Is your view on sin narrow?

RepentCross

If your understanding of sin is narrow, then your understanding of God’s law, His grace, and your love for others will also be narrow.

Here’s the truth about the gravity our sin condition, the high standard of His law, the unfathomable depth of His grace and Christ’s sacrifice.

God’s definition of sin is broad

  • Everything that is not from faith is sin’ (Romans 14:23)
  • Turning away from God through unbelief is sin (Hebrews 3:12)
  • Not doing what you know is right is sin (James 4:17)
  • Doing wrong without knowing is sin (Leviticus 5:17)

Breaking God’s commandments is sin (1 John 3:4)

  • God’s commandments are not just the ten commandments, but all the moral commands stated in the Bible
  • The Rich Young Ruler thought he kept all the commandments of God, but Jesus said it wasn’t ‘complete’ because he did not care for the poor according to his financial ability (Matt. 19). Taking care of the poor is a moral command
  • The story of the rich young ruler shows the impossibility of earning one’s salvation by following a list of commandments (Mark 10:26)
  • James 2:9 states if you show favoritism or discriminate anyone, you have broken all the commandments

Even our human nature is sinful from birth

‘See, I was born in sin and was in sin from my very beginning’ (Psalms 51:5). Our sinful human nature can produce only one thing naturally. Sin! That’s why we need to be born again. More on this later

We cannot view sin as merely a list of dos and don’ts

  • Since, everything that is not from faith is sin, every action and attitude that we do without faith in God’s promises is sin
  • Therefore, we cannot view sin as merely a list of dos and don’ts
  • One of Satan’s most successful lies is that sin can be limited to a manageable list of dos and don’ts
  • This is so satanic and dangerous because it causes thousands of christians to think that things are OK between them and God because they avoid one list of don’ts and practice another (much shorter) list of do’s (ex: church going, returning offerings, not committing murder literally etc); but in fact may be sinning all day long

God’s standard of law is so high; no fallen man can measure up to it always

  • His standard of law is so high that it is humanely impossible for any fallen man to measure up. Perhaps occasionally, but not all the time. In Greek, Romans 3:23 is actually saying ‘all have sinned and continue to fall short of God’s standard’
  • It this standard of law that we have broken, are guilty of, condemned for, and deserving death (Romans 6:23)

His standard of love towards others is also high

  • A lawyer asked Jesus, what must I do to inherit life (Luke 10:25). Then Jesus recited the story of the good Samaritan. The lesson from the story was you must show perfect love to your neighbour, wherever, or whoever they may be all the time. This is humanly impossible to do all the time.
  • This parable teaches once again the impossibility of earning one’s salvation. The standard, which is perfect love, is too high; you can’t manufacture such God kind of love.

Narrow view of sin leads some to believe they can ‘do’ the law and inherit life

  • Because some have a narrow view of sin, and law, they like the rich young ruler, pharisees and that lawyer still think that they can DO the law to inherit eternal life
  • Only way to be saved by the law is to keep the law perfectly—every moment of every day for your entire life
  • “But those who depend on the law to make them right with God are under his curse, for the Scriptures say, “Cursed is everyone who does not observe and obey all the commands that are written in God’s Book of the Law” (Galatians 3:10)
  • People have a tendency to just cherry-pick a handful of things out of the law like the Sabbath (if you are a Sabbath keeper), offering giving, not stealing literally etc. But what Paul is saying, you can’t cherry-pick the law. If you’re going to earn righteousness under the law, it’s all the commandments (love others unconditionally, help the poor, don’t discriminate, every single one of them etc), and if you fail in one slightest detail ever in your life, then you are under a curse, and you are condemned.
  • If you think you can be saved by ticking a few commandments, you are in for a surprise. ‘Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’ (Matthew 7:23)
  • If we don’t understand the seriousness of sin, the standard of his law, and how we don’t measure up to God’s standard, we will never understand our dangerous-sinful-hopeless-condition, why Jesus came, why He died, why we need a savior, what he accomplished by His death, and how we can walk righteously.

