up “in Adam” or “in Christ.” And the implications of that identity are huge. Eternal. Forever.

A well-known pastor says it better than I can:

  • In Adam there is defeat, but in Christ there is victory.
  • In Adam there is condemnation, but in Christ there is salvation.
  • In Adam we receive a sin nature, but in Christ we receive a new nature.
  • In Adam we are cursed, but in Christ we are blessed.
  • In Adam there is wrath and death, but in Christ there is love and life.

Which man has been—and is—most influential in your life? Are you in Adam or in Christ?

To hear how this truth of being in Christ began to free me from my boy-crazy struggle, answer the question above. I’ll choose one of you at random on Monday, October 7, to receive a copy of Confessions of a Boy-Crazy Girl: On Her Journey from Neediness to Freedom.

The Most Influential Man In Your Life (You Might Be Surprised!)” was originally posted on LiesYoungWomenBelieve.com.

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