As a consequence, many people see life as something to be endured, struggling to believe that there is “light at the end of the tunnel.” They float through life never really learning how to live.
I think it’s for that reason Jesus said in the Gospel of John 10:10, “I have come that you might have life, and have it to the fullest.”
It is interesting that Jesus did not say, “I have come that you might have religion, or rules, or regulations. He said, “I’ve come that you might have life, and have it to the fullest.”
Sadly, most people really don’t know how to live, and that includes Christians.
So, today, I’m going to take a fresh look at: what does it really mean to be a believer in Jesus Christ. Our focus will be on how to live positively even when life seems to be giving you a hard time.
A university professor studied thousands of people and came to the conclusion that, “People who are optimistic, and people who are positive, live longer, have better health, are happier, and accomplish more, than people who are not optimistic or positive.”
The truth is people like to be around positive people. There’s enough bad news in the world. I think Christians, of all people, ought to be the most positive, optimistic people there are. We have so much to hope for. I think that a pessimistic Christian is an insult to God. In chapter 8 of the Book of Romans in the New Testament of the Bible, it gives us seven reasons why every Christian ought to be the most positive people in the world. It gives us insights into the lifestyle God intends for you to live.
The key phrase in this passage is two little words, “In Christ”. That’s the Apostle Paul’s favorite term for a Christian. Because we are Christians, God has made possible a certain kind of lifestyle for us to live. There are seven things we’re going to look at but in this article, we only have room for four. As a Christian it s possible to live ..
1. A life without condemnation: Romans 8:1says, “Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus”. There is absolutely no condemnation if you are a Christian. God does not condemn you. That is a hard truth for us to grasp. Intellectually we can get it. But emotionally it’s just too good to believe.
The fact is, God is not angry with me, if you are a Christian. When you blow it, God does not reject you. He does not kick you out of his family. When you’re inconsistent, he does not get impatient and scold you. When you sin, he does not hold a grudge and stop loving you.
Why? Because your sins have already been paid for. That’s what Jesus Christ did on the cross. If Jesus paid for your sins, you don’t need to pay for them too. That’s double jeopardy. Jesus said it himself, “I didn’t come into the world to condemn the world. I came to save it.” (John 3.17).
There’s only one condition for you to meet: to be “in Christ”. For those who are in Christ Jesus, there is no condemnation. It’s already been done for you. You can’t earn it, you just accept it. So many people I meet are walking around in self-condemnation, beating themselves continuously for their past. They won’t let themselves go, they won’t forgive themselves, much less accept forgiveness from God. The truth is, God has made it possible for us to live a life without condemnation. Even if there weren’t a heaven, it would be worth it to become a Christian just to have a clear conscience, to know that God is not mad at me. He wants to be my friend, not my enemy. Obviously Christians sin, they fail, they make mistakes. Christians are not perfect, but we are forgiven, that’s enough reason in the world to be positive. God has made it possible to live a life without condemnation, and …
2. A life without domination: The Bible tells us in the Book of Romans 8:2-17,”Through Christ Jesus, the law of the Spirit has set me free from the law of sin and death.”
The fact is I don’t have to be controlled by anything anymore as a Christian. When God is in control of my life, I don’t have to be controlled by anything else. I am set free. I talk to people with a common complaint, “I just can’t get a handle on my life. I want to do right, but I don’t. I know what I ought to be doing, but I just can’t seem to change. I can’t break free.”
Maybe it’s a way of thinking, a way of acting, a way of responding. Maybe it’s a habit - drinking, eating, smoking, taking drugs, needing exercise, whatever. “I just can’t get in control!”
The truth is that the mark of a genuine Christian is freedom. The mark of a genuine church is freedom. The Bible says, “Where the Spirit of the Lord is there is liberty.”
So my question for you today is, What’s controlling your life? Without even knowing who you are, I can tell you what’s controlling you: Whatever you think about the most, is what controls you. The Bible tells us that, “To have your mind controlled by human nature results in death; to have your mind controlled by the Spirit results in life and peace.”
You are going to be controlled by something in life - either your own nature, the devil, or the Lord, or something. But the amazing thing is, the more I let God control my life, the more freedom I experience. When I’m mastered by God, I become the master of my circumstances. So, God has made it possible to live a life without condemnation, domination and …
3.A life without desperation: Most people live lives of quiet desperation. They’re overwhelmed, discouraged. Life is not easy. Life is tough. God has not promised a stress free, problem free life for believers. However, Christians do have a hope that helps us keep on going. The Bible teaches that I will be rewarded in the end. “Our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.”
The Apostle Paul says, I know how the story’s going to end. There’s going to be rewards. Sure I’m going through tough times right now, but I know that I’m going to win in the end.
The fact of life as a Christian is, I have a hope to hold onto even in my problems, even when things are going wrong, even when things fall apart. I have a hope that those who do not believe don’t have.
There are two things that give us hope. Verse 23 says someday you’re going to get a new body. Isn’t that good news? Verse 26 says that “the Spirit prays for us” when we’re going through trials so we have a hope. We live a life without condemnation, without domination, without desperation, and …
4. A life without miscalculation. God never makes a mistake. He even takes the mistakes you make, and weaves them into his plan for his purpose. Nothing comes into my life by accident. Everything fits into his plan. Verse 28 says, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose.” No wonder Christians can be positive. That verse would make an optimist out of anybody.
All things work together for good for those who love God! The fact is, God has a purpose behind every problem that I face. That helps me to be positive. Notice what it does not say. It does not say that all things are good. There’s a lot of bad in the world. It says that all things work out for good. It does not say that everything will have a happy ending on this side of eternity. It says, “... and we know...”, we don’t hope, we don’t wish, we don’t desire, we don’t think, we don’t imagine. We have absolute confidence. We know!
What do we know? We know that all things work together for good for those who love God. All things! What does all things include? Does that include losing your job? Does that include an illness? Does that include a divorce? Does that include a miscarriage? Does that include problems in my family?
It says, ‘All things’ work together! And notice it doesn’t say, all things by themselves are good. It says they work together, they’re inter-related. We must look at the whole picture. All things work together for good. That makes it a life without miscalculation. God never makes a mistake. And He even takes the mistakes in my life and turns them around.
Question: Can God bring good out of evil? Can God take even the sins that I’ve done in my life -- even the wrong things, the stupid decisions, and somehow fit them into his plan? Yes! If you have the opportunity take the time to read the Gospel of Matthew chapter 1 where it talks about the genealogy of Jesus Christ and included in that record are men and women we would consider as “undesirables,” but God used them.
The point is: God even takes the mistakes we make and weaves them into His great programme and plan, and brings good out of them. Isn’t that incredible? Isn’t it good news to know, that you don’t have to be perfect the rest of your life, to be in God’s plan? Isn’t it great to know, that even though you make mistakes, that God will fit it in. The phrase “second best,” isn’t in God’s vocabulary.
God has made it possible for us to live a life without miscalculation. That means everything works together. For everybody? No! This is a promise only for believers. For those who love Him, for those who have been called according to His purpose.
We will continue this discussion next time.
Enjoy your weekend and live positively for your family and for everyone else you interact with. Ps Tevai Matapo, Assembly of God Church .