We've all messed things up. In the Bible it says, "For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God." (Romans 3:23 NASB) That is not pointing to the sins you get annoyed with in other people, this is talking about our own stuff that we minimize, hide, or pretend isn't there. Often we get offended when people point out we're sinners, but in my experience it truly is good news when I can get that out in the open and no longer sit with the shame and hiddenness of it.
Sin destroys us. I don't know why we pretend it doesn't. We think the indulging will make us feel better, but we feel worse. We die a little more inside with each act, with the ultimate result of our total destruction in the fires of hell. The entire world and its system is going down the path of destruction. "For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord." (Romans 6:23 NASB) God invites us to stop trying to fix it ourselves, but invite His life to take root inside us and grow us into the person He has called us to be.
How do we know about this free gift? Amazingly, it's through the life and death of Jesus. His sacrifice on our behalf was the purest demonstration of God's love for all of humanity. In the very middle of our rage and defiance of God, He took within himself our anger. "But God demonstrates His own love for us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us." (Romans 5:8 NASB) He absorbed it on the cross, and rose again three days later. We do not need to fear death, rejection, or alienation. God is there for us, for each one of us, and has a path for each one of us that leads us into the fullness of eternal life that begins even now.
This gift of salvation is truly a gift. It is not our work. Just as a caterpillar becomes a butterfly, a seed become a flower, we are given a gift that transforms us from the inside out. "For by grace you have been saved through faith; not that of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast." (Romans 2:8,9 NASB) It is God that works in and through us, creating a beautiful masterpiece.
There is some action that is required on our part to receive this gift. The Bible says "that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation." (Romans 10:9,10 NASB) It begins with the action of our mouths to say aloud with another what we have chosen to receive. If you would like to receive this gift and begin a new journey with Christ, use your own words to ask Him to forgive your sins, declare Jesus as a Lord of your life, and declare your belief in Jesus' resurrection from the dead. The result is a renewed life now, and the promise of eternal life in Heaven.
The next step is to find other believers and pray with them that you will receive all that God has promised, including the full presence and power of the Holy Spirit, God's living presence inside of those who believe. A a new person in Christ, you need the protection and help of others to help that new life get started, just as we provide special care for a new plant, or the way a caterpillar needs a cocoon to experience tranformation. Find a local congregation (if you're in the Goshen area, we'd love to welcome you as our guest at Clinton Frame Mennonite Church) and enter into life there.
I also want to pray for you right now. "Lord, come near this new child of yours and protect them. Guide them into your loving presence. Lead them to a community of believers. Empower them from within to overcome their sin and the sin of the world around them that weighs them down. Bring freedom and joy and a full life into each of their days. Amen."