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October 2019

Volume 1

Jesus Is Enough

October 31, 2019 • October 31, 2019 • Cara Campbell

When you feel like you don’t measure up...Jesus is enough. When you feel like no one sees you...Jesus is enough. When you feel like you’re alone...Jesus is enough. When the world tells you to be more and do more...Jesus is enough. When you’re tired, worn, and weak...Jesus is enough. When life feels heavy and hard...Jesus is enough. When the pressure is mounting...Jesus is enough. When your worry consumes...Jesus is enough. When guilt and shame creep in...Jesus is enough. When life feels uncertain...Jesus is enough. When you don’t feel like enough...Jesus is enough. Jesus is enough. And the guilt and shame we carry? They were nailed to the cross, paid for, removed—our sin forgiven and remembered no more. In Christ, we are free from bondage, free from having to strive for or win His love, free forever and given abundant life—life in Jesus (John 10:10). He fills in our cracks, using our weaknesses to show His strength. He faithfully walks beside us in trials. He guides us in uncertainty. He allows us to lay our burdens on Him rather than carry them alone. All because of His incredible love for us, a love that led Him to die on the cross for us—and to rise again—so that we could live forever with Him. Everything we need is in Him. Jesus is enough. • Reread today’s Bible verses. Why is Jesus enough? • How does knowing Jesus is enough change your perspective on what’s happening in your life? He [Jesus] has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Most gladly therefore I will rather glory in my weaknesses, that the power of Christ may rest on me. 2 Corinthians 12:9 (WEB)

Should Christians Celebrate Halloween?

October 30, 2019 • October 30, 2019 • Taylor Eising

Halloween can be a controversial time for Christians. While some view Halloween as a celebration of all that is dark, demonic, and evil, others view it as a community-building opportunity to share Jesus with their neighbors. Both sides have valid points, so which one should we pick? Halloween originated as a pagan holiday, believed to be a day when spirits came to earth to wreak havoc. To avoid being haunted, people would disguise themselves so that the spirits wouldn’t recognize them. Halloween has long been linked with witchcraft, evil spirits, and death, so naturally some Christians feel that we should avoid it. Other Christians, however, view modern-day Halloween as so far distanced from its pagan roots that it has turned into a harmless night of fun and fellowship. They note that many Christmas and Easter traditions have pagan roots too, but Christians now use these celebrations to glorify God. So, they say, “Why not do the same with Halloween?” They use Halloween as a way to connect with neighbors that they rarely see and tell them about Jesus. So who is right? Well, probably both. In today’s reading, Paul is discussing a controversial issue in the Corinthian church: Is it okay to eat meat that has been sacrificed to an idol? Basically, Paul says, “Well, it’s up to you. You are free in Christ, so idols hold no power over you. Eat if you want, but watch those around you. Are you causing a fellow believer to stumble? If so, then don’t eat. It’s not worth it.” This can also be applied to Halloween. If your family celebrates Halloween, take full advantage of the opportunity to reach out to others, but don’t make other Christians feel bad because they choose not to celebrate. And if your family doesn’t celebrate Halloween, don’t look down on those who do celebrate. The most important thing is to love one another in Christ even when we disagree. • Do you celebrate Halloween? Why or why not? How can Christians demonstrate love to one another even while discussing topics they disagree on? • Why is it important to know your reasons for practicing the things you do (or don’t do)? With all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love. Ephesians 4:2 (CSB)