Because we cannot pay for our sins, God turned over our sins to Jesus

  • Sin separated us from God, and created a bridge between us and Him (Isaiah 59:2), but Jesus took away our sins on the cross (1 Peter 2:24). God punished Jesus for our sins (Isaiah 53:5), and ‘brought us back to himself through Christ’ (2 Corinthians 5:18)
  • Apart from Christ we are separated from God, condemned, lost. But ‘Christ united us with God‘ (Eph 2:6). We were united with God the moment we repented for our sins, trusted Jesus that He was punished for our sins, our death, our law breaking, and believed that His sacrifice is sufficient to save us.
  • When we repented, our sins were completely forgiven. ‘There is now no condemnation for them that belong to Jesus’ (Rom 8:1). The law no more condemns us because it already condemned someone else: Jesus. ‘You are complete in Him’ (Col. 2:10)
  • Since we have broken God’s law, there is no way our good deeds could offset our bad deeds. ‘For if keeping the law could make us right with God, then there was no need for Christ to die’ (Gal 2:21). Only Jesus can save us and He did save us from the punishment by taking the punishment for our sins.

In God’s plan, we receive righteousness on the basis of faith

  • I am “found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own derived from the Law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which comes from God on the basis of faith” (Philippians 3:9).
  • We receive the righteousness of God apart from the law, meaning it doesn’t come from obeying the law. It comes from another place; it comes from Jesus Himself. It’s His righteousness.
  • God’s credits his Son’s righteous life on this earth as our righteousness by exchanging it for our sins the moment we repent, tell him we have messed up,  and confess we can’t measure up to His standard, and put our trust in Him! In that very moment, we are declared righteous in God’s presence as a gift of God’s grace (Romans 4:3). This is the good news! This is radical. This is grace. This is something only God thought up in his heart. Not man. Please don’t lower grace to your standard.

When you repented and believed in Jesus, you were born again

  • When we repented for our sins and our inability to save ourselves, and accepted Jesus as our perfect sacrifice, sin bearer, savior, Lord, He came into our life and we were born again. Jesus gave us a new birth, a new start in life. Our past is just that. Past. We can now look forward to living changed, righteous, and joy filled lives as we have Jesus living in us now.
  • ‘When we believed, we were sealed with the Holy Spirit‘ (Ephesians 1:13). This seal is the guratanee that tell us we are now God’s children, we are empowered, we have eternal life, we will inherit what God has promised us (2 Corinthians 1:22).

Without the new birth, you can’t enter the kingdom of God nor walk righteously

  • Unless one is born again, he cannot enter God’s kingdom (John 3:3).
  • We need to be born again, because when we were born into this world, we were born spiritually dead; this was the result of Adam’s fall. When they died that day eating the fruit (Genesis 2:17), they died in a real sense. Their spirit or spiritual nature died. Therefore, all Adam’s children are born into this world ‘dead’ (Eph 2:5) or with a dead ‘spirit’. They are dead to the things of God, dead to the voice of the Holy Spirit. They can’t hear God speak to them.
  • Nicodemus was a Sabbath keeper. Pharisees were Sabbath keepers. They kept a narrow list of commandments, and were satisfied that they met God’s standard. However, they were not born again. Their spirit or spiritual nature was still dead. That’s why they failed to meet the weightier matters of the law like justice, mercy, faith (Matthew 23:23), taking care of the poor, and helpless according to their financial ability. They didn’t even know they were sinning.
  • People who are not born again may keep a narrow set of laws and judge other people on external things like church going, offering giving, etc. but their hearts are far from God. They have an outward form of religion, but they have not changed from the inside out, because they were never born again.

