Jesus Didn’t Come to Save the Trees

The truth can be painful

In 2011 I dated a guy who wasn’t great. I knew it too. It was a rough spot in life, one full of insecurity. During this period I walked away from the church body and kept that part of my life hidden from most of my friends. My friend Anna was one person I confided in, though. As my relationship with him progressed, Anna spoke a hard truth to me. One evening we were fishing together in a river. As I discussed my relationship issues she said something really brave. “I don’t like how stupid you act because of him.” It wasn’t long after that I ended things.

As harsh as those words may seem, they didn’t hurt. It was the exact opposite, I felt loved. Anna said these words to me because she cared about me and I knew that. She defined so well that my behavior was not in line with what I believed. As I stood in the river that day what could have turned into a painful and unproductive conversation, was a cherished memory of experiencing grace and truth at once.

She encouraged me to move on from this place because she knew what Christ had done for me.

I could come back from this and it was a relief to know I wasn’t stuck with who I was.
We are likely to have aspects of our character we are not pleased with and maybe a little bit ashamed of having. When a certain area in our lives comes up, it makes us cringe. It’s not pleasant to talk about that topic because we’re not proud of that aspect of our lives. Some of us even have multiple areas in life that make us cringe. If you have multiple areas you need to work on, you might feel that it’s too much and you can’t do anything about it. It’s a relief to know that we don’t have to stay in this place because God’s not done with us.

Jesus was sent to earth and while he lived here he set the standard to strive for. Jesus did not come to sacrifice his life so we can continue on with our habits then die and go to heaven. Jesus came to give us eternal life. Eternal life doesn’t start after we die, it starts the instant we turn to him and say “I believe in what you’ve done. Will you, please, help me?” Our mission is to emulate Christ so others can see him working in us. Our salvation, while we are here on this earth, is a process of continually seeking out Christ and building our character to match his.

Jesus is our way out

Jim Rohn once said, >“If you don’t like something, change it. You are not a tree.” This means we have the ability to move forward and don’t have to stay where we are. Jesus has set a standard as a target to aim for and has given us every tool available to move toward a more Christ-like character. He left us stories to learn from and people to help us along the way. More importantly, he left us with the Holy Spirit to guide us. We don’t have to stay stagnant because he has gracefully provided a way out.

Done well, when someone speaks the truth to us it’s only a sting. If truth is spoken to us in haste, it can cause damage. Their haste is no reason to stay where we are at, though. We have the ability to move forward because the grace that God has provided to us. There is so much joy to be had and freedom to be lived out because you are not a tree and you can change. You are a person that Jesus died for.

He didn’t just die for you to go to heaven. He died so you can have life, right here and now.

written by: Samantha Warner, February 2017

 


samantha-warner-pictureSamantha is a Michigan native who was adopted by Ohio several years ago. Samantha writes content marketing and product descriptions. She holds a BA in Sociology from The Ohio State University.

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