Cut and Polished

October 29, 2019 • October 29, 2019 • Sophia Grogg

When you were younger, did you ever think gemstones came out of the ground perfectly cut and polished? I did. It shocked a younger me to learn that, when gems are mined, they come out looking like small, lumpy rocks— dusted with grime and seemingly fit to be thrown away. People are like this too. We’re covered from head to toe with the dirt and grime of sin. And, though many of us may appear clean on the outside, we’re all equally grimy deep down. From the beginning of your life, the dust of the earth covers you, and there is no going back or erasing the sin and brokenness. But there is a way forward. Jesus came to earth to save us: to turn thieves, traitors, and liars into emeralds, rubies, and sapphires. He removes us from the ground, gently picking away at the sin we are encased in. Then He cleanses us, renewing our body, soul, and mind so we can praise Him (Romans 12:1-2)! He shapes us into His children, and the journey, though slow and difficult, transforms us. In Christ through the power of His Holy Spirit, we become more precious than the largest diamond ever found. Clothed in His righteousness, we become clean in our hearts, pure in our minds, and polished from our baby toes to the tops of our unruly heads of hair—looking forward to the day when we see Christ face-to-face, when we will be completely free from sin and death. In the meantime, we rejoice that we are saved through faith in Jesus, but we shouldn’t assume our lives will be easy. As Christians, we will face persecution and other trials. When all of it seems unbearable, we always have God to turn to: He is our expert craftsman, the One who dug us out of sin and cleansed us, making us new creations in Him (2 Corinthians 5:17). As you go through life, remember: you are God’s gem—immeasurably precious in His sight. • What stuck out to you about today’s reading? • If you know Christ as your Lord and Savior, He promises to complete the work of saving you from sin and death (Philippians 1:6). When you fail, how can this promise encourage you? • Who is a trusted Christian in your life that you can talk to about what it means to know Jesus? I rejoice greatly in the Lord, I exult in my God; for he has clothed me with the garments of salvation and wrapped me in a robe of righteousness, as a groom wears a turban and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels. Isaiah 61:10 (CSB)

It's Okay to Be Single

October 28, 2019 • October 28, 2019 • Christiana Cudworth

You know that cute couple who’s always posting photos of how much fun they’re having together and always raving about one another? Ever been envious of them? It can feel really lonely to be the person who is still single when your friends are all dating. The Bible has good news: it’s okay to be single! In fact, there are times when it can be better than being in a relationship. In 1 Corinthians 7:7, the apostle Paul writes, “But I wish everyone were single, just as I am.” Why on earth does he say that? Think of that couple again. They spend a lot of time thinking about each another, don’t they? Some of that is good, but the trouble begins when we’re so busy thinking about making others happy that we don’t think about making God happy. Simply put, it can be tempting to place our identity in our relationship status instead of in Jesus. So, is it okay to date and get married? Absolutely. In that same chapter in 1 Corinthians, Paul makes it clear that it’s not a sin to get married and that Christian marriage is one good way people can serve God. What’s important is that you think honestly about whether your romantic relationship helps you serve God better. Do you help each other grow deeper in your relationships with Christ? Are you able to serve each other, sharing tasks and burdens and so accomplish more? Those are good reasons to date and get married. But if you are in a relationship just to make you happy, that relationship may be becoming your identity instead of your relationship with God. If you’re single, you can be content, eagerly looking for opportunities to serve God and only dating if it better serves Him. Whatever your relationship status, seek to glorify Christ above all else (1 Corinthians 10:31). • As Christians, we’re part of God’s family (Romans 8:16-18). Married or single, we are never alone because we have Jesus and the community of His people. Who in your church has shown Christ’s love to you? How can you reach out to show Jesus’ love to the people in your church? • What can people who are in romantic relationships do (or not do) to make single people feel less left out or lonely? But I wish everyone were single, just as I am. Yet each person has a special gift from God, of one kind or another. 1 Corinthians 7:7 (NLT)

A Prison Called Self

October 27, 2019 • October 27, 2019 • Jonathan Baker

The walls of Andrew’s cell were closing in on him. Only this time, it was no figure of speech. He had heard of other prisoners being crushed by their prison cells, and it terrified him. Since he was a boy, Andrew had never known anything but the Prison of Self. He had been born there, along with everyone else who comes into this world. From ancient times, this dungeon had housed countless people, young and old, rich and poor. But now, for Andrew at least, time had run out. Andrew screamed for help as he huddled in the middle of the shrinking chamber. From experience, he knew the walls were soundproof, so it was useless to call for aid. He was truly alone. Andrew began to picture the moment when the walls squeezed together for the last time, but it was too horrible to imagine. He tried the door again, but it was locked and wouldn’t budge. Before this, Andrew had lived in three different sections of the Prison of Self. He began in the block called Self-Righteousness. Considering himself a good person, he refused to admit that he’d ever done wrong. In his pride, he hated correction and considered it weak to be meek or humble. But after a while, he grew tired of always acting good and transferred to the ward of Self-Indulgence. That block had large, beautiful rooms filled with luxuries, modern conveniences, and entertainment of all kinds. For a time, Andrew enjoyed himself there but soon found that his lavish room was still a prison cell. Every morning, he got up to a day of hard labor, for Self is a terrible master. And every night, he returned to the confines of his cell. Now he was in his third and final cell, Self-Pity—dimly lit and depressing. And it was starting to crush him. Would it all end like this? Did nobody care? In desperation, Andrew recalled that a man named Jesus often walked the prison halls, offering freedom. Many convicts rejected Him in mocking unbelief, but now Jesus was Andrew’s only hope. “Jesus! Jesus, save me!” he cried out. The ceiling disappeared, and a hand reached down. Andrew grabbed it and was pulled out just as the walls closed with a crash. Beyond the borders of Self lies a vast country with wide plains, mighty rushing rivers, and peaceful woodlands. It is the country of the Christ-life, and all who have been rescued from Self may freely enjoy this good land. Andrew has. • Read Proverbs 29:25 and 1 Timothy 6:9. What are some ways that living for Self can make you a prisoner? • Which prison cell did you relate to the most: Self-Righteousness, Self-Indulgence, or Self-Pity? • Read Romans 6:6-7 and 8:2. How does living through Christ set you free? Therefore if the Son [Jesus] makes you free, you shall be free indeed. John 8:36 (NKJV)

