Jesse.

imageHello, Jesse Daugherty. Aka… Mr. Durgedy. Aka… Pocco.

I know you’re gonna think it’s ridiculous that after some time, this is the way I am finally reaching out to you. (Haha… funny, but not funny.) I can hear you laughing over that one though… ‘cuz you and I both know it’s true. But that’s just the kind of guy you were. Facebook was just “blah” and ridiculous most of the time because you valued genuine connection and interaction so much. Facebook was a cop-out to living real life. And it really was to you. Honestly, I didn’t always understand. You were so intense, so intentional, so passionate. And I see, now, how you could be that way. You were someone who was constantly fighting for his life. You valued every single day, every person, and every moment. It was all a precious gift to you. Any moment of time where you could genuinely laugh with someone, make someone’s day, or run around like a little kid and not remember the pain, you soaked it up with every fiber of your being. I don’t think any of us really knew that. We never treated you like you were sick… and you absolutely hated it when people did, but looking back, I know that I didn’t fully appreciate you for who you were and what you were going through. I didn’t know it then. But maybe it was denial. Maybe because I didn’t know how to deal with it. I didn’t know how to deal with the fact that things could get real bad at any given moment and we could suddenly lose you. Maybe we even argued over stupid things because I had expectations. Actually, I know it was a big part of it. Even if some of it was about ministry, in my mind, you weren’t going to get sicker. You weren’t going to die. I wasn’t going to let it happen. We were going to talk. We were going to laugh. We were going to be passionate. You were going to run. You were going to keep chasing me around the sanctuary to take my beanie off my head. You were going to preach. We were going to argue. We were going to fight, and I was going to treat you like any other human being because that’s who I wanted you to be. No, you had to be better. And not just “better”. You had to be better than everyone else. Because you were different. You were special.

You were special.

I don’t think any of us thought that you’d leave us so soon. You believed with your whole heart that God was bigger than all of it. And when you couldn’t, I believed for you. We all did. We believed with you. Your faith fueled mine. I thought that one day, we’d truly would start our own ministry and you’d speak to generations under us like you’ve always dreamed and like we always talked about. Heck, Jamin even drew a silly comic about our past adventures. ‘Cuz it was awesome! And we believed it would only continue. I believed I would always see you in the front row, off to the side, sometimes pacing, worshipping, jumping, standing with your arms folded as you soaked in God’s presence, as I would lead worship from the stage. And that you’d live out your dream impacting people and inspiring them to live wholehearted lives to God. You just wanted to see a group of people fully alive. Engaged in community and loving each other. Sharing lives. Loving God. Seeing miracles. I remember we used to always talk and “passionately discuss” how that would be accomplished. Haha. So zealous you were. You had a vision. And you knew it. And there was no time to waste.

I know that aside from ministry, and doing great things for God, you just dreamed of making a difference in simple ways. That’s what was amazing. You wanted to fall in love, get married, and have a family. You just wanted to be a dad. Gosh, how you just wanted to be a dad. You wanted to live out a life exemplifying what it looked like to really love a wife, your kids, your neighbors, your boss, on the most basic level. It didn’t have to be fanfare and a huge stage and millions of people. You just wanted to love. You wanted to show people that it was possible to live so whole, full of love, full of joy, healthy in every aspect of life and loving God all the while. How I wish I could see what that would have looked like. What a lucky wife. What lucky kids. What an awesome family you would have created. I feel the pain of not being able to see that.

I wish I could go back in time just a little bit, and look at you in the eyes, and tell you that I still care about you deeply. And get another one of your awkward hugs from you. (You got better at hugging though. I think I should take credit for that. Haha.) I know I couldn’t return the heart and love you had for me, but I still loved you. I wish I knew how to cherish your heart better than I did. But I hope you knew that I loved you. And that I didn’t give up on you. I was just too full of pride, and too afraid, too hurt, to keep going. But how I wished all the time that I’d get one of your dorky texts one day. I never stopped thinking about you.

