We can have God’s best for us, when we study the Bible, enter into the Lord’s presence, and have fellowship with Him through prayer or praise and worship. Praying only short prayers, on the run and reading a few Bible verses now and then, is not what our heavenly Father expects from His children. We will reap what we sow and that may be a long chain of failures and desperate moments. Why? Because it takes time in God’s presence to open our spiritual ears to hear what the Holy Spirit has to say, and if we do not seriously study the Bible, we cannot know our Heavenly Father's will, to be able to react and pray accordingly. God respects our free will and does not force us to spend time with Him. The Lord teaches and warns us, through the Holy Spirit and His Word, but we must choose to do His will. Whenever we follow the guidance of the Holy Spirit, we can make the right decisions that the Lord blesses and helps us live the abundant life that Jesus Christ came to give us (John 10:10). Jesus told the Jews who did not believe that He was the Messiah, that in searching the Scriptures we can learn what we need to know about Him.
It is interesting to note that the Jews knew that eternal life could be found in the Scriptures, but they did not recognize Jesus as the Messiah, the incarnated Word, the way, the truth, and the life. The truth sets us free only after we know it, and this knowledge only comes from time spent in study and fellowship.
For Jesus to truly be our Lord, we must spend time with Him. Parents know how painful it is to only see their teenage children when they need money, and even then, only for a minute, because they are in a hurry. Why would we think that God is pleased with us when we give Him only crumbs of our time? Unfortunately, not even going to church is always a time dedicated to the Lord, because thoughts, worries and emotional problems can distract us, and we fail to enter into the presence of the One we should honor. If we sing without paying attention to the words and do not mean them wholeheartedly, then the time of worship loses its purpose. If we do not pay attention to the sermons, they cannot touch our hearts and help us change for the better.
We want to spend more time with those we truly love. When we are in love with Jesus, we want to know Him more and more. Jesus is the Word and He reveals Himself to us, through the Bible. Studying the Word not only gives us vital information about how to live right for God, but also transforms us, by renewing our minds, helping us change our attitudes, values and the way we perceive life, relationships, make choices and recognize what is beneficial or not. Jesus not only wants to be our Lord and Savior, but also our friend. He wants us to share with Him what makes us happy and what hurts us, what we like to do and what we don't, but still must be done. I can say from my own personal experience that when we ask the Lord, He can even help us learn to enjoy doing what we used to hate. With the Lord, not only is life easier, but it is also much more beautiful and really worth living.
When everything around us seems to fall apart, hopes and dreams seem to crumble and the future seems darker than ever, we still have the strongest and most secure anchor in Jesus Christ. We are just travelers on this Earth and our goal is to make it to where Jesus is, in eternal heaven. There are many verses that encourage us to focus on what awaits us after we leave these physical bodies, so we can more easily overcome the challenges and difficulties of life. Jesus has taught us what to do when we go through trials, by what He told His disciples the night before His arrest and crucifixion:
We can remain calm in the midst of life's storms, only if we choose to keep our emotions in check and not let them take control. We cannot do it on our own, but we are not alone! The Father and Jesus live in us through the Holy Spirit and if we pray, He helps us. We can have true peace only if we receive it from Jesus in our spirit, through the Holy Spirit. In Galatians 5:22-23, we read of the “fruit of the Holy Spirit” in our hearts, and the list begins with “love, joy, peace.” All of these are interdependent and mutually supportive. Jesus tells us to choose not to be troubled, by having faith in Him and in Father God, and knowing that our heavenly dwelling is being prepared in the most perfect and wonderful place possible, to spend eternity with our Lord. Only through Jesus can we reach heaven. If we sincerely love the Lord and seek to keep His commandments, we can be sure that He loves us and lives in our hearts.
By quoting the Old Testament, Jesus summed up God’s Law with two commandments: “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.” (Matthew 22:37b-40). Jesus came to be love for us. He brought out the deeper perspective of the moral law given through Moses, from a list of “you shall not…,” to the law of love, which makes us to no longer want to sin. If we love God, we will not break the commandments concerning Him, and if we love our fellow man as ourselves, we will not do anything that may hurt others, and as a result, we may keep all ten commandments. True love makes us choose to please God and to treat people as we would like to be treated. (“Therefore, whatever you want men to do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.” - Matthew 7:12)
We know that we truly love God, when we choose to do what we know He prefers and pleases Him. We also know that we love our neighbor as ourselves, when we treat others as we would like to be treated. God's love penetrates the whole being of the one who truly receives it and will affect his thoughts, emotions, words, and actions. None of us have remained the same, after being touched by God’s love. The change becomes more and more obvious to those around the born-again person, in their speech, behavior, acts and decisions.
In conclusion, love is the path to happiness, blessing, and the abundant life that Jesus desires for us to have. When we love, we are kinder and more tolerant of those around us, we forgive more easily and are not so easily offended; all these are keys that open the door to happiness and fulfillment. Obedience to God does not necessarily involve love, but sincere love leads to obedience and submission to what God prefers, and we do it willingly. The more time we spend with the Lord, the more we want to do what pleases Him, and as a result we become happier and more confident in knowing that His will is always best for us. Nothing the Lord asks of us is to our detriment, even though our flesh often complains. Because we want to do God's will, we no longer want to live led by our carnal nature and its lusts, but rather by the Holy Spirit, who knows what is best for us and helps us to do what pleases God. We are called to continually choose to do the will of God, which is good, pleasing, and perfect.
And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.
Eli Cockrell and Carmen Pușcaș share thoughts about the end times and life as a Christian in the world we live in today.