"For we ourselves were once foolish, disobedient, led astray, slaves to various passions and pleasures, passing our days in malice and envy, hated by others and hating one another. But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life."
Oftentimes, I feel like the first person described in that passage of Scripture. I feel foolish, disobedient, and led astray. Why would God extend to me so much mercy when I am so unworthy? I have been saved by His grace, so that I might make Him known throughout the world, for His glory. Yet, here I am, once again, in need of His continual forgiveness.
"Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, to make you obey its passions. Do not present your members to sin as instruments for unrighteousness, but present yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life, and your members to God as instruments for righteousness. For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace."
The Christian life is filled with trials and tribulations. It is not one marked by health, wealth, and prosperity. It is not about 'becoming a better you' or living 'your best life now'. It is about seeing and savoring Jesus Christ. Knowing Him and being known by Him. Becoming more like Him through time spent in Scripture, soaking it into every fiber of your being, becoming like Him through prayer...even in hardships.
"But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith—that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead."
unashamed, radical, unhindered life endlessly proclaiming the gospel of Christ unto death.
"Therefore, therefore, do not lose heart, but take these truths and day by day focus on them. Preach them to yourself every morning. Get alone with God and preach his Word into your mind until your heart sings with confidence that you are new and cared for."