I am so happy though. Happy that you’re free. Running. You’re probably flying. Kicking a soccerball around. Eating all the food you can get your hands on. With your favorite pairs of shoes. Yes, pairS. Haha, I won’t forget our shared passion for shoes and fluffy sweatshirts. I remember having found the Vibram Five-Finger toe shoes and coming to see you, excited to share my discovery of them, only to find out you had just found out about them, too. Haha. Stuff like that would always happen. That made me laugh. And we were going to go get some. We went, but you just couldn’t make up your darned mind because there were too many pretty colors to choose from. Haha. I’m glad you finally did. And what a good choice.

And right now you’re prolly pushing everyone in mounds of snow, tackling them in it and rubbing their faces in it. How you loved to do that… -_- and you were never gentle about it… but to make it up, you would always clear snow off my car and shared your mom’s awesome chocolate chip cookies. I did like that part :] Those were my favorite.

Watermelons will always make me think of spending every day during the summer time at your house… I got sick of them after a while. Haha.

I won’t forget the 100 mile bike rides through the neighborhood and through the park until it got super dark and we were eating bugs… with YOU leading the whole way and wearing all of us out… unbelievable… hahah…

And I won’t forget how you drove over in the middle of the night to Leann and I’s apartment when I was horribly sick, and you stood out my window with poster boards that said, “I love you! Get better soon!” with one side having only one of your crooked smiley faces drawn on it. Haha. They were always kind of crooked. Before I saw it, you told me to look out my window and I freaked out cuz I didn’t know why you were telling me to look out my window. Haha.

I’ll remember going camping with you and Leann to Lake Michigan… even in your frail health, and despite us yelling at you and telling you not to, you carried Leann on your back EVERYWHERE because she had a hurt ankle and you knew she loved being on the beach. You even went up the darned sand dune. Geez.

And I won’t forget how you surprised me for my birthday and rented out a cabin up North by the beautiful lake… just cuz you knew I needed to get away and get some fresh air…

I miss you, Jesse.

Even though I feel like a fool, coming back only after it’s too late to say all this… Thanks for sharing your life with me. For sharing your heart. For not holding back. For sharing your writings with me. For sharing your most vulnerable thoughts. For giving. And for loving me like you did. I won’t forget you. I’ll always remember you as the burly mountain man you always wanted to be, with an outrageous beard and dreads, awesome shoes, your favorite bright yellow flannel shirt, deep manly voice, laughing, and loving, and pouring your heart out to those you loved.

You truly made the most of your time, and of your life. I believe that. You fought hard.
And now you’re free.

I’ll see you soon, Jesse.

As we always used to say to each other, “Don’t do anything that I would want to do with you.”

And here’s some extra smiley faces because you loved them so much.

:] :] :] :] :] :] :] :] :] :] :] :]

Changing Tides and Church Bells

I didn’t think I’d see this day
I didn’t think I’d feel this way
At least not so soon

I didn’t want this time to come
Where I’m left with explosions
Of years in my brain

Like lightning
Thunder rolls
You can’t ignore
And there’s the flash

Strangely been waiting for it
I know it’s timely and needed

As I walk away
I know we can’t stay
The stars are pulling us for a time
They are speaking 

I haven’t lost faith
I just know things won’t be the same

So tonight I won’t close my eyes
Hoping dawn will pass us by

But there’s no use holding on so tight

Change is always bound to come
With fists and screams it may meet some
But I know we grow steady as the trees
Faithfulness and love will put us at ease

Swells of tears
Memories and years
Are being let go 

The pulse of life
Joy and strife
It’s time for the new

These nights I soak in the sounds
Of church bells ringing
Songs for the changing
and wandering mind
Finding peace in its tradition
and its constant chimes

A lot of things may come and go
Even the songs and hymns in my soul
But my heart will always remember and know
That you were my home.

