Aug 04 2011
On Giving Up: A Response to a 16 Year-Old Girl

Hi Brant, I'm Jane.

Just another 16-year-old girl.

And I don't know if you have time for this, probably not, but I need someone to talk to right now, and some advice. And my friends have their own problems, so I don't want to bother them with mine, mostly because they can't really help me, but I felt like I needed to reach out to someone, and you seem like a good guy, so, anyway...
I seem to be growing further and further away from Jesus. Not that I'm doing anything bad or committing any serious sins, but I just can't seem to get close to him. A while back, I was doing pretty well with it. But it's always the same old thing. I'll surrender everything to him and decide that from then on I'll try my hardest to live how he wants me to live, and be in 'constant prayer' or at least talk to him. But that never lasts very long. Pretty soon I'll never really pray and just kind of neglect him. And then that'll make me feel guilty and I have to start all over again. And that's happened so many times that I've stopped believing in myself and know I won't be able to keep that sort of promise to him, because I never have before. And now I'm at the point where I just don't care. I don't want to be like that, but I am...
I don't trust him. I don't know what to do.
I know you're busy, but if you could give me some advice, it would be appreciated more than you realize.
Thanks. I love your show, by the way.
Hey Jane!
I love your question.  And I really like you.  Not to make light of your situation;  I just love it because it's so honest, and -- more honesty, here -- few will voice it, though MANY feel it.
I hear you about the cycle of re-commitment, failure, guilt, silence, re-commitment, failure, guilt...  MAN, have I been there.  And I have an idea for you.
Give up.
Seriously, I recommend this.  It's scandalous in many Christian circles to say this, but I mean it.  You will never, ever, ever, be able to get yourself together enough, morally, to think you're finally acceptable to God, or that things are finally "okay", somehow.  Ever.  Or, if you did somehow think that, you'd be deluding yourself. 
You're being perfectionistic, in the sense that your language reveals that you're holding out hope to finally be in "constant prayer" and finally keep all your promises.  But you won't ever do that.  So it's a prescription for not only misery and anxiety, but ultimately, becoming a person who can't love other people, a busy-body, and no fun to be around whatsoever.

Paul writes that when you've "put on Christ" the Lord no longer sees your sinfulness, He sees Jesus.  And He is very, very pleased with Jesus. This is the scandal of the Gospel itself, and you've likely heard it before, but hearing it isn't the same as really getting it. 
You tried the moral thing, you tried making promises, you tried all that, but you keep blowing it, and you always will. 
So give up.
P.S. -- And, oh, by the way, once you've done that, and realized that God hasn't left you, isn't angry with you, isn't wanting to punch you in the mouth, you might actually start to fall in love with Him.  Seriously.
So you go a few weeks without really praying.  You don't think DANG IT I'VE BLOWN IT AGAIN! -- I WON"T EVEN TALK TO HIM NOW!  You'll think, "I miss Him.  God, I miss you.  Here's what's going on..."
And, when you love Him, He promises He'll give you the desires of your heart.  Bear in mind, those "desires" will change, for the very reason that you now love Him.  You'll find your desires changing.  You'll be more loving, more joyful, more at peace, more patient...  Ironically, after giving up the morality/religion game, you'll become more of a lover of God, and, quite possibly, a better "moral" person.  You'll want different things. 
And a person who wants different things is a different person, entirely.  Maybe a better moral person.
But make no mistake:  The better morality is not the end goal.  Knowing God is.  Christianity is not a philosophical ethic, a construct, or a system of ideas.  Other religions are about the discovery of those systems.  Jesus doesn't point at a system, He points at Himself.  He's it.  This is a relationship.
Yes, I grew up in church.  But I like God now.  He brings actual rest.

...and, from that rest, you'll be a blessing to people. Check THIS out, from the Bible's book of Ephesians. NOTHING you can do will save you. And yet - more good news! - God's got some wonderful work for us to do. Stuff you're made to do, even. And it becomes joy, knowing where we stand, finally.
Yeah, when He's got your heart, your behavior will change, most likely, but it's borne of the fact that you LOVE Him now, and FREELY respond to Him, rather than mire yourself in a life-long, busy-body guilt cycle.  You begin to actually trust Him, begin to suspect you're safe with Him, and then everything else becomes easier to take, including stuff that seemed like the end of the world. 
Shoot -- seriously -- the end of the world gets a little easier to take.  Everything becomes kinda funny, even.  Heaven will have lots of laughter.
Anyway, I, for one, gave up.  And boy, do I feel better. 

