Can I give up so much to know Jesus?
From the writings of the Rev. Billy Graham
Q: I would like to believe in Jesus but so many of my friends tell me that it could be a negative experience because a person has to give up so much. I’m not sure I can do that. – S.D.
A: The same Jesus that said, “Go and sin no more,” is the same Jesus that said to His followers that He wanted them to be full of joy (John 15:11). God wants to give us that same quality of life. Living as a Christian is not a negative in a way that suggests we must give up everything we enjoy, but Jesus gives us the power to turn from sin.
While the Bible tells us what we shouldn’t do in order to live life to the fullest and in obedience to God (as in the Ten Commandments in Exodus 20), the Bible also tells us what to do, as in the beautiful message Jesus preached known as the Beatitudes (Matthew 5). When God takes away a sinful habit, He replaces it with a better way of living. When He empowers us to give up gossip or cursing, He gives us words of love and encouragement.
Those who imagine that the Christian life is negative and cheerless and dull are gravely mistaken. God never removes something from our lives without replacing it with something far better. It might not seem so at the time, but we’ll marvel at God’s wisdom and goodness. God doesn’t just want to remove the bad things in our lives; He wants to remake us from within.
The Bible says, “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind” (Romans 12:2). When we obey Him, this is good and acceptable to God in Heaven and this is what gives us the strength to live a joyful life.
(This column is based on the words and writings of the late Rev. Billy Graham.)
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