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River Sound

Sometimes.
The sound of the river.
Is all you need.
For some serenity.
The simplicity.
Cool air.
Vacant stare.
Cool breath.
Summer’s death.
But hope is still beneath.
All that we can see.
So much reality.
Hidden from plain sight.
The moon and the coming night.
Questions swirling.
Thoughts twirling.
The unknown.
No control.
Let it go.
Moral compass.
On patrol.
Wanting.
Waiting.
Calming.
Walking.
And then there’s life.
All things dissipate.
Evaporate.
Concentrate.
Reaction.
Only the moment.
Stand still.
Be still.
Not alone.
I’m never alone.
You’re never alone.
Today.
Tomorrow.
Forever.

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Unedited

I am strong
I am beautiful
I am determined
I have dreams

But tonight
I will let myself feel some things

It’s one of those nights
Every song on the radio seems right
Endlessly drifting on like a kite
Into the melodic worlds in my mind
I won’t put up a fight
No, not this time

If I say all that I feel
Would it even be real
Or only exist like the Man of Steel
The run of imaginations on a picture reel
You could call it a gift or an Achilles heel

Life really throws curveballs sometimes
And all I can do is come up with rhymes
This and that and nonsensical lines
These are my only unedited times
I guess it’s all meant to grow you by design
Struggle and pain is still divine
Everything can change at the drop of a dime
Everything known could end at anytime
But tonight all I do is let out a sigh…

At the thought of accepting and letting go

I had dreams
and it was my everything
But I’ve forgotten what it all means
No, the meaning has lost me
And I think that’s a very good thing
But it has changed everything
And most of the time I’ve been ready

So back to the drawing board
And I might be onto something
I am someone new
and there’s more to this truth

The dark side of the same coin

Happiness sits in the fantasies
Although it’s more than real to me
Pulling me down like gravity
Depending on how I see
Sometimes I am floating
You were that and now I see
It can never ever really be
This kind of life for you and me
So snap back to reality

I hate waking up in the morning
Go get in touch and do some soul searching
Got me to the edge and to the reaching
As I’m falling
Longing
Beating
Breathing
Still falling
Breathe me
Feel it
Don’t
I want to
You want to
Deny it
Soak
I want you to
Be
Sing it
I won’t
You won’t
I can’t
I can’t
That’s that

Tomorrow I will be back
Like it was none of that
Tonight I forget the fact
That I know white from black
Wish I could turn back
But I don’t

I won’t have regrets
I’ve counted 100 to nothing
They will appear and disappear
Depending on how it looks in the mirror
From where I’m standing

Either way
We are still in the present day
And I’m told God loves me the same
At least that’s why I figure my heart keeps beating on
So it’ll keep dreaming on

Though I’ll fly and sink low every time you catch my eye
And I’ll say goodbye
I know more that nothing can stop me

I am strong
I am beautiful
I am determined
I have dreams

Goodbye.
Good Mourning.
And.
Good Morning.

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Old Red Chair

Old red chair
Music filling the air
Guy playing with her hair
Anger flowing from despair
Sadness doesn’t seem fair
Love is a threat he said
Alone in an empty bed
Rings true in my head
Loneliness chokes melodies
Or creates them steadily
Searching for something readily
But still left so empty
Perhaps not so different from me
I know it isn’t so far from me
At least who I used to be
Or who I think I am sometimes
We all get a little blind
To the supposed realities in our minds
But I want to know the truth
I know a greater love is the proof
John Mayer has said it well
Love is a verb
And it surely disturbs
Anything that isn’t really real
Do we really want to be free?
Do we really want to see?
I’m not so sure.
In my view is a young pair
He’s playing with her hair
And I’m breathing in the same air
As the melodies of despair
Trying to hide that I care
In this old red chair
In this old red chair

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The Sound

Again…

… awake in the middle of the night.
Turning and waiting for a sound that’s right.
Maybe a lullaby, a hum, a melody that’s sweet.
Something soft and gentle to put me to sleep.

It’s so very quiet,
But it’s still so loud.
If I lean in…
Will You blow away the doubt?

Then I hear it… I hear the sound…
It descends upon me like a gentle cloud,
Enveloping my fears and piercing through the shroud…

A voice so soothing, calm, and powerful, too…
I hear the sound,
“I love you.”

