By Quin Jackson
Local Outreach Student Leader
“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God – not by works, so that no one can boast.” (Ephesians 2:8-9)
When life gets chaotic or hard or just messy, I wish God would break through the clouds and tell me what to do. I don’t even care what it is that He tells me to do or where to go, I just want confirmation that I am doing what’s right and what God wants.
But where is the trust in that? What would the purpose be in reading the Bible or nurturing our relationship with the Lord if He had plans to dictate our lives, no matter what? That’s not how our relationship with God works, and though it may not feel like it sometimes, that’s not what’s best either. God wants us to know Him. He wants us to strive towards Him and to yearn for His voice and to choose what we think, based off our knowledge and experience of Him, is best and most glorifying to His name.
With that being said, we must also come to the understanding that everyone’s faith is going to look different. We are all different people, so our relationship with God is going to be different too! We are all learning different things at different times, facing our own convictions and struggles. Most of life, including our faith, is grey, not black and white.
But what is made clear in the Bible is how we are to love one another and without judgment. Matthew 7: 1-6 infamously states, “Do not judge, or you too be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”
The chapter goes on to say, “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to you brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.”
These verses remind us that we all fall short. We are all in desperate need of Jesus and His forgiveness. And thankfully, He died for each and every one of us. We are all so different and though there are specific commandments that are made extremely clear and we are even counseled on how to appropriately and lovingly keep one another accountable (Matthew 18:15-17 and Galatians 6:1-2), God is so much more interested in our heart toward Him and toward others.
The creativity and difference in people is what makes God as big as He is! Not only does God not dictate our lives, but He doesn’t create one cookie cutter type of person or even one type of believer. We can all be extremely different and love Jesus all the same. We can come from different backgrounds and cultures, embrace the liberty in nonessentials within theology and love the Lord with our whole heart.
And that’s all we are called to do! Love God and love others. A lot of life is grey, but God’s love is not. He loves you so much and there’s not a thing in the world that could make Him love you less. Let’s love God together, even if it looks different!
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