There is more than forgiveness in God’s plan

  • When Jesus lives in us, He comes out in our actions, attitudes and affections. He empowers us to bear fruits of righteousness. He fulfills the righteousness requirement of the law in us (Romans 8:4) as His Spirit guides us.
  • The law tells us this. How messed up we are every time we look at it because it’s standard is so high (Romans 3:20). We have never kept its demand constantly, every moment, every day.
  • Those who have a narrow view of law will never see their true state from the law. The Pharisees never saw this. Therefore, they never really saw the need for a savior to take away their sins.
  • However, the Holy Spirit is our guide now, and not the law (Gal 3:25). We are ‘led by the Spirit’ (Romans 8:14). When the Spirit guides, He puts us in tune with all the moral principles of God. We become sensitive to others. We become gentle, kind, patient. We become more and more like Jesus.
  • The law may change people from the outside. But only the Spirit changes us from the inside out.
  • While the Spirit guides us, we will read and study God’s word to see if we are following all his teachings and not cherry picking a few things.
  • When you have Jesus, you have the fruit (singular) of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23). Notice, its not fruits, its fruit. When you have the Spirit, you have the entire basket of fruits: ‘love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law’.
  • Against such things there is no law means there is no law that can produce this fruit. There’s no legalism or external religious observances that can produce this. It’s a fruit of the Spirit.
  • If you only have one or two of the fruits, that means you were not born again! Probably you never understood how sinful you are before a Holy God, and his law! You didn’t truly repent. Therefore, you were not born again.

Conclusion:

  • If you are not trusting Christ for forgiveness and are not resting in his daily work on your behalf, then none of your actions comes from faith, but every one of them (even the most noble) is sinful and an insult to the infinitely trustworthy God.
  • Here’s the good news: Jesus took away your sins, and gave you new life. He died your death. His death wasn’t just a demonstration of love or death of a martyr. He died in your place so that he can take you home.
  • Following Jesus is not following a set of narrow laws. It is having a relationship with Him, trusting what he did on the cross, believing that His sacrifice is sufficient payment for your sins, trusting him daily to do what is right in your life, and making His word your authority for living. As you trust him, you are empowered to obey him, honour him, and live a holy life. No matter what life may throw at you, you can face it, because your future is secure in Him, and His finished work.

When you understand how high God’s standard of law is, and how sinful you are, only then can you really appreciate grace and the sacrifice of Christ.

When you receive His grace, only then can you really demonstrate the same kind of grace, love, kindness, and gentleness to others.

If you have not received Him as your Savior and the Lord of your life. Then:

  • Confess your great sin, how you haven’t measured up to his high standard and know you deserve to be condemned for insulting Him by your lack of faith, and thinking you could measure up.
  • Repent, turn to Him and believe now in Jesus, that as your Savior who died to bear you sin and punishment, so you could live forever and walk in newness of life.
  • Take him as your only hope of salvation and acknowledge him as your only Lord.
  • Thank him for his forgiveness and His promise to be with you, and in you, and to empower you to do his will.
  • Trust him to do what is right in your life.

Jesus’ sacrifice is sufficient

Cross

If we want to know whether Jesus’ sacrifice is enough to save us, we need to know some things about our condition before a Holy God.

Firstly, we need to know the bad news.

The bad news is all have sinned, and continue to fall short of God’s standard (Romans 3:23).

This means a few things:

  • We are not good enough to be with God.
  • We cannot offset our bad deeds by good deeds: No matter how many good deeds we do, we cannot offset our bad deeds. No amount of truth telling can offset that one tiny lie. No amount of kindness can offset that one small outburst of anger.
  • We cannot pay for our sins in any way.
  • We must be punished. We are guilty. The wages for one sin is death (Rom 6:23).

Are you feeling lost and hopeless? That’s ok. Actually that is healthy. Only then can you really understand and appreciate the gospel, and the need for a Savior.

Here’s the good news. Anyone can be saved by trusting Jesus’ sacrifice (John 3:16). This is what God did:

Because we cannot pay for our sin, God turned over our sins to Jesus (Isaiah 53:5)

Paul stated the gospel this way:

The Gospel really is…this Good News that saves you if you still firmly believe it…that Christ died for our sins…and that three days afterwards he arose from the grave” (1 Corinthians 15:1-4).

Jesus’ death wasn’t a martyr’s death. It wasn’t just a demonstration of love. It is much more. He died in our place. He died our death. When Jesus said ‘It is finished’ and died on the cross (John 19:30), He paid the price for our sins completely.

