Day 5: I have made a sacrifice for you | Love Letters

Sac·ri·fice: to make an offering of; to destroy, surrender, or suffer to be lost for the sake of obtaining something.

[Source]

True love means action.

It’s one thing for God to claim He is loving, but we can know His love is fact for ourselves, because He has demonstrated it to us. He has acted upon His love, and He continues to do so today.

But sin separates us from understanding God’s love.

It’s no secret that evil exists in the world today. By simply watching or reading the news, we become aware of tragedies, injustices, and horrific events every single day.

This is the state of mankind, which began when humans first rebelled against God. Romans 5:12 (ESV) states, “Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned—.”

That is, after Adam’s sin in the Garden of Eden, sin entered the world. Since then, man has continued to fall into a path of sin–evil acts that have resulted in death and destruction. Initially when we think of sin, we probably think of obvious evils such as murder, stealing, and other unjust crimes that clearly lead to death and destruction.

However, sin also includes acts that may seem justifiable at times such as lying, jealousy, etc. These “little” sins have big consequences. It’s like a domino effect–one thing leads to another. Deceiving someone can cause extreme brokenness–many relationships suffer greatly because of that. Jealousy can lead people to do some pretty messed up things. I mean, think about Cain and Abel (the sons of Adam and Eve) in Genesis 4. It was Cain’s jealousy of his brother, Abel, that led him to murder him. And just like that, sin continued from one generation to another and literally led to death.

Sin is unfortunately a part of our human nature. I know I have sinned before. We all have. Just as Adam and Eve chose to disobey God in the Garden of Eden, we often choose to do these things.

But I want to emphasize that we have a choice.

God did not create evil. He created us to have the freedom to make choices–Adam and Eve had a choice. We were not made to be robots. But once sin entered the world and evil acts could now exist, God had a plan to redeem His creation and provide justice for the effects of sin.

Again, sin separates us from God. Plain and simple–God is good, evil is bad. You can’t mix the two. Sin and the harm it causes has no place with God, and when mankind fell into sin, it broke our relationship with Him. We now had an affinity for things apart from God. We now wanted to do things our way, not His. Once again, sin has caused destruction and harm in the world. This is not God’s plan for you.

That’s why He sent Jesus Christ, His Son. We are all guilty of sin. Although Jesus did not sin, He took the blame for us, because He loved us. The wages, or the payment, of sin is death, and so Jesus had to die on the cross (Romans 6:23).

Hanging on a cross (crucifixion) was a form of execution for criminals at the time. Although Jesus is God, He is God in the flesh (aka as a man)–that means, He could feel everything we could feel, emotionally and physically. And so, as He hung on that cross, He felt every sting of pain, having His body beaten, His hands pierced, and His lungs gasping for air as He suffocated while hanging. But also as God, Jesus could rise again from the dead three days later, which would have otherwise been impossible. Fully man and fully God, Jesus could do what no man could do. Defeat the very thing that sin caused–death.

This is God’s true love for you: He sacrificed His own Son so that you could be saved from this very penalty of sin: “God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God” (1 Corinthians 5:21 NIV).

Now remember this: we have a choice. We can still choose to do things–good and bad. And so, evil still exists on earth–and there is a consequence for that. This is where God’s justice comes in. Sin, or evil, has to be punished. Hell is the punishment of sin, a place of eternal death, torment, and destruction, where we would be separated from God forever–again, because sin cannot exist where He is: “They will suffer the punishment of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might” (2 Thessalonians 1:9 ESV).

But death is not God’s will for you. This is why He has prepared a place for us in heaven. Heaven is a place with no sin, where any suffering we experience on earth will no longer exist–it’s eternal life: “He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away” (Revelation 21:4 ESV).

You do not get into heaven by simply doing good works. Jesus was the only One who gave His life to cover for you, and it’s through Him that you can secure your place in heaven. God clearly shows us how to do this in His Word: If you confess that you are a sinner and repent of your sins, believe that Jesus Christ is your Savior who died and rose again for you, God will forgive your sins (Romans 10:9).

By accepting Jesus Christ as your Savior, you can have security that you belong to God–the God who loves you and made this sacrifice for you–and you will not perish but instead, you will have eternal life. Through this decision you make, you have no condemnation, you are no longer held guilty for your sins, and you now have power in Him to overcome sin in your life. I encourage you with my entire heart to make this decision today.

