Faith

If.

It’s a simple word, but it’s the basis for a relationship with Jesus. Because if we don’t choose to love Him by walking in His ways instead of our own, if we don’t surrender our whole selves daily to His plan for how to live, if we don’t listen for or respond to His voice and obey, then what can we say in response to Jesus’ simple words?

“If you love Me, keep my commandments.” (John 14:15)

If.

Jesus Christ is Immanuel, God with us.

Not a myth…

Not a legend…

Not a band-aid…

Not another historical figure…

Or another prophet…

Not a liar…

Not just a really good man or ideal…

But God. The God Who crossed every obstacle to be with us. (Isaiah 7:14-16; Matthew 1:18-24)

What does Jesus mean for us?

God the Father sent Jesus, His only Son, to rescue us from the path of choosing our own way apart from Him (sin) and restore our broken relationship with God, the One Who gives life to everything. And since all of us have done this at one time or another, then all of us have sinned and deserve the penalty for sin. (1 John 1:8-10; Romans 3:23; 6:23)

But through faith in Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection, we have the opportunity to be completely transformed, to become God’s sons and daughters instead of strangers, to turn into reconcilers instead of haters, to live in contentment instead of despair, to become whole… clean… new in Him.

Exactly the way God designed us to live.

“Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me.” –Jesus (John 15:4)

And through Jesus alone, we can live by the power of God’s Holy Spirit, Whom He freely gives to all of His children (Luke 11:9-13). The Spirit of God shows us how to live with a heart after God the Father and changes us inside so we have the ability and desire to live in full obedience to His ways rather than choosing our own. We don’t have to work hard trying to please God on our own. God gives us amazing help!

So it all comes back to “if.”

If we believe in and call on Jesus Christ, God’s chosen Way back to the Father, the only One Who can save us, the perfect One Who never sinned but took upon Himself the punishment for our sin that we deserved to free us… (Romans 3:23-26; 2 Corinthians 5:21; Romans 10:13; John 8:23-24)

If we confess our sin and broken way of consistently choosing and relying on our own way of living instead of God’s… (1 John 1:5-10; Romans 10:8-11)

If we surrender our lives to Him to do as He chooses, and give Him control of every part of our lives… (John 3:31-36; Ephesians 4:17-24; Luke 14:27-30)

If we obey Him and live by the power of His Spirit instead of trying (and trying again) in our own strength… (John 8:31-32; Romans 8:1-14; 3:27-28; Ephesians 2:8-10)

If we follow Him wherever He leads, pursuing His heart and voice the rest of our days… (John 10:27-30; Matthew 4:19-20; Luke 6:46-49)

If.

Yes, it really is that black and white. And the choice is yours to make (Mark 8:34-38; Deuteronomy 30:19-20; Joshua 24:15).

Because He forces no one to follow… only to choose.

So what will you choose to do?

It’s a question that only you can answer. And now is the perfect time to decide.

Choose Him today.

He’s waiting for you right now.

Because as He says in His Word, God is gracious, compassionate, just, slow to anger, and loves us dearly (Psalm 103:8-14).

And there’s not a single person on this planet too…

far gone.
foolish.
lost.
cool.
messed up.
rich.
poor.
stupid.
late.
smart.
awkward.
hopeless.
powerful.
pretty.

broken.

Whatever word you use to fill in the blank, He’s ready and waiting for you. All He asks is that you yield your way for His and come. Hear His gentle, clear invitation to you…

“Come to Me…” –Jesus (Matthew 11:28-30)

If you want to follow Him, simply tell Him in faith right now:

Jesus, I believe that You are God with us, the Only perfect sacrifice sent by God the Father to save all of us from our sin. I am a sinner who constantly chooses my own way instead of Yours, and I know, that is not how You want me to live.

Like You say in Your Word, Jesus, “If we confess our sins, You are faithful and just to forgive our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” I believe what You say and that You forgive everyone who comes at Your invitation. So now I ask, please forgive me for my sin against You. I want to stop living my own way and start living like You want me to from now on. Show me how to follow You as my God, to obey You as the new Master of my life, and to love You and all You say as the Lover and Savior of my soul. I trust You, and I ask for Your grace to choose You and follow Your way no matter where You lead me every day of my life. Thank You for forgiving me, making me Your child, and putting your Holy Spirit within me so that I can be made new from the inside out. Amen.

Now, what next?

If you’re still not sure that God is real

You can ask Him right now to help you see if He is or not. God doesn’t want anyone blindly following Him, but He invites us to “taste and see that the Lord is good” (Psalm 34:8). Take a step toward Him today.

If you will believe that He’ll respond, then tell Him now:

“God, I’m not sure if You are real or that You are even Who You say You are. But I hear You say that we can ‘taste and see that You are good.’ So if You are real, I need help to see it. Would you please show me? And please help me to notice when You do. Amen.”

I’m praying that God will meet you in a way that leaves no doubt in your mind that He loves you and wants you to be in relationship with Him. God is so big and so incredible – I know He’ll amaze you with how specific and personal His response to you will be.