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Duty, Porn, and a Heart Transplant

By the time I was a senior in high school about to go off to college, I found out I was a very angry person. I wasn’t angry at any person(s) in particular, but more at an invisible “system”. It was the pressures and obligations I had adhered to and lived under for so most of my life.

I was a Christian, a worship leader, the oldest child of four, second oldest amongst my extended family in America, a second generation Korean-American who had the world on my shoulders.

That’s just what it felt like to me. I’m sure some of you other “second generationers” would understand.

There were family expectations, church leadership expectations, and on top of it all, as a Christian, I felt very responsible to do what was right… a.k.a Christian duties/morality. And I wrestled with the frustration of seeing so many friends and fellow Christian peers going off and doing what was blatantly wrong.

I didn’t understand.

I didn’t understand how a Christian could choose to do one thing during the week and come to church on Sunday morning to worship. It bothered me. And it angered me on the inside that that was okay. Not because I was angry at those people. I was angry that Christianity and going to church had become a joke. That it couldn’t keep my friends from living like they were and doing what they were doing. If Christianity was powerless, then I was even more so.

But, I have to admit that I was also angry that I had lived so long following the rules and trying to fulfill expectations and doing what’s right, being a “good girl”, that at times I envied their freedom. It looked like such freedom to me. Oh, to be able to do whatever you wanted without and regard for anyone or anything else! From my point of view, I felt like I was the one in bondage, doing things I didn’t want to and feeling no sense of fulfillment.

There’s a song by Avril Lavigne that goes like this:

“All my life I’ve been good, but now, oh oh oh I figure, ‘What the hell?”

It sums it up well. I wanted to rebel. Throw up my hands and say, “What the hell?”

All of the right and wrong, all the of the “God tells you to do this, this, this, this” and more importantly “…NOT do this, this, this, this, this…” was driving me crazy. My own convictions, and many voices of the adults drove me crazy. All of this pressure made me want to just give up. Why try so hard when you fail anyway?

I knew the importance of doing what was right, and to live a good life, but the more I tried to do what I knew I should do, I would get frustrated because even my best attempts sucked. More importantly, I didn’t really know for what reason I was living like this. Was it to please God? To maintain my reputation? To please my parents? I didn’t know anymore if it was worth it.

People would praise me, would praise my parents, would compliment them and even express some jealousy in that they did a good job raising such a wonderful first-born daughter who was a good Christian and a great example, but I wasn’t feeling any sense of fulfillment whatsoever. And still, the more I continued, the more I seemed to fail the standard. So what difference would it make? Everyone else was living just fine doing whatever they wanted. So why did I have to carry such burdens?

Christianity and my life as a whole was lived out of a sense of duty. I did things because I knew I ought to. It’s what a good Christian girl would do. Moral, law abiding, manner minding, polite, patient, obedient.

But like the song lyrics implies, it wasn’t really what I wanted to do. I thought I was doing it because I wanted to, but the resentment and frustration told me otherwise. The good I was doing was out of a sense of duty and fear of punishment, but never out of true desire.

On top of all this, even if my life looked pretty clean on the outside because I was doing the right things, my heart was far from perfect. I knew that so well.

No matter how hard I tried to stay away and be “good”, I struggled with pornography. I wouldn’t consider myself to have been extremely addicted at all (like stories of people losing sleep, missing school, stealing money, lying to do it), but something that was introduced to me by someone out of curiosity became a thing that I secretly gained relief from life with.

I knew it was wrong. But, it didn’t stop me. I didn’t understand that either.

Honestly, I was repulsed by a lot of it. But my desire for something more, something deeper, something more intimate, pleasurable, real desire, turned into looking at people and watching meaningless sex.

Though it wasn’t every night, or every day even, maybe a few times a month or a streak of a few days and not going back for another several weeks or months, it still ate at my heart, my conscience, and the guilt just grew heavier and heavier. And it didn’t help my struggles with identity and sexuality either. Yes, I even went through a time where I questioned my sexuality.

I was so confused. So so so confused.