Comments (58) -

8/4/2011 2:28:34 PM
Bruce United States
Really like the way you've put this Brant. Its something I struggle with a lot as well, so Jane your far from being alone on this subject. I'll defiantly going to going to do this.
Thanks Smile
8/4/2011 3:29:09 PM
sarah United States
wow...thanks brant. i've been doing the exact thing! this really helped...i'm giving up Smile
8/4/2011 3:58:01 PM
Amanda D. United States
Amanda D.
NKJV- 1 John 3: 20 - For if our heart condemn us, God is greater than our heart, and knoweth all things.

NKJC- Ephesians 2:8,9 - For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God not of works, lest any man should boast.  

WE ARE SAVED BECAUSE HE LOVES!  He knows our wickedness in and out and better than we do.  God sent himself to the earth in human form, so He could die a human death as the ultimate sacrifice for US!  For the wages of sin is death - Rom. 6:23 - We don't have to do anything but believe what God did for us on the cross and live in that!  Matthew 6:23 - Seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness and all the rest will be added to you.  

God is good and He hears us!  I was struggling with this same thing morning and I asked God for encouragement... He sent me 1 John 3:20.  My heart is what deceives me, but God is GREATER than my heart.  

8/4/2011 4:27:57 PM
Tim Gordon United States
Tim Gordon
I completely agree, and this brought me to tears. I finally learned this in the last year, that my trying will never get me anywhere. When I tell myself that I need to be good to earn God's favor, I'm basically saying that my salvation is up to me. It's not. It's paid for. It was paid for 2000 years ago, back when everyting that I have done was all future sins. I need to let go of my life, my goals, my desires, and let God be God. Let Him be who He is, and let Him direct my life. Life is so much easier when I stop banging my head against the wall in frustration and start trusting in Him, and knowing that everything in my life, whether good or difficult is from Him. He brought me through one of the hardest most difficult times in my life recently, and it was through that experience that I learned how gracious, peace giving, and loving He really is. I now would not trade that experience for anything. It is only through that experience that I was able to see these things, and I am a better person as a result. Oh how I love my Jesus, for He truly is my best friend. He will never leave me or forsake me, He's etched my name in the palm of His hands!
8/4/2011 5:13:42 PM
Karen United States
Jane, I felt this way for many years when I was a young adult. One of my problems was that I was so systematic in my prayers: "Please forgive me for this and that...thank you for taking care of us...please be with this person or that person." I felt like I always had to start the prayer with "please forgive me" or He would not want to hear from me. Then the next day, I would ask Him to forgive me for the very same things. I would feel so guilty, that I thought if I can't change my behavior, then I must not be sincere and I nearly stopped praying for 10 years. Then one particularly bad season in my life, I prayed desperately, saying things to God that I didn't think I should--really honest things that hurt me to even admit. What a great relief that was!! Thank God for that time in my life. I didn't feel judgement or punishment; only love and encouragement. I can tell Him anything and it is such a relief to talk to Him, who knows my heart completely, accepts me and loves me. My way of "giving up" was giving up on the rules I had placed on prayer. And thank God I did.
8/4/2011 5:46:21 PM
Tiffany Cargill United States
Tiffany Cargill
Thnk you first for the question and second of all for the almost made me cry...really. thank you so much for this question and your answer.
God Bless
8/4/2011 6:27:00 PM
Leslie Luczak United States
Leslie Luczak
Wow! Well said, well done. You have to just give up and give it all to Him. Face your storm head on because the Son will always be at your back. Miss you on WayFM Brant
8/4/2011 7:25:42 PM
Tanya United States
That was an awesome question and answer.  I recently finished a book by Watchman Nee called "The Normal Christian Life."  I cannot recommend it highly enough.  It speaks to so many issues we Christians have.  
We "know" what we should be doing and therefore "try" to "do our best" to do them.  However, that will always fail because we are relying on our own selves.  We are to rely on Jesus and the power of the Holy Spirit, whom He has given to live IN us.
Mr. Nee refers numerous times to the book of Romans with such excellent examples and practical insights.  Again, I highly recommend reading that book and gaining from his experience.
(For those who may not know, Mr. Nee was Chinese and was imprisoned for being a Christian the last 20 years of his life.  That is where he wrote all of his books.)
8/4/2011 9:52:49 PM
Jacob United States
You know.... its funny that this was talked about in your show today. Ive been battling the same thing, especially at work. I think how I can do things different and be nice to people, then I get grumpy because the weather, the cars I work with, and the constant change of requirements. Then on the drive home i feel guilty. I feel ive let God down again, and again, and again. It never stops even though I always try to change.

