After giving my life to Jesus at the age of 13, it took a couple years for my lifestyle to start to catch up. We’re all constantly in process and in different phases of progress but something definitively shifted for me at age 15. I started to understand and to attempt the obedient life God expects of Christians. My church at the time did an amazing job unpacking the Bible and making it very practical in my life. I experienced countless moments sitting in the service where it felt like God was only speaking to me out of the sea of hundreds in the room with me. Almost 25 years later, I wish I could tell you that I have overcome every area of sinful struggle – I haven’t. Before you judge me for admitting that as a pastor, I doubt you have either. You might think: “Well that’s why I’m not a pastor.” But the truth is, every Christian has been entrusted by Jesus with the ministry of reconciling the world to Himself (2nd Corinthians 5:18-20). So every believer is technically a pastor and also a sinner. The difference between 37-year-old me and 15-year-old me is that I am much more aware of the issues in my life. I am far better equipped to grow through my struggles today. Finally, I have great people in my life who know what’s going on in “Present Tense Kyle.” As I have grown as a Christian, I have learned more and more that…
God loves “Present Tense” me.
God does not love me more when I am or obedient or less when I sin. God’s love for me is not based on things I have done, things I am doing, things I could do, or things I will do. God’s love is not based upon my performance as a Christian. God’s love is not based upon how often I read my Bible that week or how many times I prayed yesterday. God’s love is not based upon whether I’m doing my best or whether I am stagnant. God’s love for me is grounded in His character. 1st John 4:8 tells us “God IS love.” God’s love is for EVERYONE and it is INFINITE. God’s love is the same for believers as it is for those who have not said “yes” Jesus (yet). God loves you as you are in the present tense.
All God asks is that we say yes to the next obedient step in front of us today.
It’s not because we’re climbing a spiritual ladder or trying to earning brownie points with the Lord. We’re not capable of doing either of those things. We are made right by the finished work of Christ sealed in blood on the Cross. The Holy Spirit does 99.999999% of the work in our salvation and in our sanctification (or our spiritual growth). The tiny fraction of a percentage we do is simply saying yes to the next step of obedience in front of us. God loves us as we are but He loves us too much to let us stay where we are. God wants to build our faith. God doesn’t just want us to get through what we’re going through. God wants us to GROW through what we’re going through.
I have no idea what you’re going through but I pray we can all remind ourselves that we are loved by God in the midst of it. As we feel the sustaining love of the Lord, may we also find the strength of the Holy Spirit to take the next step of obedience in front of us.
Have a great day.