Looking back, this is so sad to me.

Why? Not because sin is horrible and pornography or homosexuality is gross and so wrong, but because while this was my past, it is the present for many, many, many Believers. Yes, Christians.

Christians are the LAST people who should be living like this. And I’m not even really emphasizing the part about living in sin, but I’m more talking about living out of obligation, duty, and fear.

We think that we can live out of knowing what we should do and what God has told us to do, somehow sacrificing our lives because Jesus sacrificed His for us, feeling the pressure of living pure and sinless lives, living in obligation, and doing good things like feeding the poor and loving your neighbor, following the law, etc., and that our sustaining motivation for living a good Christian life would be that “Jesus paid your debt and now you owe Him one.”

But…

– Morality is not righteousness.

– Doing what is right, is not righteousness. Nor is it “pursuing” righteousness.

– Not sinning, is not holiness.

– Not looking at porn/not having sex before marriage, is not purity.

– Doing good things, is not Christianity.

– Being a good person, does not please God.

– Doing what you’re told, is not true obedience.

How? Why? Am I being outrageous?

All of those things – righteousness, holiness, purity, goodness, pleasure, fulfillment – can be summed up into only one thing, or one person, rather… JESUS. It’s ONLY faith in Him that you can be any of these. And now you’re like, “yeah, yeah of course! But we still need to do our part after you get saved!”

While I can go into explaining this more in depth, I’ll just do it briefly for now.

You can be moral but not know righteousness. Being moral, nor doing what you know is right, doesn’t make you right with God. And the Holy Spirit is not your conscience (that’s a whole other topic).

Holiness is not gritting your teeth and abstaining from all the bad things in the world. Holiness is to be completely set apart. It’s not about being segregated from “sinners”, but about belonging. It is completely and fully belonging to God. That means it takes a lot more than not doing a,b,c,d… even perfectly to the tee.

Purity is innocence. It’s freedom. It’s freedom from guilt and evil. You’ve probably never heard it that way before. It’s not abstinence, not not-drinking, not not-smoking, not not-watching rater R movies, etc.

Goodness is God. Only God is good. Your good deeds don’t give you brownie points. Nor is the mark of what it means to be a Christian. No matter how good of a person you are, you will never be able to please Him. Anyone can be a “good” person according to our human definition.

Obedience is SO over emphasized in the wrong way. It is shouted over love. Obedience was never meant to emphasize duty and doing things because you were told to. Obedience is joyful submission to the one who lives inside of you. It is love. It is passion. Which in reality is the ONLY way to live or to have life, whatsoever. And most importantly, it’s not void of desire or pleasure.

All of this is only found in the person and work of Jesus Christ. Jesus didn’t come to earth to teach us how to do it like He did it, to make us nicer, to make people be better versions of themselves, etc. He came to DIE, and to display God’s power. The ultimate power to remove sin completely from our lives. It’s by Him dying on the cross that has made everything I said true and a reality for us, instead of just a mere possibility.

How? Because Christianity is not behavior modification. It’s a HEART TRANSPLANT.

“I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; and I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.” Ezekiel 36:26

The Prophet Ezekiel foretold how God had decided to handle Israel’s sin problem – and ultimately the sin of the world. It wouldn’t be more laws, better disciplinary measure, more wrath, more rewards. He knew the human heart would resist all because it was taken over by an invisible master – Sin. Sin had driven our hearts to be decayed, cold, impenetrable, and unresponsive. In other words, you could say our hearts were full of cancer. It was dead toward God. The only option, a plan that was put into motion since the beginning of all creation, would be the removal of the source of the problem and replace it with something better. He gave His people a new heart.

Gee golly WHIZ!

Don’t miss this glorious truth! It is a truth that makes Christianity distinct! Jesus didn’t just save us from Hell. He was the only one with the power to make us completely NEW. He gave us His Son to display love and power through Him dying on the cross, and then gave us His Spirit who lives inside of us!