Is this sacrifice a sufficient payment for our sins?

Yes, in Greek, it is finished means tetelestai. It is a banking term to mean debt is paid. Jesus paid our sin debt we owed God. He satisfied God’s wrath fully.  He met broken law’s demands completely. And when He rose, He earned the right to give life eternal to anyone who will receive Him and believe that His sacrifice is sufficient to save them (John 3:16).

“Therefore, there is now no condemnation (adjudging of guilty) for those who belong to Jesus” (Romans 8:1).

Some believe it is still not enough

During Paul’s day, some Jewish Christians were teaching that Jesus’ sacrifice wasn’t really enough. The same issue exists today. The idea is Jesus’ sacrifice alone cannot save us, we also need to add others things. During Paul’s day it was circumcision, and other Jewish laws.  Today, some try to add kind acts, church going, Sabbath, offering giving, and other good works to His finished work to gain forgiveness and acceptance from God.

Paul’s says don’t even think about it

Paul warns that if you teach Jesus’ sacrifice is not enough, you are teaching another gospel, which is not a gospel at all (Galatians 1:6, 7). And he goes on to say the following things among other things about people who teach and believe in such a gospel:

  • They are cursed; literally should be destroyed (Galatians 1:9)
  • Trying to be right with God through obeying the law, which is impossible (Galatians 2:16)
  • Trying to receive God’s inheritance through keeping the law, and not by trusting Jesus (Galatians 3:18).
  • Trying to receive the Holy Spirit by their works, which doesn’t work (Galatians 3:2)
  • Do not and cannot even obey all the commandments all the time, and hence are under a curse, and prisoned (Galatians 3:10)

Don’t add, but show gratitude

Paul said, we are made right with God when we “believe that Jesus sacrificed his life, shedding his blood” (Romans 3:25). If you repent for your sins, and inability to save yourself, and trust Jesus’ finished work is enough to save you, and receive Jesus, not only Jesus came into your life, He also forgave your sins, gave you a new start and empowered you to live a new life pleasing to Him.

Now you can show God your gratitude through your good works, not to gain or earn favor from Him, because you really can’t. Besides, you already have His favor. But in response to Jesus’s finished work and as the Holy Spirit who is in you leads you to do His will, obey and honor Him.

Insights from Superman and Jesus

Superman-s-symbol

One fan favorite of super hero comics is Superman.  More than any other superhero, the Superman story resembles the Gospels. If you haven’t heard the story, it goes something like this.

From above, father Jor-el sends his son Kal-el as a baby to earth

Like God the Father sent His Son Jesus to this world. By the way, El is Hebrew for God.

Kal-el was sent in a star-like space ship

Similar to Christ’s first coming that was heralded by a star.

When he came, he was raised by two earthly parents who were originally named Joseph and Mary (later Jonathan and Martha).

Jesus was raised by two earthly parents, Joseph and Mary.

When Kal-el comes of age, he visits the artic wilderness to speak with his father’s spirit.

Like Jesus’ visit to the wilderness.

Thereafter, Kal-el (earthly name is Clark) embraces his mission as Superman to fight for truth and justice.

Similar to Jesus’ mission.

Superman’s mortal enemy is Lex, who envies His power.

Like Satan who wanted to be like God.

Superman came back to life after being put to death as per a 1992 comic book called The Death of Superman.

Like Jesus rose from the dead.

Well Superman may be a bit like Jesus, but is Jesus anything like Superman? I think there are at least three implications for Christians from Superman or superhero stories.

1. Jesus is incomparable to fiction or myth

As seen above, there are similarities, but there are also incomparable differences.

  • Jesus is real. Superman and any other superhero or gods are either myth or fiction.
  • Jesus’ death achieved something amazing. When He died, He died as our atoning sacrifice for our sins (1 Corinthians 15:3). He died in our place. He died our death. When He rose, He earned the right to give us life (1 Peter 1:3).
  • Neither superman nor any other person in real life or fiction can take away our sins, and give life eternal. Only Jesus can. He is the true messiah; He is the true Savior of the world (1 John 4:14).