Maybe this is what ive been missing. When i heard your show today, i heard you talking about Janes comment to you. It caught my ear and i had to listen. Im so glad that i did, because youve given me insight. The key ive been missing is....... GIVING UP. Thanks Jane for posting this to Brant, and Thank you Brant for a great response. I need to Give Up. I need to surrender to God.

By the way Brant, i was laughing pretty hard when i heard you saying your talented and you brought out the accordian. That was too funny. Thanks for the laugh and i hope we here great posts like this more often.

God bless,

8/5/2011 7:39:13 AM
Brian United States
At 45 I often feel the same and could use someone to talk with about my troubles/issues. I grew up in a family that went to church every week. When I went to college I virtually quit going. Throughout my military career my church going was sapratic at best. I have felt just like her for over twenty years.  I was "baptized" three or four times in that period of my life. This is the first time I've seen or heard that two word reply, "Give up!".  AWESOME!
8/5/2011 2:25:45 PM
Rachel United States
Brant, thank you for posting this because I really needed to hear the words you said in your reply to Jane with the things going on in my life lately.
8/5/2011 2:37:06 PM
Kaitlyn United States
Thank God Smile That about sums it up Smile
8/5/2011 2:54:04 PM
Mom United States
Is Jane my daughter?  We've just recently had a very similary conversation and nothing I tried to say or any advise I gave her could quite put it the same way you just did.  Thank you !
8/5/2011 3:35:11 PM
kim United States
You've helped more than one person with this Brant..... thank you and thank you Jane!!!
8/5/2011 4:11:49 PM
Donelda United States
Have to say I was a bit nervous reading the question, wondering how you would respond. Big sigh of relief! Wonderful answer. Well put. When we stop trying to be what we think we should be, God can finally do what he wants to do in us. It's all about Him. When we say "I will do better next time", then it is all about us. Our own self effort always fails. Thank the Lord that he loves us no matter what. Let go and let God. Or as you so aptly put it...Give Up!
8/5/2011 4:15:12 PM
Diane United States
Hey guys, just wanted to say Brant you hit that nail on the head! Great Job!! I grew up going to chruch as well, but struggled with the same thing. Only in this last year of my life have I really began to understnad what grace is. I've given up also on all the morality nonsense and I can't tell you the freedom I have now. How did all this happen??  I got into the Bible, every day. I have always had a hard time just sitting down and reading the Bible. It's a bit overwhelming and intimidating, to be honest.
So what I did was downloaded an app on my phone that has a guy read the Bible to you in one year. So everyday I get God's word and I have absolutely fallen in LOVE with God. It has literally changed my life. If you don't have a phone that you can do that you can go to their website and listen for free.   I hope this helps, I know it has for me.
8/5/2011 4:19:36 PM
vickie United States
Jane you are so, so honest.  I think many people have felt the same as you.  I loved the answer but also I would study God's word.  Read the Bible. Some times you may understand and some times you may not, but I don't think you can draw near to God if you don't really know who he is and what he wants from us.  We are to follow and be like Jesus.  Many Christians don't really know what that means.  I study and read the Bible so much but I am constantly amazed at what I don't know.  
8/5/2011 4:36:18 PM
Sandy Sandmeyer United States
Sandy Sandmeyer
Wonderful, Brant!  Even I needed to hear that and I'm 43!  Let go and let God!  I can't do it on my own, but only God can do it through me.
8/5/2011 5:53:14 PM
Ren United States
Jane, as Brant has already said to you, I say it again. Thank you for your honesty and humbleness to present a question and similar struggle I have had for many many years. Brant, thank you for taking the time to answer not only her, but all of us that have been to afraid to ask or to shallow to even think. Your commitment to the cross is evident and your love of God's Children is an example for all of us to follow. God is with you Jane, and God is with you Brant. Thank you! God be the Glory!!!
8/8/2011 9:27:19 AM
ali United States
I can relate to how she's feeling sometimes. I hope she gets better and happier.
8/8/2011 10:14:32 AM
Jonathan United States
wow that totally fit me that it was almost like i wrote it...Brant, you do not know how much you just help me! thank you for sharing this on here.
8/8/2011 2:53:32 PM
Lauren.H United States
I know this is completely off the subject but THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR PLAYING "Yes" by John Waller right now!!! You just made me so happy!

