Lesson 4 Video
When we talked about what Jesus accomplished by dying, we saw that trusting his claims about himself gives us access to his promises, but for his promises to become real in our lives, we also need a change in attitude and behavior.
Change begins with reading and trusting what he says about himself, and what he says about us. Here are some examples of what Jesus says about himself in contrast to what he says about us.
- Jesus is entirely good. We are filled with evil.
- Jesus loved us. We hated him.
- Jesus chose us. We rejected him.
- Jesus obeyed God perfectly. We rebelled against God's rules.
- Jesus willingly suffered for his enemies, including us. We've been unwilling to suffer even for our loved ones.
- Jesus was the greatest servant. We don't want to serve but to be served.
- Jesus rose from the dead. We are destined to fall into our graves, yet there is hope because Jesus offers us his life.
Jesus is God, yet still truly human. He is the greatest man to ever live, and he chose to love us and to pursue our love while we were his enemies.
No one can be changed by Jesus without approaching him with humility. Jesus isn't a magic spell. He's a person who knows every thought in our minds.
The Bible says God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble. If we approach Jesus wanting to use him just to get what we want, we will never be welcomed by him. Unless we turn from our evil and begin to hate it, and choose his good instead, we will never know him or the benefit of his promises.
This attitude of regret over evil, coupled with passionate desire for Jesus' goodness—and firm trust in his promises—becomes our new normal. When we read what he says in the Bible, then pray and seek his will, our attitudes change from prideful to humble. We start to become like him.
Jesus sees our hearts. We need to grow to hate evil and to desire his goodness to replace it. Then, when we ask Jesus to forgive us, he will.
When we approach him with real humility, he meets us in our brokenness and begins to mend our hearts. It is when we see ourselves honestly, and live our lives in agreement with the truth that God has chosen to love and grow us into his goodness, that God gives us life, joy, and love.
Isn't it beautiful how he involves us in the process?
If you feel ashamed of your evil, good! Run to him. Kneel in humility and thank him for showing you the truth about yourself. It is proof that Jesus is pursuing you with love.
Turn from your evil, and instead turn to Jesus. Bury yourself in the Bible. Immerse yourself in prayer. Meditate on who Jesus is, and what he promises to do in and through you. Submit to him so you can please him and live in close friendship with him. Remember that his love and promises are what give you the power and authority to live a pure life.
This is a constant, daily process. When you fail, don't get trapped by guilt or a sense of hopelessness. The moment you fail is the moment you need to turn to God the most. The idea that your evil is more powerful than God is ridiculous and prideful. Jesus loved you when you lived against him. Of course he will forgive you now that you are his child! He is stronger than your evil, and he loves you more than you dislike yourself. Trust that and you won't lose hope.
Read 1 John 1, Ephesians 5:8, and John 11:9-10, then write down your understanding of forgiveness and what it means to “walk in the light.” Pray about it, then discuss honestly with a trusted Christian friend. Are you walking in the light? If not, what change can you make today to step into the light?