2. The Superman story can help you talk about Jesus

Given the similarities, some have used Superman’s story as a parable or an illustration to teach about Jesus. When the movie Superman returns (2006) was set to hit theaters,  some churches used it as an opportunity to share about Jesus. I know friends who did likewise. I know friends who wouldn’t do likewise.

Given how much Superman’s story resembles the story of Jesus, I think it’s great to try and use every opportunity to point people to Him. Of course we should share with them that Jesus took away our sins. He died our death. No one else, neither Superman nor any other person could have done it.

3. Don’t let superheroes take your attention off Jesus

I like super hero comics, and I know some of you do too. But let’s recognize this. Satan can turn harmless things into harmful things. If Satan can take away our attention from Jesus, using superman, superheroes or any other thing for that matter, he has set up false gods, false messiahs for people to follow.

Satan can make things appear more beautiful, attractive, and desirous than Jesus. He has been doing that from the very beginning. He convinced Eve that the tree was beautiful and its fruit looked delicious, and she wanted the wisdom it would give her” (Genesis 3:6).

He is doing it today. Sometimes, people find super heroes more attractive than Jesus. Why wouldn’t they when super heroes are portrayed as not only standing for justice and truth, but also having popping biceps, flashing six packs, extremely good looks, and witty conversations?

Because Jesus isn’t portrayed that way, sometimes people find Jesus boring, and unappealing.

True, supers story lines may provide opportunities for sharing about Jesus. Equally, they may make sharing about Jesus challenging with people.

Nothing can compare to knowing Jesus

As Christians, let us use every opportunity to share about Jesus because He is the true Savior of the world. Let’s also remember and share with others that nothing can be compared to knowing Jesus. Paul said it this way.

“Yes, everything else is worthless when compared with the infinite value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have discarded everything else, counting it all as garbage, so that I could gain Christ” (Philippians 3:8).

We also need to do one more thing. To not allow anything to take away our focus on Jesus, let’s “keep our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith” (Hebrews 12:2).

Are you a faith fighter?

figthers

Did you know when you gave your heart to Jesus, you became a faith fighter?

Paul wrote:

Fight for the true faith” (1 Timothy 6:12, NLT).

Paul himself was one when he said:

I have fought the good fight” of faith (2 Timothy 4:7).

The Greek for fight is agon. It literally means to engage in conflict. It was used in the context of military conflict or competing in athletic sports.

Let’s ask some questions about our faith, who we fight with, weapons we fight with and the outcome of our conflict.

We fight for the faith in whom?

Paul is not talking about faith in ourselves, but faith in Christ.

What does it mean to have faith in Christ?

Faith is trusting in Jesus’s finished work on the cross to save us, and change us. It is also trusting Him daily to do what is right in your life.

When Paul says I have fought for the faith, he is saying he has kept on trusting Jesus’ finished work to save and change him, and God to do what is right in his life to the very end.

Why is keeping our faith in Jesus like a fight?

It’s because it is possible for us to stop trusting God completely, and rely on self. We also have another enemy, Satan, who challenges our faith in Christ, His word, and what God says about us.

We need to know about our enemy

To overcome the enemy, we need to know about the enemy. “For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, ….but against evil spirits in the heavenly places” (Ephesians 6:12). Our battle is not physical. It is spiritual.

What do we know about Satan and His forces?

His life purpose is to “be like God Most High” (Isaiah 14:14). He is “the commander of the powers in the unseen world. He is the spirit at work in the hearts of those who refuse to obey God” (Ephesians 2:2). His job is to accuse us before God. (Revelation 12:10). Now the devil “has little time” (Revelation 12:12) so, “he prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour” (1 Peter 5:8).

What can Satan do?

Satan can’t take away your salvation, but he can take away your joy. He can’t force you to do anything, but he can put negative thoughts in your mind. He battles with us in at least three ways: through influencing our old sinful nature (Romans 7:23), the influence of people and the world’s value system (1 John 2:16).