Oh and going back on the subject Smile
Thank you for posting this! I've kind of been struggling spiritually as well and thank you for the advice! Smile I'm sure it will definitely be much needed in the future!!!

Thank you again!
  Your 12 year old listener in Ky
8/8/2011 4:24:00 PM
Mel United States
Hey Brant,
your response was very good. But I have to say that I didn't appreciate your choice of words in the "P.S." If we don't want our two year olds saying it, why should it be ok for us as Christians to say it?
Don't get me wrong your response to this gal was very good. But I don't know maybe you could edit the "P.s"
8/9/2011 6:07:22 AM
NikkiP United States
This is awesome!! Thank you Jane for sharing your question, I have a daughter close to your age and even as an adult it is difficult to grasp this TRUTH.  Thank you Brant for sharing your heart and the absolute truth about the love of JESUS!!!  What a difference we all will be when we realize it is all about HIM and our relationship with HIM.   XOXOXO
8/12/2011 1:36:19 PM
elise Canada
I think Jane and i are twins, i feel the exact same way!
8/12/2011 4:30:36 PM
Lauri United States
Brant, I love your eloquence.  Very nicely done.

Jane, you described a "saved by works" path, which only works for a little while.  It always fails ultimately.  I know, I tried it once, too. Jesus advocated a "saved by Grace" path, which Brant put it far better than I could here.  Just "give up;" relax and be.  All we are commanded to do is be and love; the rest will take care of itself.  

Your faith is the most important "thing" you will ever have; always hold onto it and never give it up for any reason (as in don't let self-doubt or low self-esteem take it away).

Here's another scandalous thought: take (good) care of yourself.  That way you'll be able to help others.  And remember: hand-ups are more effective than hand-outs.

God bless whatever you decide to do!
8/13/2011 1:43:48 PM
Susie United States
I have been dealing with this a lot recently, and I got this realization Wednesday night when I was at church. My pastor was praying with me, and he didn't even know what was going on in my life. But I started thinking, I don't have to try so hard to be perfect.
It all makes sense now.
8/14/2011 4:44:03 PM
rick United States

someone already said this but I will repeat it because it is so true. Do not give up on the power of prayer. I have often felt and still do feel that I am not worthy to open my dirty mouth to speak to Jesus. It is the evil one who makes us feel that way. The evil one is trying to drive a wedge in between you (me, and everyone else) and Jesus. Do not let him. I know very well that it can be hard to feel that He is there with you but he is. I have been struggling with a porn addiction and yet every turn I take...Jesus! Jesus is there holding my hand! Jesus' patience with us will never be understood by us. We would never put up from those we surround ourselves with  - with the stuff that Jesus forgives us. Yet Jesus is always standing there holding our hand.

