Receiving the Gift

When I was eight years old, two short months after the devastating and life-changing attacks on 9/11, I accepted Jesus into my heart and publicly made a decision to follow Christ. However, it was more than a decade later before I realized what that decision truly meant and why I needed to intentionally and passionately fall in love with my Savior, who is always intentionally and passionately loving us.

Each of us has a different path to salvation, but the mechanisms of our journey are the same: We live in sin. We come to an understanding that we are loved by God and that His love provided a way for us to overcome our sin. And we accept that gift of love and live full, abundant, and godly lives in thankfulness of the grace of our Savior.

But why is salvation so important? Why is sin so bad? ​Why did we need a Savior?

When God created Adam and Eve, they were good. But God gave Adam and Eve one rule, one command to protect them from harm, and it didn’t take long for that rule to be broken. Because of that first act of disobedience, everyone born from Adam and Eve, all human beings, are born with a tendency to choose sin over God’s ways.

The problem with sin is that it separates us from God. Instead of walking closely with God and basking in the peace and joy He gives His children, each time we choose our own desires over the commands in the Bible, we become further and further from the perfect plan God has for us.

Romans 3:23 says that all have sinned against God, and Romans 6:23 states that the cost of that sin is death. Before Jesus, that death was in the form of an animal sacrifice, which was only a temporary solution to the problem of sin. That is why Jesus had to die on the cross for our sins.

Jesus was fully God AND fully man. Because He was fully man, He was able to empathize with the temptations we face on a daily basis. But because He did not originate only from man, but from God, He was not sinful. Jesus was able to face the same temptation we face without deviating from the will of God.

As I began pondering these questions, and seeking God for wisdom, He began answeringstraight from His Word.

Since Jesus can empathize with our earthly struggles, He has compassion on us when we sin. He extends His grace to us every time we seek it and forgives us so we can live blameless livesin close relationship with Him. Since He endured the same earthly struggles we encounter without sinning, He is also our great example on how to live holy lives that honor God.

So what does this mean for us today?

If you have not come to a moment in your life where you wholeheartedly accepted the truth of Jesus, you have that opportunity. Your Savior, the One who laid down His life so you could know true life, is welcoming you with open arms. He wants you to get to know Him by reading the Bible, praying from your heart, and living in obedience. The more we know Him, the more we know His love for us, and the more we can share that life-changing love with the world around us.

“If you openly declare that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is by believing in your heart that you are made right with God, and it is by openly declaring your faith that you are saved.” Romans 10:9-10

For those who ​are in the ring with me and​ have already accepted Christ’s salvation, this is a reminder to live a life that honors Him. Jesus suffered and died as the payment for our sins ​- for MY sins – ​but He rose again so we would know that we don’t have to remain in the sin we start out with. Let God restore to you the joy of your salvation so you will willingly obey Him, growing closer and closer to Him in the process.My life is a living testimony that our God is in the business of life change.

“Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and make me willing to obey you.” Psalm 51:12

From this point on, God wants a heart that turns from sin and then chooses to let Him lead. We will still sin, but as we regularly seek forgiveness and let God purify our lives from the inside out, we will become the people He created us to be and step into His abundant plan for our lives.

Elle was raised in Mobile, Alabama, where she met and married her husband, Hayden. Since becoming a full-time mom to their little boy, Ethan, God has grown in her a burden for women, especially moms. Elle loves using her spiritual gifts to encourage other women, particularly in a spiritual setting.

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