Letting Go of Control

October 26, 2019 • October 26, 2019 • Emily Saxe

Imagine you could take a peek into your future. What would you choose to see? Your future college or job? If or when you’ll marry? Sometimes I wish God would tell us what our futures hold. If you’re anything like me, then you like the control of knowing what’s about to happen! That control can grab hold of more than just our desires to know the future. We can want to control our friendships, our schedules, our success in the classroom, our relationship with our parents, and more. But here’s the tough truth about trying to be in control: that desire means we don’t fully trust that God is in control. Or maybe we just don’t trust Him to make the right decision. We might not say that out loud, but that’s ultimately what our desire for control means. When we don’t trust God, we can become consumed with the worry of what might happen. But Jesus didn’t die on the cross and rise again only for us to not trust in His promises! Thankfully, God gives us grace in the midst of our control issues. He tells us not to worry about what might happen. He cares about us more deeply than we’ll ever know, and He is working through everything we experience to help us become more like Him. Whatever you desire to control, know that God has your back. He’s in control, and He doesn’t want you to worry. We may not know all the details about the future, but we know God loves us enough to die for us and to promise us eternal life now and forever. He is Someone we can trust even in the unknown. • What aspects of your life do you try to control? • Read Psalm 107:1 and 147:5. How does knowing that God is good and all-knowing affect the way you view the things you want to control? Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7 (NLT)

Alive in Christ (Part 2)

October 25, 2019 • October 25, 2019 • Taylor Eising

There’s nothing worse than feeling stuck in an endless cycle of sin. These sin cycles steal our life, slowly consuming us until we don’t even recognize ourselves. Pornography is a sin that is very difficult to give up, feeding the cycle of frustration and self-hatred. Thankfully, there is One who can break that cycle. Jesus helps you break the power of pornography, or any sin, in a few ways. First, He offers forgiveness to those who know Him. Because Jesus lived a perfect life—then took our sins upon Himself when He died on the cross—He removed God’s righteous wrath from us and gave us His righteousness before God. In other words, when God looks at us, He doesn’t see our sin. He sees Jesus’ perfection. How does that help break our sinful patterns? By killing our self-hatred. Yes, it is right to mourn sin: it’s okay to be frustrated with yourself and to bring those frustrations to God. But that doesn’t mean you have to live there. Jesus came to bring an end to that mourning. By recognizing that Jesus has forgiven us and thanking Him for His incredible grace, we start focusing on God’s goodness instead of on our own sins. Another tool God gives us is Jesus’ resurrection. God’s power raised Jesus from the dead, and that same power lives in you if you know Jesus. God’s power is the only way to defeat sin. Ask Him to remind you that His Holy Spirit lives in you and can defeat sin for you. You can also know that, because of Jesus’ resurrection, you will one day be resurrected from the dead, free of sin and brokenness forever. Lastly, Jesus gives us community. Find a trusted Christian you can confess your sin struggles to and ask them to keep you accountable. Ask them to remind you of Jesus’ forgiveness and His power that lives in you. God is stronger than any sin, and He can bring healing. • What sin cycle do you struggle with? Who can you talk to about it? How does Jesus help you break it? • How can you help your friends who are stuck in a sin cycle? • What does Jesus’ forgiveness mean for your everyday life? The Spirit of God, who raised Jesus from the dead, lives in you. And just as God raised Christ Jesus from the dead, he will give life to your mortal bodies by this same Spirit living within you. Romans 8:11 (NLT)

Dead to Sin (Part 1)