Like Brant said- give up on trying to earn Gods grace and mercy. Give up on trying to be perfect. Take him as he is. Take his grace and mercy as he hands it out to you. From church a couple of weeks ago: there is nothing that you can do to make God love you more than he does right now! Nothing! Surrender yourself to him! When it storms pray pray pray!  
8/31/2011 2:09:28 PM
Melody United States
Thank you Brant (and Jane).  This is only the second of your blogs that I have ever read.  I had the "need to do a quiet time and have nothing with me" feeling and was streaming Air1 on my school computer (I'm a high school teacher) after school.  I decided to check out this blog I saw on the Air1 homepage, read one and then another.  
Thank you for this... if you couldn't tell from my quoted mindset, I have had problems with guilt in my Christian walk multiple times.  I have to do X to check something off a list of "goodness," prove that I'm really saved, to prove to God that I really love Him, etc.  
Perhaps it is our tendency to want to control our lives that makes even those of us covered by Christ want to pick our lives back up and say, "no, I can do this."  We feel like our relationship with God depends on OUR commitment level, OUR actions, OUR feelings.
As I read your words, I was trembling and tearing up (I still am) - knowing GOD put this in my path today to meet me where I am.  When I'm lost, His word lights the path.  When I look to Him, He shows me where I'm missing the mark.  None of this is about me - God gets all the glory.  Anytime I try to put myself into it, I mess it up.  Indeed, I am another who needs to give up trying to be good enough to not feel guilty.  Jesus died for my inability to ever be good enough as much as he died for my sinful heart.  
God, help me to give up trying to be good enough, release me from this guilt-focus, show me more and more every day who you are and how much you love me.  Help me to fall more in love with you.
8/31/2011 2:58:55 PM
Dawn Scholtisek United States
Dawn Scholtisek
hey there
I studied Buddiiism for a bit and meditation( oh sin sin)I do not regret it in Calf but when meditation had side effects...and I moved to Fla I found Air 1 and it reallyis about love the rest follows...except church every Sunday,,, ..I never grew up going to church I see God as love its simple strenght.Simple love and much more. No need for anxiety.
8/31/2011 5:11:44 PM
Lauren United States
I thought that comments were closed on this???? hm weird
8/31/2011 7:43:48 PM
i did as well and the charactar things arent on ere i miss them
9/1/2011 8:13:06 AM
breanna United States
Yay! I just gave up, just here recently, and I noticed such a difference, and I didn't realize why, and man oh man this just summed it up perfectly! Thanks Smile
9/2/2011 6:58:37 AM
Misty R. United States
Misty R.
Wow!  That was the true wisdom of God speaking through you.  I am touched and amazed.  I am going to post a link to this from my blog, because this is such an important message.
9/2/2011 2:13:34 PM
Lauren United States
Where are the weird little monster things?!? Frown

...i miss them....AND Anthem Lights.... Frown <sad face>
9/4/2011 6:43:56 AM
Samantha Brown United States
Samantha Brown
Brant this even helped me with my problem(s) that i was having. Thank you both. i have felt so guilty about what i have done and i have prayed to God about giving me strength to stop. well i kept doing it. i'm going to try the advice you gave the 16 year old. i am 16 and adults know how teenagers are. anyway i just wanted to say thank you. you really helped me out. i love your show too. every time i turn on the car i'm so excited to hear you.
9/4/2011 8:21:46 PM
Becky S United States
Becky S
Brant Thanks for your advice on giving up I gave up today and told God I surrender and you are so right.
9/7/2011 11:24:21 PM
Isaac United States
omg, i love you Brant, the vessel for God's wisdom. I have been going through what was described as a "saved by works" attitude, and this has helped me greatly, i do need to give up and ill give it a try, it'll be hard though, i am one of those guys that worries about every little thing and lately i notice that i haven't really been relying on Him much, and i really have kind of floated away a little bit, i feel like i don't know Him any more, so please pray for me as i try to give up to Him, it certainly won't be easy
9/12/2011 8:24:56 PM
Melody United States
Brant!  Thanks!  I've struggled for years with the same cycle!  I will say this...I'm GIVING UP!  Your words were so honest and to the point.  No one has ever put it that way for me.  I grew up in a Baptist home, attended a Baptist college, struggled with the same cycle and asked for help many times...your answer to Jane was the first one that actually made perfect sense.
Thank you!
9/19/2011 6:29:40 PM
Teresa United States
Wow did I need to read this I have given him control in somethings in my life but not others I see now that I need to just give it all up to him let go and he will do the rest thank you so much ..
9/28/2011 11:19:23 AM
Becky United States
I like this! :0)  What a great way to look at it.  I know we all struggle with this at one point or another.  I also thought I'd share something that I read somewhere recently.  
How can you let God down when you were never holding Him up?
Such a simple concept, but so true!  I love that saying.
10/10/2011 1:01:40 PM
Barrett United States

Thanks Brant for this insight, not ONLY into this young lady's life but ALL OF OURS! It reminds of the old church hymn that goes, "NOTHING in my hands I bring, simply to the Cross I cling!"

