No Perfect People Allowed

No Perfect People Allowed

Seek to know Jesus, not to fulfill the requirements of your religion.
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I have struggled a lot with wanting to have fun and embrace my youth and wanting to fully surrender myself to God and let him use me.

After typing that sentence, I realized how ridiculous it sounds. Growing up as a believer, I know what powerful things God can do when you let him. But growing up in a secular world, I know that it is not as easy as it sounds. Because while I can fill myself up with truths from the Bible and go to church and listen to podcasts by my favorite pastors, I am still going to have to go out into the world and hear what they say.

It is hard to not want to take part in what the world has to offer.

I am now in my second semester of freshman year. I have made it through the difficult time of transition to living on my own, I am rarely homesick anymore, I have new friends, and I am finding out more about myself each day. It is crazy to think that I have four months of freshman year left – it feels like I moved in last week.

When I realize how quickly college is passing by, it makes me want to take full advantage of the time that I am in. It makes me want to go out and have fun, late nights with my friends. It makes me want to study and make good grades in the classes that I have before they get too terribly difficult. It makes me want to hold on to the moments that I am experiencing and live them fully.

God gave us life on earth to live to the fullest, but sometimes I feel guilty if I don’t want to spend every waking moment reading my Bible or going to church. I feel like I am not doing my part as a believer if I want to go out in college. I get caught up in the religion factor of Christianity when I should be focusing on a relationship with my creator.

Being a Christian is not about perfect living. It is the complete opposite. Sometimes I get caught up in the idea that in order to call myself a Christian, I have to be as close to perfect as humanly possible. The entire reason that a relationship with God is so amazing is because we are able to be imperfect. We are saved and chosen and freed and desired despite how broken and imperfect we are. As hard as I try sometimes to act like I have everything together, God knows that I don’t and loves me anyway.

In this world, we will have trouble. Whether this trouble is a loss of a family member, a medical condition, an internal struggle, or a combination of these and more, take heart, Jesus has overcome the world. Jesus didn’t die for us to live perfect lives and do everything right.

The third chapter of John says that God sent his son not to condemn, but to save. Thousands of testimonies are built around the fact that we are so messed up and realize that we can’t do it on our own. Romans 3:23-24 says, “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.” No one in this world deserves what he has to give us, yet we can get it anyway.

It is finished. Salvation is freely given by grace through faith. It has nothing to do with the deeds that we do or how well we live our lives. Therefore, while it is important to build the kingdom and do our part as Jesus’s hands and feet in the world, it is also important to not get caught up in the “rules” of being a Christian.

God’s greatest desire is to know us and for us to know him. So before trying your best to cancel out the amount of mistakes you’ve made with the amount of Starbucks you’ve bought for the person behind you, remember that God wants a relationship, not a list of the things you have done or not done.

Cover Image Credit: Unsplash

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12 Bible Verses For Faith In Hard Times

Remind yourself that God is always with you.
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Lately, I have felt lost at what God wants for my life. Ever since I've come back to UWG everything has been horrible. It seems that I can't catch a break. I'm trying my best to focus on school, work, and extracurricular activities. But it's hard when I'm having issues with my apartment/roommates and knowing my family back home is struggling and needs many prayers. All, I keep thinking is maybe Carrollton isn't where I belong anymore. I've asked God if He can guide me in the right direction. Below, I have found Bible verses that have helped get me through these rough, past couple of weeks.

1. Isaiah 43:2

"When you go through deep waters, I will be with you."

2. Psalm 37:5

"Commit your way to the Lord. Trust in Him, and He will act."

3. Romans 8:18

"The pain that you've been feeling, can't compare to the joy that's coming."

4. Proverbs 31:25

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

5. Joshua 1:9

"Be bold. Be brave. Be courageous."

6. Ecclesiastes 3:1

"There is a time for everything and a reason for every activity under the heavens."

7. Isaiah 41:10

"Don't be afraid, for I am with you. Don't be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand."

8. Isaiah 66:9

"I will not cause pain without allowing something new to be born, says the Lord."

9. Psalm 91:4

"He will cover you with His feathers, and under His wings, you will find refuge; His faithfulness will be your shield and rampart."

10. Psalm 62:1-2

"My soul finds rest in God alone, my salvation comes from Him, He alone is my rock and my salvation."

11. Philippians 4:13

"I can do everything through Christ who gives me strength."

12. Jeremiah 29:11

"For I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."

Cover Image Credit: pixabay.com

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When You Read Your Bible And Pray Every Day You Will See Yourself Grow, Grow, Grow

I notice a difference in me when I don't read my Bible and pray every day.

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Whenever I hear someone talking about reading the Bible every day, my mind goes back to a song I sang in Sunday School. "Read your Bible, pray every day and you'll grow, grow grow." Whenever we said grow, we would stand up taller and taller, eventually standing on a chair and trying to reach the ceiling. Quite funny right? Yes, but how much truth exists in this silly song as well.

A relationship is built on communication between two people. You wouldn't have much of a relationship if you didn't talk to the other person. The same principle exists in your relationship with God. We are able to talk to God through prayer, and God wrote the Bible as a means of communicating with us. Because of this, it is important to read the Bible and pray every day.

I feel really inadequate in writing this article on this topic because I know how much I struggle with consistency in this area. These things don't become a habit on accident. You must practice this on purpose in order for it to become an effective, lasting trait in your life.

I can tell a difference in a day when I don't read the Bible and when I do. I've found myself to be more joyful when I spend some time reading and meditating on a few verses and talking to God about whatever is on my mind. It sets my focus on things above rather than myself, which is something I have struggled with to be quite honest. I find it interesting that so many Christians find it difficult to have a consistent time with the Lord, myself included. It could be a matter of priority and where Jesus falls on that. I know I've been guilty many times of placing other things before God and they thus become idols.

The song then says, "Neglect your Bible, forget to pray and you'll shrink, shrink, shrink." As we say "shrink" we begin crouching down closer and closer to the ground. It's still quite silly, but a lot of truth is evident. It's a good object lesson to what happens when we don't communicate with God in our relationship and become stagnant. We stop communicating with the Lord and eventually our sin doesn't bother us as much. There's not as much conviction there, so we don't confess it. Then, our fellowship with God breaks and we continue to make more worldly choices.

Whenever I don't read my Bible and pray for a day, I notice how much of my flesh is evident. I get angrier a lot quicker and my patience is a lot less evident. Anxiety and worry are often a lot more evident. All these things aren't of God. He gives the spirit of peace. That's not to say that communicating with the Lord well will never put you in a place where you don't feel at peace. We still are in need of God's sufficiency amongst our insufficiency. It just amplifies how sinful our nature is and how holy Christ is.

I hope this is an encouragement for someone in their walk with the Lord. Maintaining a strong relationship with Him isn't always easy, even though it should be a Christian's top priority. It's amazing at how gracious God has been to me in spite of all the times I've failed Him and wasn't as close as I once was. His grace is still good enough for you friend. Believe me.

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