October 24, 2019 • October 24, 2019 • Taylor Eising

Most people do not realize how harmful pornography is. For many, porn consumption is considered a normal part of adolescence, and some say that it is a healthy expression of sexuality. And God wants you to be healthy, right? Well, yes, He does. And that’s exactly why He warns us in the Bible that lust, in any context, is a sin. Whenever we lust after a person, we are dehumanizing somebody who has been made in God’s image. We are taking that person and, in our minds, using them for our own gain instead of viewing them with selfless love and honoring that person as an image-bearer of God. You may not know this, but porn consumption fuels the sex trafficking industry. There is a good chance that the people in those pictures or videos did not consent to that lifestyle; they were likely threatened, coerced, or otherwise forced into producing pornographic content. Even if the actors in some content did consent, viewing porn from any producer supports the entire industry, including those who engage in sex trafficking. The good news is that Jesus lived a sinless life for us, despite the temptations He felt (Hebrews 4:14-16). He died on the cross to take away our sin and was resurrected from the dead to give us victory over sin and death. If you or someone you know is struggling with porn, know that you have the power of Jesus’ resurrection living inside you, and He is there to help you fight sin every step of the way—even when you fall. All your sins—past, present, and future— are forgiven in Christ. Lean into His incredible, ridiculous grace. • If you struggle with lust, who is a trusted Christian in your life you can talk to about it? If you don’t struggle with this temptation, how can you support your friends who do? • In Christ, we are dead to sin (Romans 6). How does this affect the way we battle temptation? • What are some ways you can pray for those involved in sex trafficking? And some of you used to be like this. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God. 1 Corinthians 6:11 (CSB)

But She Was My Friend

October 23, 2019 • October 23, 2019 • Emily Saxe

Friends come and go, but family is forever.” My mom must have repeated this phrase hundreds of times during my teen years. Yet even with those words seared into my brain, it didn’t hurt any less when friends left my life. The most recent time was probably the most painful. My best friend didn’t really care about hanging out with me anymore. She didn’t return my texts, and I would see picture after picture on social media of her spending time with other friends. I began to think maybe I was the problem. Then I remembered what my mom used to say. Friends do come and go. But family is forever. Not just any family though—our families on earth can disappoint us and leave us too. I’m talking about our family with God. You see, when Jesus died on the cross to save us from sin and when He rose from the grave, God invited us into His family. When we put our faith in Christ, we become God’s children! And God will never leave us. He’s adopted us, and He promises we will live forever with Him and our family in Christ (Revelation 21:1-5). It’s important to find friends who will encourage you to be more like Christ. But don’t place your identity in who wants to be your friend or who has decided not to be your friend anymore. Jesus is our eternal Friend; He’s our Brother. He died for us, and He’s promised He will never abandon us (Hebrews 13:5-8). So, yes, friends come and go. But Jesus’ commitment to you is forever. • Have you ever experienced a friend walking away from your life? How did you respond? • If you know Christ, you’re a part of God’s family. How does this truth affect your life and relationships? How can you remember that you are a part of God’s family and that God will never abandon you? But to all who did receive him [Jesus], he gave them the right to be children of God, to those who believe in his name. John 1:12 (CSB)

No Greater Love

October 22, 2019 • October 22, 2019 • Anita Seavey

Gunshots—they were distant, but the sound jolted through Kor’s body like bolts of lightning. He knew with every shot, another of his comrades could fall. Crack! His friend Finn was going to be a doctor. Crack! Mika dreamed of being a professional athlete. Crack! Zade just wanted to get home. In the trenches, Kor always thought about how many were lost, praying that he wouldn’t be next. “Fight the good fight, Kor,” his dad had said before boarding the military jet. “There is no greater love...” his mother had said tearfully when they got the news that Dad wouldn’t be coming home. “You’re my hero,” his little brother had declared the first time Kor tried on his uniform. “You know,” Kor had answered, “I’m fighting for lives that have already been saved by someone else. Jesus is the real hero.” Kor froze at the memory. Without Christ, there was no hope. He glanced at the others around him, crouched in the shadow of the trenches. Did Finn, Mika, and Zade know? Suddenly, from somewhere in the darkness, an object whistled through the air and hit the dirt with a thud: a grenade. Kor’s heart skipped a beat as he stared at the weapon about to destroy a trench full of soldiers. The memories swirled around him like a blur of silver stars in the blackness: “Fight the good fight.” “There is no greater love...” “You’re my hero.” Then he thought of a night long ago, of dropping to his knees, asking for forgiveness, and putting his trust in Christ. “Is Jesus your hero?” his little brother had asked. Kor stood and began to run. “You bet.” Others needed to know Him. They needed what Kor already had. He jumped through the air, crossing the last few paces in a moment. They needed Hope. He threw himself onto the grenade. An explosion shook the ground. • Read Romans 5:8. How did Kor’s sacrifice in today’s reading point to Jesus’ sacrifice for us? How does Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross show His love for us? • Did you know that Christ gave His life to save yours from sin and death? Through His life, death, and resurrection, Jesus showed us the greatest kind of love. Who is a trusted Christian you can talk to about Jesus' sacrifice? There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. John 15:13 (NLT)