I REALLY needed to hear this. Its SO easy to get caught up in all the doings of 'being' a Christian. That we (MYSELF) so quickly forget that we are to simply be still and KNOW that He is God!
11/2/2011 12:50:37 PM
Jenn United States
WOW! When I first started reading this and saw Brant say just to give up...I was like WHAT?! But, I love, love this and your honesty. Very uplifting and so well-put! I really needed to hear this also and I am praying for Jane and hope her prayers are answered and she's closer to God than ever. Complete surrender of self is hard to do but the best decision I've EVER made. God bless you and Air1 for all you do!
11/11/2011 5:36:59 PM
Taylor United States
This is seriously, exactly how I've been feeling lately. I love how you put this Brant. Thank you so much. And Jane, I'll be praying for you. Thank you for sending that letter, that pretty much summed up my brain. Thank you, thank you. Smile
God is amazing, I cannot imagine my life without Himand his daily blessings. <3
11/30/2011 3:47:31 PM
Thomas United States
Hi Brant
I drive a truck. Im not OTR, but I do drive to other states and haul for a food distibutor. COntract company. I am goin through a divorce... A most incidious type. I have been mentally broken, SHE tore me apart and took %99 of the "friends" and left me, or more accuratly, mad me and the grandson (he's 4) leave. THe town that I live in is small comparied to most an it is still killing me. Sooo, where is god in this, I just dont know. I have Borderline Personality Disorder and that makes this harder. (youtube borderline personality disorder.wmv) Life is crap. I listen to you and I dont know why....
12/7/2011 3:41:12 PM
anonymous United States
You saved my life. God led me here, and now it's pasted in my journal. Thank you.
12/8/2011 8:50:22 AM
Deidra Breazile United States
Deidra Breazile
I have had the exact same struggle has Jane for as long as I can remember, really. And it's extremely tiring. I came across this blog last night and then this morning was reading in Hebrews 13:9- "Your strength comes from God's grace, not from rules about food, which don't help those who follow them."  

