What stops us from wanting to do what the Gospel asks us to do? When we have figured out the answer to that question, then we have figured out who our god is. The Gospel would like us to live in peace, joy, and mercy, and to live in those things, we must not only believe in Jesus but also do as he would do.
A lot of us don’t understand that it’s possible to give up what we don’t want to give up and be happy about it. In my early twenties, I used to ask people all the time “what would you say if you could give up drinking and enjoy sobriety more than drunkenness? Wouldn’t it be better if you could enjoy sobriety more than drunkenness? Because it is possible.”
And he or she would tell me that they still wouldn’t want to give up drinking, because they couldn’t imagine enjoying something more than it. But, again, I would tell them that they could enjoy something more than it, especially since drinking makes us do stupid things and leaves us feeling miserable in the morning.
When it comes to life, Jesus is limitless. So when we put our lives in his hands, we shouldn’t worry about losing something that we like, because something better than what we can imagine is waiting to replace it.
Jesus died for our sins and in our sin, and when we choose to believe that Jesus has indeed died for our sins, we are choosing to die along with him. However, Jesus did not stay dead. His spirit rose from the dead and is living today. Therefore, as followers of Christ, we too are not to stay dead. We are to die to our sin and then live in the Spirit of Jesus, the giver of True Life (Romans 6).
If we find that we believe in Christ, but we are not living in peace, joy, and mercy, then, again, it’s more than likely that we are serving the wrong god—we are not following Christ but something sinful. Yes, in our spirits, sin is dead to us, because Christ has removed our sin from our spirits by his forgiveness. But are we living the Life of Christ if we still want to continue sinning? Are we dead to sin if we would like to sin some more? No, we are serving the very thing that Jesus died to free us from. There’s a difference between sinning out of lack of control—yet not wanting to have sinned—and actually wanting to sin. We can go on sinning because we haven’t the control to stop ourselves, but is it right to say that yes, I want to continue sinning?
Some of us may want to ask “why do so many Christians seem sad, angry, or mean?” To answer that question, it could be because many of them have been misinformed. Or, many of them have seen the truth, felt God’s conviction, but still have went their own way, unfortunately. Or, some of them still haven’t learned all they need to learn, because even in Christ, we all need to grow through knowledge and mistakes.
But that doesn’t mean that those who have sinned against us won’t be forgiven. We all need forgiveness, because we all fall short of the character of God. So, don’t judge the perfect Gospel of Christ because there are people who mess up the goodness that God wants for them and those around them. On the contrary, we should get to know Christ for ourselves, and then we should do our best to not make the same mistakes as those who have decided to follow the very sins that Christ died to remove instead of following the life that Christ died to give.