“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”
Matthew 11:28–30 The Message
– NOVEMBER 15 –
ONE ENCOUNTER WITH HIS LOVE
Many people harbor the misconception that those who are constantly partying, drinking, getting high, and sleeping around are having the time of their lives. Hollywood and the secular media have deified and glamorized the party lifestyle as cool and carefree. They have sold the lie that the YOLO life—the you-only-live-once, consequence-free existence—is awesome.
But if you peel back the curtains, you see just how deeply unhappy and depressed these people entangled in a sinful lifestyle are. Our teenagers and youths are being bombarded with these images on their social media channels, in movies, and on television shows, where sinful lifestyles are not only tolerated but also celebrated. Our kids are faced with it daily in school and on their mobile devices.
How have many churches responded? By saying, “We have to preach more on the law of Moses, on repentance, and on character.” But do you know what this generation hears when churches preach on those things?
One of the testimonies I received from a sister named Melissa, who was struggling with a destructive lifestyle of sin, gives us a pretty good sense of what young people actually hear and what it made her believe: “I didn’t think of going to God and church because people I knew would tell me, ‘You’re going to go to hell because of your choices and how you’re living. God’s angry with you. He’s disgusted with you and He’s not going to bless you.’ Because this was what I constantly heard, this was what I believed about God, and I thought there was no way I could come to Him.”
Is there any wonder why some churches are losing the next generation? Young people hear about an angry and capricious God Who is just looking for an opportunity to club them with a big stick and send them to an eternal furnace of fiery damnation. The church proudly proclaims, “We love the sinner but hate the sin.” But in reality, all that those who are struggling with sinful lifestyles hear is, “WE HATE THE SIN,” and they stay away from the church because they understandably equate that with “WE HATE YOU.” That, my friend, is simply not the gospel.
The gospel is our beloved Lord Jesus reaching out to the woman at the well who had had five husbands and was cohabiting with another man out of wedlock. The gospel is our Lord Jesus rescuing the woman caught in adultery from the religious mob that wanted to exercise its legal right to brutally bludgeon her to death with rocks. When you observe our Lord Jesus, He was always comfortable with those who were tangled up in sin, so much so that the religious leaders mocked Him and called Him a friend of sinners (Matt. 11:19). He was undeterred by His critics, and just one encounter with His love and grace caused sinners to be transformed forever from the inside out.
My dear friend, that’s the grace revolution that we have been talking about throughout this book. Our Lord never endorsed people’s sinful lifestyles; He simply awakened them to His deep and personal love for them, and once they experienced His love, they had the power to walk out of the prison of sin, addiction, and bondage. The woman at the well became an evangelist in her city and many came to know Jesus because of her. The woman caught in adultery walked away with the gift of no condemnation and the power to sin no more. The religious actively shunned the sinner; Jesus actively pursued the sinner.
God’s glorious grace opens the prison doors for those trapped in sin and bondage. He has given you the power to walk out freely today. Welcome His deep love for you and you will be set free!
This devotional is taken from the book Glorious Grace—100 Daily Readings from Grace Revolution.