What to Do When You Doubt

October 21, 2019 • October 21, 2019 • Christiana Cudworth

We all have doubts and questions from time to time. Does God exist? Are heaven and hell real? Does the Bible actually teach what our parents and teachers say it does? Did Jesus really rise from the dead? Maybe it’s questions from a friend that make us doubt. Maybe it’s the media, or a book, or a teacher. Or maybe it’s just our own wondering hearts. Let me assure you: it’s absolutely okay to doubt. It can even be good! Faith is not blind belief in what someone tells us. Instead, it’s a trusting reliance on a God that we know. Doubts can help us realize what we still need to learn...and what we don’t yet understand. That’s a healthy part of Christian life. It wouldn’t be healthy, though, if we just ignored our doubts, or if we gave in to them. We have to do something about them. We have to answer them. How? The way we answer any question: with thought and research. Prayer, also, is important. Ask God to make the answers clear to you so that you can know Him better. If you can’t come up with reasons why you know God exists, maybe it’s time to ask your parents for their reasons, ask a pastor, or find a book in the library by a Christian apologetics (defense of faith) expert. If you’re wondering whether something you’ve been taught is truly right, be like the Bereans in today’s reading: pick up God’s Word, the Bible, and find out what God has to say! Easy? Certainly not always. But if we don’t challenge ourselves, if we don’t ask tough questions and search for tough answers, we’ll never grow. And if we never grow, we can never reach our full potential. God can use our questions—and the things we learn from them—to equip us to accomplish the missions He has for us in His kingdom! • What doubts do you have about your faith? Do some topics make you uncomfortable? • Who could you ask for help when you have questions? • Is it hard to admit that you don’t have all the answers? How can you help your friends feel less awkward about dealing with honest doubts? Test all things; hold fast what is good. 1 Thessalonians 5:21 (NKJV)

Conformed to Christ

October 20, 2019 • October 20, 2019 • Cheryl Elton

In recent years, our local high school has turned out two star basketball players. One, since graduating, has gone on to play in the NBA. The other, a senior, led the team to winning the state title this year. Yet when the coach is interviewed, he never boasts about one individual player, but rather, he praises the efforts of the whole team. “No achievement is reached by a sole player. It takes the skill and synergy of the entire team,” he says. Synergy occurs when combined efforts yield a greater result than the sum of individual parts, or in this case, players. The word comes from the Greek sunergeo, meaning “to work together.” It’s used in a commonly quoted verse of Scripture, Romans 8:28: “And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.” In the context of suffering, the apostle Paul wants the church to know that although God doesn’t cause their suffering, He will in all things—the seemingly good and bad—be working to bring to pass His desired plan for their ultimate good. We might easily think “good” refers to success, health, or happiness. But the next verse sheds further light: “For God knew his people in advance, and he chose them to become like his Son.” In every challenge or difficulty we face, we can be confident that God is working for our good by making us more and more like Jesus—the One who understands all our struggles and heartaches, our joys and triumphs. We can draw near to Him, trusting that He is working in all our circumstances for our good and His glory and kingdom purposes. In Christ, God shapes our lives to become more like His Son, a process that will one day be complete when we see Him face-to-face (2 Corinthians 3:18; 1 John 3:2). • When have you worked together with others to accomplish a goal or complete a task? • Can you recall a challenging circumstance in your life in which you saw God working? • Have you experienced a difficult time that God used to make you become more like Jesus? And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them. Romans 8:28 (NLT)

