Do you see yourself as someone who wakes up every day to love as Jesus loves?
You may respond with, “I try,” or “I hope so.” Is there doubt in your answer?
How we see ourselves is very important. A lot of times, we become so focused on past mistakes that we think of all of the reasons why this cannot be true.
“I just can’t. I’m a sinner. I’m not perfect. I’m not Jesus.”
Paul knew his past. He didn’t forget it.
12 I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has given me strength because he considered me faithful. So he appointed me to ministry 13 even though I used to speak against him, attack his people, and I was proud. But I was shown mercy because I acted in ignorance and without faith. 14 Our Lord’s favor poured all over me along with the faithfulness and love that are in Christ Jesus. 15 This saying is reliable and deserves full acceptance: “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners”—and I’m the biggest sinner of all. (1 Timothy 15, CEB)
Paul calls himself here, “the biggest sinner of all.” He was guilty of persecuting and even killing Christians, but he knew God’s grace could cover it.
16 But this is why I was shown mercy, so that Christ Jesus could show his endless patience to me first of all. So I’m an example for those who are going to believe in him for eternal life.
(1 Timothy 15, CEB)
No matter what you have done, Jesus can forgive you! Not only that, when we believe that Jesus died on the cross for our sins, we are changed. The same person who sees himself as “the biggest sinner of all,” also writes:
3 Bless the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! He has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing that comes from heaven. 4 God chose us in Christ to be holy and blameless in God’s presence before the creation of the world. 5 God destined us to be his adopted children through Jesus Christ because of his love. This was according to his goodwill and plan 6 and to honor his glorious grace that he has given to us freely through the Son whom he loves. 7 We have been ransomed through his Son’s blood, and we have forgiveness for our failures based on his overflowing grace, 8 which he poured over us with wisdom and understanding. (Ephesians 1, CEB)
Paul knew his past, but he also knew he was not defined by it. He believed and trusted the work of Jesus Christ as having the ultimate say in who he was. This meant if Jesus told Paul to love as He loves, well, he was going to wake up every day trusting in what Jesus says is true.
You can do that too!
PS - Mt. Zion is excited to announce the return of their annual Sportsmen’s Banquet! It will be held on Saturday, March 12th with doors opening at 3:00pm and meal served at 5:00pm. Tickets are on sale for $12. You may contact the church office (717-486-4280) to place your order, or you may also register online here.