I am not a list guy. But the following truths seem to come up again and again in my journey with Jesus. I pray that they will help you start your own list or at least remind you of God’s promises while you live in a world that distorts His truth.
1) Never believe the lie that you must clean-up your life before you can experience God’s grace. God changes our lives through the work of Christ, we experience the change but He does the changing. We are saved by grace and we grow by it as well. God is turning your mess into His masterpiece! A trap that awaits the Christian is: Less sin committed = Less grace needed… Another trap is- Grace that is free = Permission to sin freely (Ephesians 2:8-9, Titus 3:3-7)
Ephesians 2:8-9 (NKJV) 8 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, 9 not of works, lest anyone should boast.
Titus 3:3-7 (NKJV) 3 For we ourselves were also once foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving various lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful and hating one another. 4 But when the kindness and the love of God our Savior toward man appeared,
5 not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit, 6 whom He poured out on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior, 7 that having been justified by His grace we should become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.
2) God cares about your whole life. Jesus cannot be Lord of your life if He is not Lord of all your life. God cares about every aspect of your life in His world. He must have access to your spiritual, physical, emotional, recreational, personal, social, familial, vocational, sexual, intellectual, financial, etc… areas of your life. You will make mistakes by only giving God partial access. You cannot separate your faith from any part of your life. Every decision you make must align with God’s desires for you. (Proverbs 3:5-6)
Proverbs 3:5-6 (NKJV) 5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; 6 In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths.
3) God loves you no matter what. It doesn’t matter how you feel or act. He loves you when you obey His commandments, and when you don’t obey His commandments. His love for you never fades, and He cannot not love you. (Rom. 5:8 and 1 Jn. 4:16).
Romans 5:8 (NKJV) “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
1 John 4:16 (NKJV) “And we have known and believed the love that God has for us. God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God in him.”
4) Focus on Jesus. Strive to imitate Him through your lifestyle. This includes actions and thoughts. Read and learn about Him in Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, and Acts. (I John 2:6, Philippians 2:5)
1 John 2:6 (NKJV) “He who says he abides in Him ought himself also to walk just as He walked.”
Philippians 2:5 (NKJV) “Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus,”
5) Love God and love people. Each day should be seen as an opportunity to grow more in love with God and people. This goal is relational and as your relationship with God grows your motivation for sharing what you know grows. Worshipping God, learning about God, and serving God, while reaching out to people who need God is top priority. Love your neighbors, co-workers, classmates, etc… (Mt. 22:36-40, I Cor. 13:1-13).
Matthew 22:36-40 (NKJV) 36 “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law?” 37 Jesus said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and great commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.”
1 Corinthians 13:1-13 (NKJV) 1 Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal. 2 And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. 3 And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, but have not love, it profits me nothing. 4 Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; 5 does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; 6 does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; 7 bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. 8 Love never fails. But whether there are prophecies, they will fail; whether there are tongues, they will cease; whether there is knowledge, it will vanish away. 9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part. 10 But when that which is perfect has come, then that which is in part will be done away. 11 When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things. 12 For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known. 13 And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.
6) Fulfill the Great Commission. But, don’t forget the Great Commandment while trying to obey it. People are the process, and the process includes people. Lead people to Jesus, by loving like Jesus. Making the real authentic Jesus famous should become your goal. An individual who is surrendered to Christ will have opportunities to share about Him. (Matthew 28:18-20, John 12:32)
Matthew 28:18-20 (NKJV) 18 And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen.
John 12:32 (NKJV) “And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all peoples to Myself.”
7) Pray regularly. Prayer proves your humility. It’s says’ to God that you need Him, and that His help is welcome. Yes it’s true… He knows our need before we ask, but He really wants you to ask. Humble yourself to God. (Jer. 29:12, Matt. 6:6-8)
Jeremiah 29:12 (NKJV) Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you.
Matthew 6:6-8 (NKJV) 6 But you, when you pray, go into your room, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly. 7 And when you pray, do not use vain repetitions as the heathen do. For they think that they will be heard for their many words. 8 Therefore do not be like them. For your Father knows the things you have need of before you ask Him.
8) Read and study your Bible. There is no substitute for personal bible study. Many people say that bible study is to hard for them, but God reveals His Word to His children. (Psalm 119:105, Joshua 1:8, James 1:5)
Psalm 119:105 (NKJV) Your word is a lamp to my feet And a light to my path.
Joshua 1:8 (NKJV) This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.
James 1:5 (NKJV) If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him.
9) It’s not all about me. A “me” centered theology leads to idolatry. It is very easy to become consumed with what I want, what I think I need, and what I don’t have. Remember that God has plans for you, but they are for His purposes. (Exodus 20:3, Romans 8:28)
Exodus 20:3 (NKJV) You shall have no other gods before Me.
Romans 8:28 (NKJV) And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.
10) Find a Christian mentor. Be teachable. You need the help of someone who is on the same journey as you. The person does not necessarily have to be older, but does need to be of the same gender. Find a person who is seeking to be like Jesus, and is striving to be authentic in their faith on a daily basis. Look for a person who gives Jesus all access to their life. (I Peter 5:5)
1 Peter 5:5 (NKJV) Likewise you younger people, submit yourselves to your elders. Yes, all of you be submissive to one another, and be clothed with humility, for “God resists the proud, But gives grace to the humble.”
Christianity is certainly not a list, but this list will help to maintain what is important on your journey with Jesus. It will also help to keep important principles in the forefront, as you have to make daily life decisions about faith. If you choose to use this list, realize that this list is not exhaustive, and thus can be added to as needed.