When Home Hurts

October 19, 2019 • October 19, 2019 • Alissa Griffin

I’ll never forget the first time I saw it: the foreclosure notice tacked to the front door. At fifteen, I was old enough to understand its meaning. The bank was coming to take our house away. I’d experienced enough under its roof to know that this outcome was inevitable. We were already living without heat or hot water, and our house was falling into disrepair. My father had a great job, but my mother had squandered everything and then some, and now there was nothing left. It would be another ten years before the house was finally gone, but that notice was the perfect example of just how unstable my home life was. Perhaps you can relate because your parents are divorced and you move back and forth between homes. Maybe you’re in foster care and your home is ever changing. Maybe you experience poverty, home insecurity, or abuse. Or maybe it’s something else. Safe, secure homes are good, good things. God created us with needs, and it’s right to desire to have them met. During His earthly ministry, Jesus provided for people through things like food and bodily healing, as well as through sharing the good, hope-filled news of His kingdom with them. We are called to serve those who are struggling and marginalized just as He did. But, if we put our ultimate hope in anything other than Christ, we will always come up empty. Home is supposed to be a place of refuge, and when it’s not, it can make you feel isolated, embarrassed, and lost. Fortunately, though, the Bible tells us that, even when our home is uncertain, broken, or nonexistent, we can find hope and comfort in God. He offers us the kind of security that no earthly dwelling can. When we build our understanding of home upon His foundation, we have something more certain than anything this world can provide. • Reread Matthew 7:24-27. What does Jesus mean when He talks about the wise and foolish builders? What kind of foundation does He want us to build our hope and lives upon? • What are we promised in Revelation 21:1-4? How does that compare to our present reality? • If you are experiencing home insecurity or family instability, who is a trusted friend in your life you can talk to about it? Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever. Hebrews 13:8 (CSB)

Leftovers

October 18, 2019 • October 18, 2019 • Melissa Yeagle

Do you like leftovers? I love them. I would prefer to take leftovers as my lunch over a sandwich any day! When I was growing up, I remember my grandmother would designate one day of the week to have “must-go” casserole for supper. That meant that she would take all the leftovers from the week before and make some sort of casserole—it was always something unique. Ultimately, I’m thankful for leftovers because it means that my family has more than enough to eat. The amazing thing about today’s Scripture passage is that there were leftovers. Jesus was feeding over five thousand people with just five loaves of bread and two fish. There shouldn’t have been any leftovers at all. In fact, there should have been several thousand people who didn’t get anything to eat. Instead, there ended up being more food than what Jesus started out with—that day was overflowing with leftovers. God can do that in the lives of His people too. He can take a sinner who has lots of bitterness, anger, and unforgiveness and fill them with His overflowing love—so much so that they have leftover love to give to others. In Christ, we can share His leftover love in any situation, showing the good news of Jesus through our words and actions. • Why should we show love to others (1 John 4:19)? • Has anyone in your life shown God’s love to you? • How can you show God’s love to others in your life? • If you have questions about God's love for you, who is a trusted Christian in your life you can talk with? Dear friends, let us love one another, because love is from God, and everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. 1 John 4:7 (CSB)

How Do I Love God?

October 17, 2019 • October 17, 2019 • Taylor Eising

We are told over and over again: “Love the Lord your God,” but what does that mean? How do we do that? Do we sit there and try to create positive emotions toward God and maintain that happy feeling for Him all the time? No, that’s ridiculous. While feelings are an important part of love, actions and choices are what define and sustain it. Those actions are going to be different for every person that we love, but the way we all demonstrate our love for God is by obeying His good commands. The problem is, none of us can do that perfectly. We all miss the mark. We fail to love God as He deserves to be loved. But the good news is Jesus already did it for us! He obeyed God perfectly during His life on earth, died to take our sins upon Himself and to give us His righteousness before God, and rose from the dead to defeat Satan, sin, and death. He has also given the Holy Spirit to those who know Him, which helps us to love God by obeying Him. Loving God doesn’t mean you can’t share feelings of anger or fear with Him. Quite the opposite! There are many examples in the Psalms of people calling out to God in anger and frustration, but that doesn’t mean they failed to love Him in those moments. The psalmists always ended with a reminder of how good God is. By doing so, they were continuing to obey God and love Him even in their anger. When God reminds me of what He has done for me through Jesus, it leads me to love Him more and more. The Holy Spirit works in me to help me obey Him out of love and gratitude, not out of pride or shame. Because God loves us, He gave us commands that reflect His goodness. And because of what He does in us and for us, we can love Him by obeying those good commands. • When do you struggle to love God? What are some ways that you can ask Him to help you in those moments? • How does God’s love for us help us to love Him more? If you love me, you will keep my commands. John 14:15 (CSB)

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