How do we fight him?

Satan can accuse us, but he doesn’t have the last word, because Jesus rose for our defence. When Jesus rose, He broke “the power of the devil, who had the power of death” (Hebrews 2:14). Satan can disturb us but he can’t defeat us because, “the Spirit who lives in you is greater than the spirit who lives in the world” (I John 4:4).

The first thing you need to fight him is you must be born again. You were born again, when God chose you, made you aware of your sins, and the moment you repented and believed in Jesus as your Savior and Lord. “When you believed [in Christ] you were sealed with the Spirit” (Ephesians 1:13).

When you were born again, God gave you spiritual weapons to fight.

We use God’s mighty weapons, not worldly weapons” (2 Corinthians 10:4). We also suit up. “Put on all of God’s armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the devil” (Ephesians 6:11).

God has many spiritual weapons in the Bible, but His built-in weapons suit lists the key weapons He gives us:

Truth belt: “Wear a belt of truth around your body” (Ephesians 6:14a, NLV).

Right with God chest guard: “Wear a piece of iron over your chest which is being right with God” (Ephesians 6:14b).

Peace giving Gospel shoes: “Wear shoes on your feet which are the Good News of peace” (Ephesians 6:15a).

Faith shield: “You need a covering of faith in front of you. This is to put out the fire-arrows of the devil” (Ephesians 6:15b).

Salvation helmet: “The covering for your head is that you have been saved from the punishment of sin” (Ephesians 6:17a).

Bible sword: “Take the sword of the Spirit which is the Word of God” (Ephesians 6:17b).

God gives us spiritual weapons like faith, God’s word, right with God status, truth found in Jesus, peace that comes from the gospel, saved and empowered by grace assurance to stand against Satan’s and his minions.

Not only that, you are also connected with the commander Himself, Jesus Christ, through the spiritual weapon called Prayer, while His Spirit, who lives in you, directs you and empowers you through the battle field of life. “You must pray at all times as the Holy Spirit leads you..” (Ephesians 6:18).

You are more than conquerors through Christ

Just like Paul, you can one day say I have fought the good fight of faith. You know why? Because not only are you saved by grace (Ephesians 2:8), seated with Christ in heaven (Ephesians 2:6), transferred to His kingdom (Colossians 1:13), guaranteed of salvation (Ephesians 1:14), you are also more than a conqueror (Romans 8:37), and we conquer through Jesus and His weapons. No matter what the devil throws at you this side of heaven, you have a promise. “For every child of God defeats this evil world, and we achieve this victory through our faith” (1 John 5:4).

When Christians need to be patient?

Queues

I visited Singapore recently on a holiday. One of the highlights of my visit was the amount of queues I had to stand in.

When I needed a taxi, I stood in a queue. Waited for the monorail. Stood in a queue. Supermarket, shopping mall, tickets counter. Stood in a queue. Water slide ride. Stood in a queue.

Never before have I spent so much time in queues.

Queues are a picture of waiting periods

They reminded me about the waiting periods we go through in life and couldn’t wait till we got out of. Some of us couldn’t wait till we got out of college, got a job, found love, got married, got kids, got out of debt.

If you haven’t realised already, we spend a lot of our lives waiting.

It is one thing to wait in a supermarket queue. Another thing when you wait for people to change, your health to change, finances to change, marriage to turn around. James chapter 5 mentions three waiting periods; he encourages us to be patient when we meet such circumstances.

When we need to exercise patience?

  1. Uncontrollable situations

Dear brothers and sisters, be patient as for you wait the Lord’s return. Consider the farmers who patiently wait for the rains in the fall and in the spring. They eagerly look for the valuable harvest to ripen” (James 5:7, NLT).

James says we need patience, when we face uncontrollable situations (ex: the return of Jesus). He uses farmers as an example. They had to do a lot of waiting because they had to till, plant, prune before harvesting. They also had no control over the weather, economy, and labor practices. James tells us to be patient when we face uncontrollable situations. Why? Because we do not have control over such things.

