That is the question I’ve been thinking about for about a week now. Am I truly and wholeheartedly in love with Jesus? My skeptical friend, please don’t stop reading now. I promise you it’s not this weird and worldly idea of “in love”, it’s similar to the way you love a parent but like that times a thousand, eh, make it a million. Give me a chance.
Anyway, before I continue on with my thoughts I think it’s important to understand that this is not me questioning my salvation. We know that salvation is by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone. Christians, we must not lose sight of that. I’ve seen myself and others in the church tempted by legalism but if I am trying to enforce the “rules” of being a Christan, what makes me different than any of the Pharisees that Jesus encountered? It doesn’t. Salvation is through Jesus alone.
8 For you are saved by grace through faith, and this is not from yourselves; it is God’s gift— 9 not from works, so that no one can boast. 10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared ahead of time for us to do. Ephesians 2:8-10
These were the verses on my most recent mask. I have no excuse to be ignorant about salvation. As I said before you continue reading, this is not me questioning my or your salvation. Your salvation is strictly between you and the Creator of the Universe.
These are the afterthoughts from being saved. Because I am loved first, because I am made beautifully by Jesus, because I have been chosen by a perfect and sovereign God, because I am given worth through Christ, am I actually living the life I proclaim? This is me questioning my heart and my actions and making sure that they follow my words. If I’m here saying that “Jesus is Lord” and reminding myself to fear God and seek His Kingdom first, are my actions following my mouth?
Friends, these are my thoughts. Take it all in with grace and wisdom (and a grain of salt). I’ve never been here to preach to you, I’ve been here to share my thoughts and feelings. My only goal is to get you to open the Bible, even the non-Jesus follower. Knowing that, let me continue.
I don’t actually pray every day, sorry. I pray at least five times a week, it makes the commute to work much more enjoyable but I don’t always pray. I should honestly pray more often, anyway…When I do pray, at some point in my prayer I ask for the same three things:
- “Jesus, remind me to fear the Lord as Proverbs describes.”
- “Encourage me to continue to seek Your Kingdom above everything else this imperfect world has to offer.”
- “I humbly ask that you look at the desires of my heart but at the end of the day I ask for Your will for my life above anything my arrogant mind wants.”
These are good things to pray, but the question becomes, do I live my life in the same way I pray?
In all honesty, I think sometimes I do and sometimes I don’t. There are times when as soon as I end my prayer I begin to think about everything except Jesus throughout my seven-hour workday. My mind wanders to thinking about my “Kira-perfected” five-year plan, the Hamilton soundtrack, which funky food combination I’m going to have next, what it takes to grow coffee beans, and should I continue? I think you get the picture.
Other times, I feel like my heart, mind, and soul are more Christ-oriented. I think about Scripture as I carry on with my day. I try to do my job in a way that honors God. I’m more patient with frustrating coworkers and less judgmental of imperfect people. Other times when I’m hiking I’m reminded that God created all of this, as I look at the mountains and lakes in the same way you look at the man-created distinguished trail path or those makeshift stairs to make parts of the hike slightly easier. It’s that an interesting comparison. You know someone created that, so do I. You know just by looking at it. So do I.
Go on a hike, look at the view. It’s all too perfectly made to just be by chance. It’s quarantine season friends, try hiking and admiring creation.
Anyway, it’s something that’s been on my mind, to keep Jesus on my mind. It isn’t bad to create a five-year plan. It isn’t bad to listen to Hamilton. It isn’t bad to think of things that aren’t Jesus-related. Legalism is very real and very tempting, so “be careful, Christians. Be careful about what you think Christians can and can’t do especially when the Bible doesn’t specify.” I say this as I look in a mirror.
For me, it’s just about how I’m balancing my thoughts. If Jesus is Lord, maybe I should treat Him as Lord. If I can make time to run three miles after work, I have no excuse to rush through my bible study. What is the “god” of my life? Is it working out? Is it building “my brand”? Is it my engineering degree? Or is it God? This is me calling myself out, friends. Secular things aren’t bad. Sinful things are bad. But with that being said, it’s important to be honest. Who’s your god and is it better than Jesus?
If I’m proclaiming Jesus is Lord, maybe I should think about how to represent Jesus well in my work, in my family, with my friends, and with how I live my life. Christians, this includes politics and how we converse with people who have different opinions from us. Christianity is not just a 1-2 hour thing that happens on Sunday morning. I shouldn’t just pray in times of trouble. I shouldn’t just think about Jesus when my pastor tells me to think about Jesus. I shouldn’t just praise His name when everything goes right or better put when everything goes exactly how I think it should go.
This question cannot be narrowed down to a “yes” or “no” and then never asked again. This is a question I want to ask my heart daily. “Am I living life like I am madly in love with Jesus?” In all honesty, it’s not always going to be a firm “Yes, indeed!” I’m sorry I’m not perfect. But that’s the beauty of salvation not being based on works, I am saved because I am chosen and I am saved because I believe that Jesus is Lord.
Yet we know that no one is justified by the works of the law but by faith in Jesus Christ. And we have believed in Christ Jesus, so that we might be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the law, because by the works of the law no human being will be justified. Galatians 2:16
My desire for wanting to live a life that honors Christ doesn’t stem from a fear that I may be rejected. My desire to seek His Kingdom first and always is based on the premise of already being saved and chosen. Because I was chosen, because I am loved eternally, because I am a worthy child of God, I want to live a certain way. My “works” stem from this outpouring love for God. Because He loved me first, because I love Jesus, this is how I want to live my life. Because of His grace, I want to just show the entire world who Jesus is.
It’s a beautiful thing to not have to worry about what happens after you die. It’s comforting to understand that it’s by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone. No matter what I do nor whatever this imperfect life has to offer, I am chosen, loved fully, and made worthy by the King of the Universe. Do you have any idea how comforting that is, skeptical friend?
Thank you for taking the time to read this. My honorable and wise “James 2” reader, I haven’t forgotten about you. You, like every other reader, are loved by Christ. But I did say, I’m here to point you to the Bible and to encourage you to do your own research. So, do your own research. I’ve done mine and I purposefully left “James 2” out of this post. Open your Bible, Christian. Go and read the entire chapter of the verses I’ve provided. I admire you all deeply as God’s living creations. Thank you for hearing my thoughts.
Jesus told him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. John 14:6