What is it that stands in your way of believing in God or else moving forward in complete trust in Him? For me, it was my own sin and disobedience that for years held me in bondage and convinced me that God wanted nothing to do with me. I thought I was not good enough for God’s work. The more I resisted and tried to hide from God, the further I descended into darkness, that is into the foolishness of a deceitful heart, and my sin became stronger and more apparent in my life. I was a wicked man to the point that I exclaimed the words of the Apostle Paul to myself: “Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst” (1 Timothy 1:15-16). For years I lived in a world of sin creating a pity party full of every excuse to resist God and live in darkness. But God grabbed hold of me at the lowest point of my life. I always knew God’s Word, as I grew up in a Christian household and went to a Christian school, but it never had meaning in my life; but that is exactly how God works. We can read and investigate His word for selfish reasons, but He alone makes the words relevant through our lives’ circumstances.

I was brought low to a valley in my life that I had never before descended. I lived the life of temporary pleasures, trading what I knew to be right for the creation rather than the Creator. When we live a pleasure-filled life, we think it is a happy one at first; and though we may find happiness for a time, even years, it will never last. It always fades away and we are brought low to a place where we feel no hope. That is precisely where God caught me. And He did not scold me or lash out at me. No! Rather He lifted me up in His loving embrace and gave me hope again. My life was filled with joy, all because Jesus is “a friend of sinners” (See Mark 2:13-17). Jesus calls a tax collector to “Follow me.” There again, he attaches no conditions, just that Levi would come with him and start a relationship with His Lord and Savior. Jesus sat and reclined with tax collectors; in those times, they were considered the most evil of men. But Jesus reminds us why He came: “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners” (Mark 2:17).

Who are the sick? Who are the sinners? Let no self-proclaimed Christian deceive you and say they are now without sin! We are all sinners and will be until Christ Jesus our Lord returns and makes us fully new! We are all sick, stung with the poisonous sting of sin. This is the simple truth! But there is hope, for Jesus came not to condemn us but to save us! (See John 3:16-17). And though he was mocked for sitting amongst sinners, I praise the name of Jesus because he loved me enough to recline with me and wait patiently for me to come to my senses and turn back to God. He showed mercy to me, the worst of sinners, and I truly believe that statement. If you want to walk with God, to be a disciple of Jesus, you must realize that you are the worst of sinners. You should see your sin alone and know these words to be true: “Against you (God), you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight…” (Psalm 51:4).

None have the right to condemn you but God alone. Jesus had the full authority to condemn you, but he came only that you might be saved! We all have a need, and that need fills us with a void in our lives. The only thing that can satisfy that need is the very thing that created that need in the first place. Let me word it another way: The only One who can satisfy that need is the One who made that need. God created us for Him, thus that longing, that desire, that void is due to the absence of Him in our lives. We need God to be fully satisfied. Ask yourself, is it worth the risk to live trying to fill a hole with worldly things when only God can satisfy your need? Give your life fully to God this day!

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  1. […] Jesus, The Friend of Sinners (joelcgillespie.wordpress.com) […]

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