What would you say if I told you that when I woke up in the morning I got dressed, showered, ate breakfast, then got out of bed. That’s just not the right order to do those things. Likewise, there are people who really believe that they need to clean up their lives before God will accept them or before we would want them to join the youth group or church. This is the amazing thing about God – He sent Jesus Christ to die for you “While you were still a sinner” (Romans 5:8)! God saves you by grace, and he changes you by grace… in that order.
Everyone’s relationship with Christ is different and we all face different challenges. Some people make a serious mess of their lives before they meet Christ, and then their lives are radically changed forever. Others experience a rollercoaster: one moment their faith is strong, the next it’s in the toilet, and back and forth. Others have the blessing of being protected from ever living through too much messiness (as in, they never partied and might consider their testimony “boring”), and they have a legit faith in Christ but seem to constantly struggle with one particular sin that they just can’t seem to “beat.”
“Sanctification is the process of becoming more like Jesus. Think of it this way: when we first believe in Jesus, we’re born again – that’s regeneration. But then just like a newborn baby, we don’t stay a baby. We have to grow up. And that’s what sanctification is: it’s growing up as a Christian in our new life in Jesus.” Josh Harris, Dug Down Deep
You see, God calls us to himself just as we are… but He doesn’t leave us that way. He causes us to believe in Him, to love Him, and to want to be more and more like Him. Do you desire to be more like Jesus? If you think being like Jesus sounds lame and you’re not interested, then there’s a problem… maybe you don’t know Jesus as much as you think you do.
I just love Romans 8:12-13, “Therefore, brothers, we have an obligation—but it is not to the sinful nature, to live according to it. For if you live according to the sinful nature, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live.”
When you hear “Sinful Nature,” what sin comes to mind? That’s probably the sin you struggle with the most, right? It might be alcohol, drugs, lust, sex, anger, gossip, bitterness, or a hundred other things. Whatever it is – STARVE IT! If you feed your sinful nature it will grow even stronger. Think of it as a Sumo Wrestler that you need to do battle with… starve the Sumo for long enough and you’ll have a better chance at winning. Meanwhile the Holy Spirit is giving you strength to overcome – so you’re getting stronger while the Sumo is getting weaker.
As Christians, we can’t get away with thinking, “I’ll do whatever I want and Jesus will forgive me.” If that’s the way you’ve been thinking, then maybe you’re not really a Christian – because a Christian is someone who has believed on Christ for salvation and is trusting in Jesus to make him/her more like Christ. As Jesus said, “You cannot serve two masters” (Matthew 6:24).
So how can you Dig Down Deep – build your life on solid foundations that will last through the storms of life.
- Ask the hard questions. God’s not afraid of tough questions. The question is whether or not you’re considering yourself God’s judge, or someone who simply has questions.
- Believe the Gospel. Jesus died in your place, rose from the grave, ascended into heaven, and will return again. That’s real, and it makes all the difference in eternity between yourself and God. But it also makes all the difference in today! Do you really believe the Gospel with all your life, or just with your head?
- Read your Bible so your beliefs about God are actually what the Bible teaches! You don’t want to trust God to do things He never promised to do. You also don’t want to miss out on promises He HAS given! Remember, good theology leads to good living; messed up theology leads to messed up living.
- Trust Christ each day. You might have some tough decisions to make, some friendships to end, habits to break and new habits to make… but it’s worth it. Starve your sinful nature, and walk daily with Christ and just watch God at work in your life.