Sometimes, when things are uncontrollable, we try to control them. We do that by worrying.  But worrying is useless. The Bible says, “can all your worries add a single moment to your life?” (Mathew 6:27). God encourages us to be patient during queues of uncontrollable situations.

  1. Unchangeable people

For examples of patience in suffering, dear brothers and sisters, look at the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord” (James 5:10).

James says we must be patient when people are unchangeable. He says look at the prophets. The prophets were entrusted to turn people to God and change their lives. However, prophets were resisted and persecuted, yet they served God. James says when you face unchangeable people, remember the prophets, and their example of patience.

  1. Unexplainable problems

We give great honor to those who endure under suffering. For instance, you know about Job, a man of great endurance” (James 5:11).

When you face unexplainable waiting periods, be patient. Everything was going well for Job. Then everything fell apart. He lost his family, friends, wealth, health and joy. A lot of things in life may not make sense. It didn’t make sense for Job, but he kept his faith. When we experience queues of unexplainable problems, God wants us to be patient.

Here is why we can be patient:

We can be patient because God is in charge. We may not see Him, but it doesn’t mean He isn’t working things out. “You can see how the Lord was kind to him (Job) at the end” (Job 5:11). What He did for Job, He does for us.

When we know He has our best interest in mind, and when we trust Him to do the right thing, we can wait for Him patiently.

And when you wait patiently for Him, make sure you also:

Wait expectantly: “… I wait expectantly, trusting God to help, for He has promised” (Psalm 130:5, LB).

Wait confidently: “I will wait confidently for God” Micah 7:7, GNT).

Wait quietly: “It is good to wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord” (Lamentations 3:26, NIV).

Is your God narrow?

Boss

I served a boss who took a genuine interest in the well-being of every employee under him.

He cared about our vocational well-being: motivated us, and fought for our promotions.

He cared about our financial well-being: shared with us financial wisdom from his life experiences, and advised us to spend wisely.

He cared about our relational well-being. Didn’t hesitate to grant us leave. Encouraged us to leave home early so that we can enjoy time with family.

People care about us, but God even more. When we gave our hearts to Jesus, He began a good work in every area of our life. Jesus said it this way:

“My purpose is to give life in all its fullness” (John 10:10, TLB).

Some of us have a very narrow view of God. To us, God only enters the picture when it comes to church or religion. But the truth is, God is interested in every area of our life: Spiritual. Mental. Emotional. Relational. Financial. Vocational.

His word teaches us how he blesses and how we can become healthy in every area of our life.

Spiritually healthy

Here are a few habits you need to develop to be spiritually healthy. It starts with you knowing that Jesus loves you, and He is your Savior:

  1. Know that He loves you: We love each other because he loved us first” (1 John 4:19).
  2. Love Him supremely: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength” (Mark 12:30, NLT).
  3. Meet Him daily: “Joyful are those who listen to me, watching for me daily” (Proverbs 8:34).
  4. Study and obey His word: “You are my friends if you do what I command” (John 15:14).
  5. Love others unconditionally: “Just as I have loved you, you should love each other” (John 13:34).
  6. Serve others unselfishly: “Use your freedom to serve one another in love” (Galatians 5:13).
  7. Spread the good news freely. “We loved you so much that we shared with you not only God’s Good News but our own lives, too” (1 Thessalonians 2:8).

Physically healthy

Here are a few reasons why God cares about your physical well-being:

  1. Your body is His property: “For we are God’s masterpiece” (Ephesians 2:10).
  2. You are connected to Christ’s body: “Don’t you realize that your bodies are actually parts of Christ?” (1 Corinthians 6:15).
  3. The Holy Spirit resides in your body: “Don’t you realize that all of you together are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God lives in[a] you?” (1 Corinthians 3:16).
  4. Jesus bought your body on the cross: “God bought you with a high price. So you must honor God with your body” (1 Corinthians 6:20).
  5. He wants you to be healthy: “Dear friend, I hope all is well with you and that you are as healthy in body as you are strong in spirit” (3 John 1:2).