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God.” (John 3:16-18 ESV)

Love Letter 5

14 days of learning God’s love. Learn about the Love Letters here.
Read Day 4

Read Day 6

 

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The One Thing I Learned as a 20 Year Old

“Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?

(Matthew 6:25-26 NKJV)


Every year on my birthday, I have a tradition where I take time to reflect on the past birthday-balloons_editand write about how I’ve changed. This year in particular is special, as I come to the end of being 20 years old! To celebrate the last two decades of my life, I wanted to do something quirky–perhaps a 20 Things I Learned at 20 kind-of-thing–but as I brainstormed ideas, I couldn’t help but notice that there was actually one important lesson I learned this past year.

One lesson that was underneath all the other ones I have learned. One that I realize God has been trying to teach me for years:

Stop trying to figure things out prematurely.

I know that I want to control things. I want to know what will happen next and choose the ending if I can. However, as I’ve grown in my faith, I’ve learned that God’s plan is always better than mine.

So, when I had this revelation, I didn’t initially understand it. I thought, Well, God, You know I just want to know Your will. No harm in that. That’s true. Wouldn’t we all want to know God’s will for our lives?

However, what He showed me through various scenarios was that my desire to know His will had turned into an inability to trust Him. Take for example, a few months ago in the spring. I had applied to three different internships, which I hoped would lead to full-time positions by next year. However, waiting to hear back from them was agonizing. I worried about which path God wanted me to take, as it would possibly affect my soon-to-be career. My attitude would constantly fluctuate, from calm to impatient to discouraged. I bounced back and forth, wondering, God, what do You want me to do? Please, give me clarity.

This discouragement brought intense doubt. I couldn’t understand why God wasn’t giving me the clarity I was asking for. I worried that I wouldn’t have any internship that summer, and consequently, my career goals would be hindered. Perhaps I wasn’t good enough for the opportunities I wanted.

Funny enough, in this particular instance, all I had to do was wait. Little did I know, in just a week or two, I would hear back from all three internships I applied to and could now make a decision. God closed and opened doors that led to the opportunity that was best for me.

Before then, I was trying to make decisions based on nothing. Nothing happened (yet), but I believed I needed to know the future immediately!

Not all situations I’ve been through have been as simple as this one. I’ve been through circumstances that have required longer turnaround times or didn’t necessarily end up with happy endings. However, what I’ve learned this year is key: walking ahead of God steals joy.

With a limited perspective, it’s easy to find ourselves trying to skip ahead of Him. Think back to Eve in the Garden of Eden. Satan tempted her to eat the forbidden fruit, using the idea that she could obtain the kind of knowledge only God had:

And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die: For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil. And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat (Genesis 3:5-6 KJV).

Eve stepped into a place where she didn’t belong, and the enemy was clearly behind it. This action not only affected her but Adam and the rest of humanity.

When we try to walk ahead of God, we make hasty decisions that lead to guilt, shame, and regret from the consequences that follow. Before the fall, Adam and Eve had no shame–as God intended: “And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed” (Genesis 2:25 KJV). However, when they walked outside God’s will–His intentions–they experienced shame, one of the consequences of sin. Immediately after Adam and Eve ate the fruit, they tried to hide from God: “And they heard the voice of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God amongst the trees of the garden” (v. 8).

This past year, because of my impatience, I was careless with my thoughts and emotions, and consequently, attempted to take matters into my own hands. Yet, by God’s grace, I didn’t act on impulse and was instead reminded that He is a God of order and timing.

The season in which we are in now has a purpose, as will the next season and the ones to follow. However, if we try to skip ahead, there are consequences. When I tried to figure out my future and rush ahead of God, the enemy capitalized on that to make me feel hopeless and discontented  in areas that I wasn’t even previously concerned about.

Do we really gain anything from trying to figure out how our lives will play out in the future? The only thing we might gain is confusion, anger, and resentment from the frustration of our circumstances. It’s essential that we must stop making problems out of nothing and wait upon the Lord.

Fortunately, God knows our shortcomings, and He graciously waits for us to come back to Him. However, if we decide we don’t want to listen, He’ll let us get our way, and our way probably won’t turn out well.

It comes down to whether we choose to trust the Lord and be stable in our circumstances, without knowing the future.

Moving forward, I know which choice I’m going to make.

Here’s to making 21 and the years to come about continuing to walk with God–with Him in the lead.


Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.

(Genesis 6:34 NKJV)