With a brand new heart that the Holy Spirit lives inside, we have brand new desires, a brand new identity, a brand new home, a new language, hope, life, and the ability to know and have LOVE, joy, and peace! And if the Holy Spirit lives inside of me in this new heart, then that means He has made Himself one with me! The old and new cannot take up one space!

This is how I was truly set free.

I believe this the answer to all addictions, and even homosexuality.

My struggle with pornography didn’t disappear no matter how hard I tried. I fasted, I prayed, I confessed it to my closest friends, I did all that I knew to do. But it still overtook me. If pornography itself didn’t, the guilt did. And so it continued on through college. Trying to fall more in love with Him doesn’t take it away either. I’ve worshipped for hours. I’ve prayed that I would only desire Him. I encountered Him in powerful ways and it did fade and lessen, but it was still there, and I knew it. And it would taunt me and tempt me over and over. It would cause me to further struggle within myself with so many other issues that made me wonder if I could truly ever get free. And then just pile on all my insecurities, fears, mistakes, etc., that wasn’t necessarily “sin”. That’s a lot to try to fix. It seemed hopeless.

And then I discovered this truth.

Only this gloriously good news is what set me free. Because what I was really believing underneath all of that struggle was that I would be a sinner forever, that my heart would remain full of sin and weak to temptations, and my struggle would be a lifelong one. No one told me that my sinfulness and my old identity was actually ripped out of me on the cross, making me a brand new creation altogether.

When I accepted this truth, I found my desires to be completely revamped and replaced. And I, myself, did NOTHING to produce this except believe in Jesus. I started to believe who the Bible says I am. Holy. Righteous. Blameless. Good. Pure. Innocent. Clean. New. Because of Him. All given to me by His grace. By grace through faith.

When most people hear teachings on grace they freak out because what translates in their minds is that I’m saying it’s a free for all, doing whatever you want, however you want. They are happy to accept that everything that we were given through Jesus was by grace, but now on earth as Christians, we must continue to live in pursuit of living righteously, obediently, dutifully, morally, holy, pure, etc., everything we talked about earlier. It’s repulsive to think that we could be exempt from doing “our part”. So if grace is preached at all, it is a pick-me-up when you fall, or an empowerment to go through certain things in life. Christianity then, is somehow understood as a lifelong process of getting “closer” to Him by seeking oneness and communion by the things you do and the ways you serve, working really hard to become like Him, in which you never really expect to arrive.

On the other side of the fence are those who think that Grace really is a free-for-all. That because “God will love you just as you are” you are truly free from religion and can go around spatting in people’s faces who have lived by or still live by the Do’s and Don’t’s. That’s pride.

And neither of those is God’s grace.

Real grace is the very essence of God. It’s not just an attribute that you see every once in a while. Nor is it just a doctrine. It’s not God looking away and letting things slide because He is remembering Jesus’ death on the cross. Grace is the only reason why we are alive and continue breathing.

This example will cover both sides.

By grace you were made Holy. Not by you living life and following the Do’s and Don’t’s of Christianity. And not for a moment or just partially. Just like how by grace you were saved. Period. Completely. Not partially. By His grace He took out the old heart, gave you a new one. When He did that, He didn’t save you from Hell, He took sin away, and gave you holiness.

To live in God’s grace is to live in Him BY living as who you were made to be, which is holy. The new heart is holy. So grace and holiness cannot be separated. To accept His grace is to live according to the truth. Only according to the truth.

To preach grace is to proclaim God’s favor to all people. It is to preach the Good News that God has made a way for us to be with Him. For free. That it’s a gift. And that we can live a full, happy, joyful life with Him on earth.

Real grace is not an excuse or a license to do whatever you want. By grace you were set free, but true freedom is not doing whatever you want, nor is it an escape from what we think of as obligation, duty, or morality.

It’s a joyful embracing of it because it’s overflowing out of who you are. 

No longer is it obligation, duty, or mere morality, but now our lives are overflowing joy, love, peace, patience, kindness, etc., because God gave us NEW hearts that are righteous, holy, and pure! It is overflowing out of who we are! It’s easy! It’s effortless! It’s amazing! That is true freedom!