Then I looked up the word grace-A favor rendered by one who need not do so. So, the word grace alone tells us that it is not about what we do that saves us. It means that God is granting us a favor even though He doesn't have to. So in other words, we don't deserve it, yet he wants to give it. And if we can't earn it and will never deserve it, it seems He is telling us to stop trying.
12/14/2011 1:05:43 PM
Justiceandmercy94 United States
Thomas, there's always a silver lining. I know that is so cliche to say, but there always is, you just have to look hard enough. Sometimes we go through things we don't want to. During these times, we question God and ask why? why would you do this to me? are you even there? but the reality is, He is very likely trying to draw you closer to Him so that you can see how great He truly is. He is greater than you weaknesses and He wants you to know thatSmile Don't give up hope, keep looking for the silver lining (2 Corinthians 12:9 ESV translation--Each time he said, "My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness." So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me.)
1/4/2012 9:35:56 AM
Lucricia United States
Jane, 100 million bottles just washed up on your shore (I realize you are way too young to get this Sting reference but it just so fits!)
You are so not alone, Sweetie.  I am 43 and still deal with this.
I went through a really hard, rough 6 years that just about did me in, and for the first 2 I could feel God right there, helping me, seeing me through.  Then the last 4 years it felt as if he just dumped me in the desert, turned his back, and quietly said over his shoulder, "you are on your own".
Now things are really great, better than they have ever been in my life and I am AFRAID.  Is he going to take this from me too? Are these good things not really from him and so are not as good as they seem?  Did I go through my life without the loving guidance of the holy spirit?
Questions questions questions.
Brant is right, let it GO.  My prayer right now is simply, let me feel You.  Not for any other reason other than I want Him.  I still need Him.  I love Him.
God Bless you, Jane.  Its going to come together, no matter how much time it takes, its all still just a blink of an eye.
1/19/2012 6:29:21 PM
Kourtney United States
Thank you Jane and Brant! This is the situation that I think every Christian goes through.. So Jane don't hate yourself for saying that you just don't care.
My friend actually showed this to me a while ago because I was having issues and now I'm sharing this story with another one of my friends... I will forever keep this tab openSmile
So thank you Lord for giving Brant your words to speak. Thank you for your graceSmile
1/20/2012 2:54:19 PM
Steve United States
Very well said, Brant! Jane brings up a good point that is effacting a lot of younger people in churches today. It's no longer about what Jesus did but what people have to do. It's not a question of I have to act this way and I have to do this thing now. God loves you for who you are, not by what you do. Like it was stated above, when we put on Jesus and let Him work through our lives, God no longer sees us for our sins but as His creation. We then feel his Love and in turn fall in love. It's a change that happens from the inside out. Our thoughts, actions and even our core nature changes from focusing on us to focusing on Him. I have to agree with Brant, give up. Give up on trying to impress him, I would think He is already impressed with you.
2/2/2012 11:34:43 AM
Kris United States
I agree with Brant.
If you treat God like a diet or workout it becomes a chore and you begin to hate it. God blessed us all with gifts, some have many and some have one or two. Praise God by doing something he has blessed you with. Personally I can sing and I recently discovered I can knit. I don't pray every day and I don't read my bible much. I am no where near the "perfect" christian but I LOVE my God and I KNOW he is there for me. When you dangle a treat in front of your treadmill you will never get it, you will just keep running and wearing yourself out. You will feel like a failure for not reaching it and want to quit.
Turn off the machine.
Then you can walk around your treadmill and finally get the treat you have been running to. Instead of doing something that isn't natural for you or something that chafes against your personality do something that you love and do it for God. People say that if you don't know all the books of the bible, or all the right songs, or can quote 100 scriptures then you are a terrible christian. I have memory problems, in fact I don't even know my own mother's birthday because numbers just won't stick in my head. So bible verses are out. I felt terrible and like I was worthless for so long and one day I looked up and said "You love me for who I am. So why am I judging myself for who I'm not?"
You don't have to call him everyday
You don't have to feel him next to you 24/7
You don't have to be someone your not.
All you have to do is love him and be yourself.
Of course we all want to strive to be like him but just because your not like everyone else doesn't mean your worthless or alone.
2/27/2012 10:29:47 AM
sandy United States
Could not have said it better,RIGHT ON Brant!
2/27/2012 12:15:53 PM
Jeremy United States
God is love.  In fact, He loved us enough to, while we were the worst sinners and absolutely wretched, sacrifice His son Jesus for us, to pave the way for us to come to Him, to reconcile us to Himself.
Here is the problem, He loved the world, the sinful world enough to do all of this, but He didn't just sacrifice Himself for nothing.  He was not sacrificed and crucified so that people could just feel good about themselves and change nothing.  He died, and rose again, to reconcile us to Himself.  To bring us to a place of communion with Him.  God is not the one who needed reconciliation, we are.  God did not reconcile Himself to us, He reconciles us to Himself. He is not the one who needed to move, we are.  If we were fine just as we were, then the sacrifice was useless and had no purpose. Yes, He loved us just the way we were, but He did not die so that we could stay there.
Forgiveness was not the end goal, it is the avenue through which Jesus Christ can allow us to escape the bonds of sin and death. Some of the comments on this have said: "All you have to do is love him and be yourself".  True, that all you have to do is love Him, but Jesus himself said that "He who loves me will obey what I command".  James said that if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord, and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, that you will be saved.  The invitation is open to all who would hear and obey.  One small problem, you have to confess Him, Jesus, as lord.  Lord does not mean friend, though He is one, it does not mean father, though He is the ultimate heavenly father, and it does not mean Land Lord, though your body is certainly now His temple.  Lord means absolute and supreme ruler, the one to whom you swear fealty to, the one who's word directs your life even to your cost, it means sovereign dictator.  We start as worthless, we start as degenerate sinners, we start as unworthy, but He loved us.  For His own glory and His own purpose He did the necessary work to save us, because of His great love for us.  But He did not die so that you could stay destitute, worthless, and broken.  He came that you might have life eternal, life abundant, life everlasting in His glorious presence.  So, yes give up your own efforts to be God, give up your worthless sinful nature, give up your will and reign over your life, give it to God.  He will come in, He will transform you, He will call you, and He will justify you.  Then God, through you will, will be imitating Himself; God, in you, will be holding you up and completing the purpose that He has created you for.  There is work to be done, and God is once again looking for those who would fall to their face and cry "woe is me, for I am a man of unclean lips among a people of unclean lips", who He will cleanse (not paint over, or try to see differently, but wholly cleanse), and who will then cry "Here am I, send me".  Jesus came for so much more than what we put Him up to.  
He deserves us to dwell with Him everyday, He paid the extremely high price for us.
He is not just next to us everyday, He dwells within the Christian.
He takes that horrible wretched man that we were, and after crucifying our sinful nature on the cross, He raises us up, a new man and behold all things are made new and we have the spirit of Him who raised Christ from the dead now dwelling in us.  
He is worthy of all praise, He is worthy to receive all glory, and He is worthy to receive the reward of the lives of those whom He dies to purchase, to save and the redeem. Do not cheapen the grace of God and so rob the Lamb that was slain of the full reward of His suffering.  He gave up everything to purchase you, He Is Worthy, He is Holy, and He deserves nothing less than all of us. Do not so cheapen His sacrifice.  
2/28/2012 11:37:35 AM
Shiloh United States
Jeremy, your words almost brought tears to my eyes. Keep speaking the truth brother! There are so many of us that need to hear it.
2/28/2012 12:42:21 PM
Bryan United States

