If We Say We're Christians, We Need To Check Our Hearts

If We Say We're Christians, We Need To Check Our Hearts, And Not Just On Sundays

Just because you grew up in church doesn't mean you're saved.

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This past weekend, I got the chance to be a part of a retreat for a bunch of pastor's kids (PKs). It was a lot of fun because I got to take part in the sermons like a student, but I also got to pray over students as a leader. It was really cool to see this whole group of teenagers who have been a part of the church their entire lives worship God. It really made my heart soar.

Then, I heard some of them talk.

I heard a few of the students talk about getting drunk and how cool it was. I overheard them say that they "didn't care." It made me wonder if they "didn't care," does that mean they don't care about being a good role model? Because I saw plenty of kids younger than them who looked up to them.

So, to the kid I overheard talking about how often you get drunk, that's not cool, man. It doesn't make you cool to party like that. And it especially doesn't make you cool to talk about all of that in front of the ten-year-old boy that I know you knew was watching your example. There are enough bad influences in this world without him needing that from you, too.

Just keep that in mind.

And, by the way, this same kid who bragged to his friends about getting drunk was one of the kids I saw in both services worshiping the Lord without surrender. And I only have one thing to say to that:

Check your heart.

Just because you grew up in church doesn't mean you're saved. Just because your parent is a pastor does not mean that you get a free pass into Heaven. Just because you've memorized Scripture in clubs like Royal Rangers and MPact girls does not mean that you are living the Word.

Please, check your heart.

James tells us in James 2:14, 17:

"What good is it, dear brothers and sisters, if you say you have faith but don't show it by your actions? Can that kind of faith save anyone?... So you see, faith by itself isn't enough. Unless it produces good deeds, it is dead and useless."

If you're sitting here saying that you believe and that God is your Savior, but you're also sitting a few feet away an hour later telling someone about how cool it is that you can get drunk so often, I'm sorry but your faith isn't enough. That is definitely not what James would classify as a "good deed."

And while we do need to check our hearts about who is watching us and what we talk about around others like that, it is more than that.

We need to check our hearts about what we are watching, listening to and reading. What we put into our minds is what is going to come out, so we need to make sure it doesn't compromise us morally. We have to check our hearts because I promise you, if you feel even an ounce of doubt in your heart about something, you most likely shouldn't be doing it.

We also need to check our hearts with how we interact with others. I, myself, am guilty of losing my temper with people and snapping. I lose my patience and get an attitude. I need to check my heart when I am put in situations like that. We must become aware of what our "sin triggers" are and where we can guard our hearts against things that will set us off like that.

God wants us to be close to His heart, not following our own.

Our hearts will lead us astray at times because our feelings get stuck in the middle. Rather than following just our feelings, we need to follow where God is taking us. When we press in and want to see His heart, not just for our lives but also for those around us, He will open our eyes to things much bigger than ourselves.

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17 Empowering Bible Verses For Women

You go, girl.
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We all have those days where we let the negative thoughts that we're "not good enough," "not pretty enough" or "not smart enough" invade our minds. It's easy to lose hope in these situations and to feel like it would be easier to just give up. However, the Bible reminds us that these things that we tell ourselves are not true and it gives us the affirmations that we need. Let these verses give you the power and motivation that you're lacking.

1. Proverbs 31:25

"She is clothed with strength and dignity and she laughs without fear of the future."

2. Psalm 46:5

"God is within her, she will not fall."

3. Luke 1:45

"Blessed is she who believed that the Lord would fulfill His promises to her."

4. Proverbs 31:17

"She is energetic and strong, a hard worker."

5. Psalm 28:7

"The Lord is my strength and my shield."

6. Proverbs 11:16

"A gracious woman gains respect, but ruthless men gain only wealth."

7. Joshua 1:9

"Be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go."

8. Proverbs 31:30

"Charm is deceptive, and beauty does not last; but a woman who fears the Lord will be greatly praised."

9. 1 Corinthians 15:10

"By the grace of God, I am what I am."

10. Proverbs 31:26

"When she speaks, her words are wise, and she gives instructions with kindness."

11. Psalm 139:14

"I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made."

12. 1 Peter 3:3-4

"Don't be concerned about the outward beauty of fancy hairstyles, expensive jewelry, or beautiful clothes. You should clothe yourselves instead with the beauty that comes from within, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is so precious to God."

13. Colossians 2:10

"And in Christ you have been brought to fullness."

14. 2 Timothy 1:7

"For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline."

15. Jeremiah 29:11

"'For I know the plans I have for you,' says the Lord. 'They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.'"

16. Exodus 14:14

"The Lord himself will fight for you. Just stay calm."

17. Song of Songs 4:7

"You are altogether beautiful, my darling, beautiful in every way."

Next time you're feeling discouraged or weak, come back to these verses and use them to give you the strength and power that you need to conquer your battles.

Cover Image Credit: Julia Waterbury

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If You Want Proof That God Exists, Just Look Around You At The World He Created

None of it is an accident.

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It has always baffled me that people can truly believe the world was created by accident. It's like saying that Leonardo Di Vinci closed his eyes, tipped over a few cans of paint, and miraculously created the Mona Lisa. Nothing that beautiful is an accident. I believe that the truest and rawest testimony to Christianity is the universe itself. A proclamation of its creator.

When I need to be reminded how great our God is, I simply just look around me.

Romans 1:20 says, "For ever since the world was created, people have seen the earth and sky. Through everything God made, they can clearly see his invisible qualities — his eternal power and divine nature. So they have no excuse for not knowing God."

The Bible is telling us here that everything has a purpose. The world is not this beautiful by accident. Every purple sunset was intricately designed. Each rise and fall of the tide was crafted by the creator.

Look around you.

The Northern lights are not simply a coincidence. It is no accident that people's hands are gifted with such divine talents to create wonders like the Eiffel Tower or the Taj Mahal. There is a reason that your favorite song has such transcendent and heavenly beauty, as it escaped from the lungs that God created and gifted with talent. It is all of him; it is all from and for him.

He doesn't make mistakes.

There is a reason that we yearn for these beautiful things. That we long to glimpse sunsets and travel the world and hear beautiful music and see beautiful people. It is because we are heavenly creations, and seeing these marks of God's wonder bring us closer to him and remind of our true and divine pace in his kingdom. These beautiful things are little marks of God's divinity, and they remind us where we belong.

They are the reason our hearts constantly ache for something more.

And you are a mark of his beauty as well. The fact that of the billions of trillions of atoms that make up the matter that make up the universe were brought together in an intricate and perfect enough way to create a unique human being who could never be copied are replicated. You are a miracle. And your very body and soul are living proof that God exists. Nothing is an accident. Nothing.

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