in this life
I just got home from camp yesterday afternoon. Once again, the North Carolina Conference never ceases to amaze me. I’m a sucker for good music and strong messages. That’s what makes me feel God’s presence. The theme this past week was “The Circle of Life”. The circle we talked about was cut like a pie into six pieces.
The first piece is baptism. When we get baptized, we admit to God that we are sinners and we believe that he is out God, maker of the heavens and he earth. We ask forgiveness for these sins, and are cleansed. That’s the basis of it, but it means so much more. We have eternity promised to us, in heaven. A place where there is no pain, no sorrow, no harmful things, just happiness in the glory of the Lord. You walk the streets of gold with people that have gone before you, people that you didn’t ever think you would see again. God sits, Jesus at his right hand, and you get to see him, all his glory. I don’t know about you, but I would love to see Jesus Christ, the only perfect being to ever live, to feel the holes in his hands, and to walk with him down the streets of gold. To see my aunt Debbie, and tell her how much we miss her. To finally get to meet Rashawn’s mom. It would be amazing to do such things, almost unimaginable. Giving your life to Christ grants you all these things and more. You live a life knowing that even when it feels like no one else is there, God is. He’s everywhere, and he listens when you talk.
The second piece is community. When all of the christian body, the baptized people, come together, you have a community. Not just a community, but a community united by the love of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. We are all connected by that one, overpowering love that is not possible to compare to anything else. The community of Christ can do anything. We feed the hungry, we clothe the homeless, we educate those who have never had the opportunity to go to school, we give money to those in need. But most importantly, we share the love of Christ with everyone we come in contact with, and that is beyond any other good deed, because when we witness, we cause people t believe. When we cause people to believe, those people get baptized. When those people get baptized, they join our community of believers, and they, too have eternal life in heaven.
The third piece of the circle is temptation. The devil tempted Jesus several times in the Bible, telling him to turn stone into bread, jump off the temple, and bow down and worship him. Jesus sis not give in to the devil, because he knew that his Father’s love was greater than anything the devil had to offer. We often get tempted by the devil to do things against God. We must overcome these temptations, even though sometimes it will be extremely difficult. God loves us no matter what, and if we ask forgiveness, we are forgiven, as long as we are sincere in our repentance and watch our actions carefully. God loves everyone, even if they do not choose to love him. We must keep our eyes open for the devils in our lives, and not give in to the temptation, and lead a good christian life.
The fourth piece of the circle is the cloud of witnesses. Hebrews 12:1 reads:
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us.”What this means is that to be close to God, we should surround ourselves with people of God, and witness to others, so they, too can join in the christian community. We must cast out anything that pulls us away from God, such as burdens and trials that we face every day in life. We must focus on the positive things in life that God has given us and run the race for him, living our lives for God and being strong in our faith. By doing this, we are healthier and we can witness to others easier without problems.
The fifth piece of the circle is reconciliation. You must be on good terms with God, and on good terms with yourself. By admitting that you have sinned and asking forgiveness for those sins, you reconcile with God. You make things right, and you are forgiven. You try not to do these things and you try to lead the best life possible. When you are right with God, everything else will fall into place. Just keep your head high, your faith strong, and your heart open.
The sixth and final piece is sending forth. After you have been baptized, join the christian community, resist the temptations of the world, become a part of the cloud of witnesses, and reconcile with God, you are sent out into the world to tell it’s people about his love and all he does for them. You are an important piece of life’s puzzle, and you can help lead someone to God, and help them spend eternity in paradise.
As my growth group leader, Rachel Moser says: “You are a beloved chile of God.” Remember this every single day, and help others see that they, too are precious children, loved by the Lord their God, who sent his son to die for their mistakes. God loves everyone, and always will. All you have to do is love him back. <3