There are a ton of people who shout to everyone that they are Christians. They use the Christianese dialect, they look and act the way the world expects a Christian to behave. They have the t-shirt, bumper sticker and welcome mat. But do they have the heart?
Is that you? Do you act as Christian as possible. Do you pray with people who are sick, follow every rule, and are you hardest working servant in the church, yet the relationship really isn’t there? It is a show, even for yourself. You are working hard to be Christian. Maybe you are even getting weary of the struggle to behave the right way.
You are not alone. Many people wear a mask of Christianity but have never really given up the throne of their lives to Jesus. Allowing Jesus to be your Lord is not difficult. He promised serving Him is easy and His burden is light. (Matthew 11:30). You just can’t earn salvation. It is impossible. It cannot be done.
Verses 1-3 read,
“Hear this, O house of Jacob,
who are called by the name of Israel,
and who came from the waters of Judah,
who swear by the name of the Lord
and confess the God of Israel,
but not in truth or right.
2 For they call themselves after the holy city,
and stay themselves on the God of Israel;
the Lord of hosts is his name.
3 “The former things I declared of old;
they went out from my mouth, and I announced them;
then suddenly I did them, and they came to pass.”
God is near to you. He has patiently led you and waited on you. He announced His plans from the beginning, so that when they came to fruition, you couldn’t say that it was anything or anyone other than The Lord God. Jesus was your Redeemer right from the beginning. We’re reading Isaiah together, written hundreds of years before Jesus was born and He is spoken about throughout the book. God did that so that you would know, so you would understand He is the Messiah sent to deliver you from bondage to laws and oppression from the enemy.
You were made by God the Creator of the Universe. He loves you and waits patiently for you to give into His love. He has allowed you to go through some difficult times, not because He is punishing you but because He is preparing you, purifying you, and perfecting you. When you finally give in and accept the gift of salvation instead of trying to earn it, you will shine, you will glorify the Lord God. You’ve been working so hard to try and be what you think He wants you to be. Put down the weight of your struggle and realize you can’t do it. Only Jesus can make you righteous and new. Only Jesus can save you.
Verses 9-11 read,
““For my name's sake I defer my anger,
for the sake of my praise I restrain it for you,
that I may not cut you off.
10 Behold, I have refined you, but not as silver;
I have tried you in the furnace of affliction.
11 For my own sake, for my own sake, I do it,
for how should my name be profaned?
My glory I will not give to another.”
You are not God, you can’t save yourself. All the good things you do are not meant to bring your name light but His. When you try to earn your salvation through being good, you are only trying to glorify yourself. Even if you are out there begging people to come to Jesus, if you are doing it so that He will look down on you and say, “You are good,” you are trying to lift yourself up, not Jesus.
Verses 16-18 say,
“Draw near to me, hear this:
from the beginning I have not spoken in secret,
from the time it came to be I have been there.”
And now the Lord God has sent me, and his Spirit.
17 Thus says the Lord,
your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel:
“I am the Lord your God,
who teaches you to profit,
who leads you in the way you should go.
18 Oh that you had paid attention to my commandments!
Then your peace would have been like a river,
and your righteousness like the waves of the sea;”
All His laws have led to Jesus. All God’s laws, when they are obeyed with the heart are about loving people. It was people who rather than heed the Law of God and Love Him with all their heart soul, mind and strength and love their neighbor as themselves, made the rules more important than the worship. They made rules about the rules in order to make sure that they were following the rules. Soon the man-made rules became more important than the Law of God.
Do you want peace like a river? Do you want righteousness that affects the world, that keeps coming and doesn’t end? Give your life to Jesus, let Him have you. Accept the gift of redemption from Him. He paid the price to free you from slavery to sin and rules. You don’t have to sweat and work for righteousness. He’ll give it to you just for asking and believing, and confessing it is Him and not you that saves you. Verse 20 reads,
“Go out from Babylon, flee from Chaldea,
declare this with a shout of joy, proclaim it,
send it out to the end of the earth;
say, “The Lord has redeemed his servant Jacob!”
You can’t save yourself. You can’t be good enough. Only Jesus can save you. Only Jesus can make you righteous.