Today’s post is the first in a series promoting the new book Live Second: 365 Ways to Make Jesus First by Doug Bender. It is part of the I Am Second movement, and I am thrilled to join a number of other bloggers from all over the world in writing posts for the launch of the book this week.
For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. They are justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.
Everyone sins. You, me, the pastor (even him)…we are all guilty. That is the world we are born into because of the decisions made by Adam and Eve. No matter how good we are, we will still sin. There is no way to avoid it. It is in our very nature. Paul tells us clearly in Romans that “all have sinned”.
While reading the daily selections in Live Second this week I learned all about struggles people face, including addictions, poverty, violence, divorce…the list goes on. Many of these struggles are the result of some unfortunate circumstance. Most, however, can be traced back to some sin (or series of sins) committed. The addict made the decision to sin by putting the drugs into his body. An act of rage (sin) resulted in committing some crime (sin). Lust (sin) led to adultery (sin), which destroyed a marriage through divorce. We all have sinned and fall short of God’s glory.
But, there is good news! Paul goes on in the very next verse to tell us that we are “justified…by His grace“. Do you understand what that means? Grace is something given, but is undeserved. What we deserve is death according to Romans 6:23, but that verse goes on to say that the “gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ”. Did you catch that? The gift (God’s grace)…something we do not deserve but are given freely. WOW!
Anyone who has followed me for any length of time knows my struggle over the past couple of years. Money issues…career changes…divorce. My own poor decisions (sins) led to many of the issues I have faced. Some were, unfortunately, forced upon me. (You’ll learn more as the posts for Live Second continue this week.) Because of everything I have faced in recent years, my faith in and dependence on Christ has grown. I have learned the hard way that I am not in control…He is. I have also learned that Paul was correct when he said,
I am able to do all things through Him who strengthens me.
Despite my past sins, Jesus Christ has freely given me something I do not deserve…His grace and the gift of eternity with Him. No matter what I do (and I know that I will sin daily), I know that I am forgiven with an undeserved, supernatural forgiveness and love.
SO ARE YOU!!
As I walk through these posts this week I hope to share with you some of my story. My struggles in relationships, success and my own identity. This is a process for me, but daily I am improving and trusting Him more. I know that I can do all things as long as I depend on Him and His strength…not mine. Only through the undeserved grace shown to me by Jesus Christ am I able to stand.
My name is Mike, and I am second.