I would like to offer an alternative to Brant's advice.

Don't give up. The power God offers to live a holy life, and thereby glorifying him through your obedience, is real, and it is available to you. There is no need to continue in a cycle of repentance and sin. Jesus can cleanse you from all sin by crucifying the "old man" and raising you to new life, as Paul taught in Romans 6:

3 Or do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus have been baptized into His death?4 Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life.5 For if we have become united with Him in the likeness of His death, certainly we shall also be in the likeness of His resurrection,6 knowing this, that our old self was crucified with Him, in order that our body of sin might be done away with, so that we would no longer be slaves to sin;7 for he who has died is freed from sin.

8 Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him,9 knowing that Christ, having been raised from the dead, is never to die again; death no longer is master over Him.10 For the death that He died, He died to sin once for all; but the life that He lives, He lives to God.11 Even so consider yourselves to be dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus.

It's all about love, Jane. You will obey the one whom you love. If you love yourself, you will continue in this cycle of sin and repentance, because you will sin when it is convenient and obey when it is convenient. Yet, if you love God, you will obey Him always. As Jesus said: "If you love me, you will keep my commandments." (John 14:15)

Giving up to a cycle of sin and repentance is like saying that God is unable to give you the power to live completely for Him, and that would be a tragedy. God can cleanse you completely. This is true of my life and of the lives of others I know.

Paul taught:

1 What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin so that grace may increase?2 May it never be! How shall we who died to sin still live in it?

It seems to me that the answer Brant has offered to Paul's question in verse 1 is "Yes, continue in sin that grace may increase." I urge you to instead agree with Paul and say "No. I will die to sin and be raised to new life, as God promises in His word."

May God bless you with wisdom as you consider this alternative.
2/29/2012 4:45:43 AM
Shane United States
I have some good news.  God perfected love.  As Christians, we are not only urged to love, but that is the entire point.  In all things, we must love.  The other good news is that love is not a feeling.  It isn't just an emotion that vanishes when the emotional experience passes.  So if the advice is to stop seeking that emotional feeling but to continue to strive to perfect our love as God loves us, then I think we can agree.  We should certainly stop equating our salvation with a persistent emotional experience because emotions don't last.

I love my wife.  There have been times during our relationship where I didn't have butterflies in my stomach.  Yet, my love for her was not decreased in the slightest.  Should I be concerned that I don't have a constant nausea when I think of her?  I don't think so.  So, in that way, I should certainly give up searching for that feeling all of the time.  Instead, I devote my actions to showing her just how much I love her.  It is no different with God.  

We must never give up showing God how much we love Him.  We must however abandon that cycle of "falling in and out of love" with God.  Love isn't something we can fall in or out of.  Love is a choice.  Love is a commitment to place another over our own desires.  Jesus said, if you love Him you will keep His commandments.  He told us to love God with everything we have.  He told us to love our neighbors equal to ourselves.  That isn't an emotional love.  It's a permanent love that cannot be taken off like a jacket.  It is worn in our hearts.  It fills us.  It is contagious.  Never cease in love.  Never cease in prayer.  Never, ever, ever be content with your current level of love.  Seek God with a ravenous hunger.
12/11/2012 7:35:08 PM
Serena United States
I definitely needed to see this tonight...thank you so much, Brant. Smile

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