Mentally healthy

Speaking of mental health, God says:

  1. Guard your mind: “A wise person is hungry for knowledge, while the fool feeds on trash” (Proverbs 15:14).
  2. Examine your thoughts:The human heart is the most deceitful of all things..” (Jeremiah 17:9); “Examine yourselves to see whether you’re in the faith; test yourselves…” (2 Corinthians 13:5).
  3. Renew your mind daily by His word: “..Let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think..” (Romans 12:2).
  4. Never stop growing and learning: “Those who get wisdom do themselves a favor, and those who love learning will succeed” (Proverbs 19:8, NCV).

Emotionally healthy

God says He heals the broken-hearted and bandages their wounds” (Psalm 147:3, NLT). Many people have hurts and wounds, but God says He wants to heal them:

  1. Reveal and confess your hurts to God so that he can heal you: I kept very quiet…but I became even more upset. I became very angry inside, and as I thought about it, my anger burned” (Psalm 39:2-3, NCV).
  2. Release those who have hurt you and trust God to do what is right:Dear friends, never take revenge. Leave that to the righteous anger of God..” (Romans 12:19, NLT).
  3. Replace those old lies you believed with God’s truth:Let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think” (Romans 12:2).
  4. Reach out to help others who are hurting:He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us” (2 Corinthians 1:4).

Relationally healthy

Relationships matter to Him. He counsels:

  1. Choose friends wisely:The righteous choose their friends carefully” (Proverbs 12:26, NIV).
  2. Be genuinely interested in others:Unfriendly people care only about themselves..” (Proverbs 18:1, NLT).
  3. Have a cheerful spirit:Do everything without complaining and arguing, so that no one can criticize you” (Philippians 2:14).
  4. Be a good listener:Be quick to listen, slow to speak” (James 1:19).
  5. Accept people unconditionally:Accept one another…just as Christ accepted you” (Romans 15:7).
  6. Help people feel appreciated:Take delight in honoring each other” (Romans 12:10).
  7. Be understanding:Be happy with those who are happy, and weep with those who weep” (Romans 12:15).
  8. Stick with them in tough times:There are “friends” who destroy each other, but a real friend sticks closer than a brother” (Proverbs 18:24).

Financially healthy

Speaking of financial well-being, His word says:

  1. Trust God as your provider:Everything comes from him…” (Romans 11:36).
  2. Put Him first in your money:The purpose of tithing is to teach you always to put God first in your lives” (Deuteronomy 14:23, TLB).
  3. Save and invest:The wise man saves for the future, but the foolish man spends whatever he gets” (Proverbs 21:20).
  4. Set up plans to pay debt:Let no debt remain outstanding” (Romans 13:8, NIV).
  5. Have a budget for spending:Good planning and hard work lead to prosperity, but hasty shortcuts lead to poverty” (Proverbs 21:5, NLT).
  6. Be happy with what you have:Enjoy what you have rather than desiring what you don’t have” (Ecclesiastes 6:9).

Vocationally healthy

His counsel on your vocational well-being:

  1. Know that God is your real boss:Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people” (Colossians 3:23)
  2. Work enthusiastically:Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart” (Colossians 3:23, NIV).
  3. Know that God uses difficult circumstances to build your character: For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow” (James 1:3).
  4. Care about your work colleagues:Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too” (Philippians 2:4).
  5. Exceed expectations:Servants, do what you’re told by your earthly masters. And don’t just do the minimum that will get you by. Do your best” (Colossians 3:22, MSG).
  6. Expand your skills and learn continually:Using a dull ax requires great strength, so sharpen the blade. That’s the value of wisdom; it helps you succeed” (Ecclesiastes 10:10, NLT).
  7. Commit your work for God’s purposes:Commit your actions to the Lord, and your plans will succeed” (Proverbs 16:3).

God cares about every area of your life because you are His child. If it matters to you, it matters to Him. Sometimes we have a narrow view of our heavenly Father’s concerns for our life.

He says I want to bless and change every area of your life.