We end up defining ourselves in terms of our achievement in these things. We must have them or all is lost; so they drive us to work too hard, or they fill us with terror if they are jeopardized. His active concern is for our joy and well-being. Most people love those who love them, yet God loves and seeks the good even of people who are his enemies.
But because God is good and loving, he cannot tolerate evil. The opposite of love is not anger, but indifference.
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A judge knows he cannot let his son go, for without justice no society can survive. How much less can a loving God merely ignore or suspend justice for us—who are loved, yet guilty of rebellion against his loving authority? Jesus Christ. Jesus is God himself come to Earth. He first lived a perfect life, loving God with all his heart, soul, and mind, fulfilling all human obligation to God. He lived the life you owed—a perfect record. Then, instead of receiving his deserved reward eternal life , Jesus gave his life as a sacrifice for our sins, taking the punishment and death each of us owed.
When we believe in him: 1 our sins are paid for by his death, and 2 his perfect life record is transferred to our account. So God accepts and regards us as if we have done all Christ has done. Faith is transferring your trust from your own efforts to the efforts of Christ. You were relying on other things to make you acceptable, but now you consciously begin relying on what Jesus did for your acceptance with God.
All you need is nothing. I turn from my old life of living for myself. Follow through.
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Tell a Christian friend about your commitment. Get yourself training in the basic Christian disciplines of prayer, worship, Bible study, and fellowship with other Christians. Even though you may recognize that you have needs only God can meet, you must not try to use him to achieve your own ends. It is not possible to bargain with God. Are you getting into Christianity to serve God, or to get God to serve you? Those are two opposite motives and they result in two different religions.
You must come to God because 1 you owe it to him to give him your life because he is your creator and 2 you are deeply grateful to him for sacrificing his son because he is your redeemer. On the other hand, you may feel no need or interest to know God at all. This does not mean you should stay uncommitted. If you were created by God, then you owe him your life, whether you feel like it or not. You are obligated to seek him and ask him to soften your heart, open your eyes, and enlighten you.
You need only doubt your doubts. No one can doubt everything at once — you must believe in something to doubt something else. For example, do you believe you are competent to run your own life? Where is the evidence of that? Why doubt everything but your doubts about God and your faith in yourself? Is that fair? You owe it to God to seek him. Do so. Make a list of the issues that you perceive to be barriers to your crossing the line into faith. Here is a possible set of headings:. Content issues. Do you understand the basics of the Christian message—sin, Jesus as God, sacrifice, faith?
Coherence issues. The child falls prey to the belief that they are entirely worthless. Throughout adulthood, the slightest critique can re-evoke this perspective.
Where does one get started in the Christian life?
The statements might be very true and the sentiments admirable. The problem with them is that they are vague. Vagueness is a sign of the difficulty we have around self-knowledge. Dare to name some people you envy and or admire — however grand and implausible.
The cause of vagueness here is that we get hung up on people. We focus on the person — and there are so many different things about them that are impressive.
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Another cause of vagueness is inflexibility. But what we really want to know is what else can be done with it. There are many obstacles to doing well at work , getting the kind of partner we feel we deserve; or getting on top of our financial and creative lives: competition from able rivals, not enough room at the top, prejudice, limited talents.
But some of the most serious barriers to success come from within our own heads. We suffer from problematic attitudes to success.
We are held back by anxiety around success. These anxieties mean that we are not purely seeking to succeed. Without realising it, we are also quite invested in aspects of failure.
One comes to believe that if only things go well in terms of career or money, many other problems will be solved too. Meritocratic attitudes invite the misleading thought that how you do at work is a measure of your global worth; advertising relentlessly projects the thought that psychological qualities like friendship, good relationships, serenity and a sense of fun are tied to financial prosperity and hence to career success.
These kinds of thoughts are not explicitly running through our heads but reflection on our behaviour may indicate that we act as if we believe such things as:. Once such beliefs have been made explicit they can be put to the test. For instance: other people can succeed, but not me. Is it true? Examine it like a statement in court.
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What evidence supports this? What are all the things that could be said in its favour and assess their plausibility. If you were on your deathbed, what would you regret not doing….
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The exercise is designed to tease out underlying ambitions that you are reluctant to explore. They might seem too challenging or embarrassing to admit to anyone else. When it comes to other people, we are all a bit like mind-readers. Mind-readers astonish their customers by telling them things about their lives — you have had a quarrel with your parents recently; you were close to a sibling when you were a child, but in recent years you have drifted apart and that makes you sad.
And the visitor is left wondering: how did they know this about me. It must be magic. They might note that we react defensively when mentioning our parents — as if we feel we are about to be accused of something; though this characteristic is one we are reluctant to recognise in ourselves. Mind-reading just shows up that knowledge about us is surprisingly obvious and easy for an outsider to get hold of — much easier than for us inside. Strangers are surprisingly good at guessing things about us. One consequence is that we find it difficult to grasp how other people see us.
Once we know we can try to change for the sake of getting on better with others — being a little less assertive at certain points or making an effort to ask other people questions about themselves. Get them to say 5 nice things about this person, based on very little knowledge. And list three attributes that you feel you share to some extent with this kind of creature. What do you really feel about your family?
Such thoughts are likely to remain shadowy. We have unconscious — or barely unconscious attitudes in relation to family that are liable to play serious havoc with our lives. Possibilities include:. Where is everyone standing? Is it in good shape? Does it have a door? We may not be aware of the extent to which we assign problems in our lives to our parents. Here we are looking for an ego response: how they hurt me, the mistakes they made etc.