"One of the criminals who hung there hurled insults at him: "Aren't you the Christ? Save yourself and us!" But the other criminal rebuked him. "Don't you fear God," he said, "since you are under the same sentence? We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong." Then he said, "Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom." Jesus answered him, "I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise." Luke 23:39-43
Hello readers. Welcome to my heart. Let's begin.
I had one of my friend's awesome mother ask me about the quote at the top of my blog. In case you've never noticed it, here it is. "The mystery of His love has compelled me. And for this, I have found the keys to life; and I found them shaped like nails." And my friend's mom asked did I come up with it, and I answered yes. But then I realized that I haven't explained it to you all, so, this blog is for that reason.
So the above scripture is a story that I've recently fallen in love with. I feel its the beauty and the basis of true salvation. Here's my burden.
It pains me. Like, seriously, it burdens me bad---that some people will miss out on God for silly reasons. Maybe even you reader, it burdens me that maybe you will miss out on God because you're only focusing on what religion calls you to do. I remember growing up in church with the knowledge of what was expected from Christians. Like I knew how they were supposed to act and be and etc. And I remember even after I got saved, I became this good little Christian boy and started to follow all the rules that the pastor so thoroughly laid out for the church on a regular basis---good Christian boy. Ata boy. And I remember so vividly the day when God finally cornered me. Here's the story.
I had just missed out on the Industrial Design program (long story) and I was somewhat depressed. And I was upset with God. Well, more hurt. Because I was told that if I lived right, God would bless me. If I did this, God would bless me. I mean, God was for me right? Jeremiah 29:11, God wants to prosper me, and give me a hope and a future! So what happened!? This is the major that I want to do, this is why I came to Auburn, and you didn't help me get in---it was my hope and my future! And I remember being in tears, putting together an entertainment center and upset because I had assembled the thing backwards, crying out to God man what happened!?? Here lies the problem. Immediately, I looked at my works, or my actions. For some reason I associated God not working things out my way with me not doing something for God correctly------ let me say it again.
For some reason, I associated God not working things out the way I wanted Him to because of me not doing something for God correctly.
What a stressful Christian walk right? Is this the freedom Jesus came to give us? Because this sucks.
These were my thoughts. I was very focused on my works, and never really recognized it until that moment. But of course, I continued, rushing in panic and still crying out to God, please God, I'll do anything. I need Jeremiah 29:11 to work out for me here, I'm struggling, I'm lost, I'm confused, I don't know what to do! And finally God just said SON LOOK AT ME!
And in that moment I had this vision of me scurrying around in front of the throne, eager to be sure God was pleased with my works, being sure He was pleased with how I looked, how I acted, how I dressed, where I was seen, who I was dating, what I was doing alone with this date, all these things and God just said,
Son Just look at me! Here's my point.
In that above scripture, that thief on the cross didn't have time to get his act together. He didn't have time to tithe or be early for church or even be a regular attender. He didn't have time to stop drinking so much or stop having sex or for the actual reason he was actually being punished, stop stealing.
The thief on the cross just looked at Jesus. Metaphorically, He just acknowledged Christ and repented of what he had done. Hanging from the cross, I'm sure the guy had time to think over his deeds. I'm sure he was tired of the pain physically and the guilt weighing on him as he hung, because repentance is so easy from the place of pain. So all he did was realized who Jesus was. This is all he did, please catch this.
He had faith that Jesus was who He said He was.
That's huge. And I'm afraid that so many people miss out on God because they'll focus on the obeying God before the loving Him first. So many people would rather enter from behind Jesus, thinking we have to get ourselves together before we can face Him. Hey, look at Him. Enter through the front door where He's waiting to embrace you. One thing that helps me understand this visual is to consider that we will see our unholiness when we look at God. So therefore, when we look at God we see His holiness. I'll say it this way.
The gospel invites us to come near to Him, where His holiness is pressed onto us. Which means this...
Stop trying to get to God through your works.
Won't work. He's already said that. You can't even get to Him unless you enter through Jesus. So this relationship with Jesus thing is crucial to your health and growth as a believer. Without Him, without Jesus, you are not seen as righteous before God. His payment, His death paid for our sins so we are covered, redeemed, reconciled, for the glory of God. All God is asking for you to look at Him and just desire the relationship. He's wanting you to ask,
Jesus, remember me.
Jesus, know me. I want to be invited into fellowship with You. I want to join You in paradise. And He's welcoming us into this! Freely given. Just like this man on the cross demonstrated! I'm so glad Jesus saved this man on the cross and put it in our Bible because this is the gospel of Jesus clearly shown. You're invited in.
So Jesus, remember me.