This topic has hit me pretty hard this summer and end of the school year. Judgement is a HARD habit to kick. Here's what I've been learning!
Growing up in a Christian home is a wonderful thing. From an early age we are taught right from wrong, and encouraged to grow in a relationship with God through Christ. But sometimes kids like me, who have a discerning spirt and know right from wrong, fall into the sin of judging people for their sins. For example...
I know I have fallen into a habit of judging many people who fall under these categories and many more. I tend to assume everyone knows these things are wrong, and should just make better choices. But they are people who sin just like me, and I am no better than they. They just struggle with different sin. I am learning that God loves ALL sinners. It doesn't matter WHAT the sin is, He loves them.
John 3:16 "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life."
"For God so loved the world" : God loves ALL people, despite their sin, background, upbringing, gender, and so on... He loves His followers, and those of the world just the same.
John 3: 17 "For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved."
Christ is the PERFECT example of how we should act toward people. He did not come to condemn sinners... He came to save them, and love them. He didn't spend all His time with the rich, intelligent, and clean people. He reached out to the diseased, hurting, and lowest of the lowest. He served everyone in His path.
So when do we stop judging our brothers and sisters in Christ and those who don't have a personal relationship with God? When do we start to follow Christ's example, show His love, and be His disciples?
John 17: 16-18 "They are not are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth. As you sent Me into the world, I also have sent them into the world."
Here Jesus is praying for His disciples. If you are a follower of Christ, then you are His disciple, and He is praying for you. He sent us INTO the world: to change it from the inside out, to love those who are in it, to be set apart (not "of" the world), to spread His truth. He didn't send us to judge it.
The answer is now.
Psalm 119: 105 "Your word is a lamp to my feet And a light to my path."
This message goes out mostly to my youth group and any other young Christians growing in their walk with the Lord.
How many times have you heard an adult at church say something like this:
"YOU are the future of the church." "We must raise the future of the church"?
As a part of Bible Quizzing for Summit this year, (if you don't know what Summit is, it is a part of a national program called Awana. It is a club for kids as young as 2 through high school. It is focused on helping youth grow in the Lord through memorizing verses and providing fellowship. Summit is the high school piece of the club, where teens gather to compete in different venues. One of these is Bible Quizzing which requires A LOT of studying.) I learned a bit about "church."
There are two main aspect to the idea of "church"
There is the Church. This is the Body of Christ. After Christ's death and resurrection all Christians (those who have accepted Christ as their personal savior) are placed into the Body of Christ.
There is the church. This is the church that you probably think of. A church is a group of believers gathered for worship and teaching.
Although we may only be 14, 15, 16, 17, or 18, WE are a part of the Body of Christ. WE form (or are a piece of) the local church.
"There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is above all and through all, and in you all."
We are supposed to walk in unity as ONE church. Not the church and the "future church." Once you have accepted Christ as you personal savior, YOU are a part of this body, this church.
1 Timothy 4:12
"Let no one despise your youth, but be an example to the believers in word, in conduct, in love, in spirit, in faith, in purity."
Just because you are young does not mean you can not be an active member within your church. Be an example. Be a reflection of Christ.
1 Corinthians 12: 14-20
"For in fact the body is not one member but many. If the foot should say, 'Because I am not a hand, I am not of the body,' is it therefore not of the body? And if the ear should say, 'Because I am not an eye, I am not of the body,' is it therefore not of the body? If the whole body were an eye, where would be the hearing? If the whole were hearing, where would be the smelling? But now God has set the members, each one of them, in the body just as He pleased. And if they were all one member, where would the body be? But now indeed there are many members, yet one body."
God has placed each one of us here perfectly- just as He planned. YOU are a part of the church once you have accepted Christ as your savior. You are a part of the Body of Christ.
There are many members, and each plays a different role with different talents and spiritual gifts. Just because you may not have the gift that your best friend has, does not mean you do not have valuable gifts. As a young believer YOU have spiritual gifts that can be used in the church. Maybe you can encourage the students younger than you, or even those who are older. Maybe you have an amazing testimony that can be shared with the new person sitting next to you. Maybe you are talented in music and can play for worship on Sunday. The list goes on and on.
1 Corinthians 7: 17, 23-24
"But as God has distributed to each one, as the Lord has called each one, so let him walk. And so I ordain in all the churches. You were bought at a price; do not become slaves of men. Brethren, let each one remain with God in that state in which he was called."
We were all called to different roles, and things to accomplish in life for the glory of God. YOU were bough at a PRICE. God paid for YOU. Do not believe the lies that you are not good enough, that you aren't supposed to be where you are, that you are not supposed to be in the church or youth group you are in. You are a part of the Body of Christ. God has placed you just where He wants you, to do work for His glory.
God has a plan for you. You may not see it now as you are still stuck in school and at home. But God has placed you where you are so that you can grow in Him and prepare for that awesome plan He has for you.
You ARE the church. Although you may be young and growing the Lord, the Bible tells us that all those who trust in Christ are a part of the Church.
You can make a difference for the glory of God.
Summit 2014 <3
Those of you who are reading probably already know me to some extent. I thought it would be important for you to know a little bit about me before we get going on more stuff!
To start, I am a sinner.
Romans 3:23 "for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God."
I am no where near perfect. Anyone who is close to me would probably agree that I can be quite prideful and can hold a grudge like it's nobody's business. I also whine a lot and often have a hard time holding my tongue.
BUT, God loves me anyways. He sent His only son, Jesus Christ, to die for my sins. Jesus was the perfect sacrifice for my sins.
John 3:16 "For God so loved the world, that He sent His only begotten son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life."
Because of Jesus Christ, I am saved. I have admitted that I am a sinner, asked for forgiveness, and believed in Him. I have been saved by grace through faith.
Ephesians 2:8-9 "For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast."
I now have a personal relationship with God. He has a plan for my life; one that will bring glory to Him.
Philippians 1:6 "being confident in this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ."
Philippians 2: 13 "for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure."
My name is Hannah Dorothy Duncan, and I am a sinner saved by grace. I have a personal relationship with my heavenly Father, and He has a plan for me to bring glory to Him.
I thought maybe I would write more personal stuff, but I think at the moment this is all you really need to know! Haha
Lots of Love,
Funny story. I picked this picture because I liked it... then I realized that it was quite fitting! This picture was taken in front of the barn where I accepted Christ as my savior. :)
((This photo was taken by my amazingly talented friend Shannia Aho<3 ))