Romans 15-18 (The Message):

So, since we’re out from under the old tyranny, does that mean we can live any old way we want? Since we’re free in the freedom of God, can we do anything that comes to mind? Hardly. You know well enough from your own experience that there are some acts of so-called freedom that destroy freedom. Offer yourselves to sin, for instance, and it’s your last free act. But offer yourselves to the ways of God and the freedom never quits. All your lives you’ve let sin tell you what to do. But thank God you’ve started listening to a new master, one whose commands set you free to live openly in his freedom!”

Freedom is knowing that we were made new and effortlessly allowing Jesus to live through us. Freedom is having a new master, Mr. Goodness Himself, living right inside of us. And all this is only possible through that Heart Transplant.

So now here’s me wrapping this all up.

There is nothing we can do to please God. And there is nothing we can do to disappoint Him. Our relationship with Him isn’t dependent on us. It never was. Otherwise, we would never have one. There is no amount of sacrifice, no amount of obedience, no amount of doing good that would prove our worthiness to Him. Because simply put, we are not worthy.

He doesn’t even expect us to “sacrifice”, “kill ourselves”, “purge ourselves”, “obey” like it’s our job in order for Him to be pleased, or “move”, or for us to made holy. He just expects us to believe and to trust with a child-like dependence in Jesus. Joy becomes the response to all of this. It’s easier than we imagined!

Allowing our lives to burn with His love and allowing Him to live through us is the joy and beauty of the true Christian life. Because it’s not about what we can do to prove that we were worth it to Him. It’s allowing ourselves to be completely taken over by the truth that, “It is not I who live, but Christ who lives in me.” (Gal. 2:20)

I think that even to say we need to have a “relationship” with God is a still a shallow way of expressing the truth. A relationship implies two people, two separate beings trying to communicate, live, and work things out. But in reality it is not Jesus plus me, it is Jesus inside of me, who is living, and therefore I live! Every part of me is interwoven into Him. There is no separation. All of me is all of Him. We are one. It’s a mystical, supernatural thing that happened on the cross. There is no more trying to live focused on your performance and trying to please a far off entity outside separate from who is inside you.

Galatians 19-21 (The Message):

What actually took place is this: I tried keeping rules and working my head off to please God, and it didn’t work. So I quit being a “law man” so that I could be God’s man. Christ’s life showed me how, and enabled me to do it. I identified myself completely with him. Indeed, I have been crucified with Christ. My ego is no longer central. It is no longer important that I appear righteous before you or have your good opinion, and I am no longer driven to impress God. Christ lives in me. The life you see me living is not “mine,” but it is lived by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. I am not going to go back on that.

Is it not clear to you that to go back to that old rule-keeping, peer-pleasing religion would be an abandonment of everything personal and free in my relationship with God? I refuse to do that, to repudiate God’s grace. If a living relationship with God could come by rule-keeping, then Christ died unnecessarily.”

From beginning to end, it is HIM. It is His work, His life, His sacrifice for us that has made all the difference necessary. Our complete victory, identity, righteousness, sanctification, freedom, is all HIM. Not just in Him. It is Him, who has come to live inside.

Because of this truth, I am filled with real and genuine desire, love, and joy for Him and am now living out a life from my heart, as the person who God truly created me to be. I am confident and full of peace because I know that it is He who gave me a new heart and now works in me completely and causes me to continue fully and completely dependent on His grace, with complete faith and satisfaction in Him. A life with God is immensely enjoyable.

My dream is that more Christians would be able to live in the simplicity of the Gospel, simplicity of Jesus, and the pleasure of being His. Let’s see real Christians living in this power, and message of His grace, living lives that shout to the rest of the world that what Jesus did was really more wonderful than we could even imagine. Let’s see a people totally enraptured by His love and living so joyfully in Him, overflowing life, love, and truth from out of the core of who they are, transforming the face of the earth with such ecstatic news of His love!

Wooohooo, His Kingdom is really here!! Let’s spread this Good News!😀

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