Does life seem like an uphill struggle with no breaks? In this three-part series, Joseph Prince shows you how a simple shift in your thinking can greatly transform your life. Whether it’s your personal walk with God, a life of good success for you and your loved ones, or freedom from destructive lifestyles, see how believing right about God sets you on a glorious path to victory.
BEYOND BREAKING BONDAGES TO WALKING TALL
Believing the truth of God’s grace doesn’t just break addictions and bondages. It also totally transforms our Christian walk. Many believers, though they have been saved for many years, live in misery. Because they’ve believed preaching that paints God as a God of strict laws, punishment and anger, they feel like they can never be good enough for God. They live their lives not as His beloved children enjoying an intimate, loving relationship with Him, but as slaves trying to please Him all the time in an effort to earn His love. No child of God can truly enjoy his relationship with God if he thinks he has to constantly work for God’s love and approval.
This was indeed the case for Stanley, a brother from Alabama. He shared:
For twenty years after being saved, I struggled with trying to be a good Christian. I was discouraged and at the point of giving up being a Christian. Some Sundays at church, I thought that I did not deserve to sit with the other saints because I was not holy enough. So I would sit at the back. I was so close to not going back to church anymore!
I grew to dislike myself and thought that Jesus did not love me because I was not living up to His expectations. Finally, I told Jesus, “I cannot do this! I need You to help me! Why waste Your time with me?”
One day, during your broadcast, I saw one of your books being highlighted. To this day, I believe that the Holy Spirit did not let me go but encouraged me to get that book. I felt like I had to hunt the book down and read it. And after reading the book in 2012, I felt like an 800-pound gorilla was taken off my shoulders!
This brother sure has a way with words! But what an apt description of the burden one carries when one is always trying to please a God whom one thinks is constantly dissatisfied and faultfinding. Stanley went on to share that since then, he has learned so much about God’s grace and his Savior’s love for him. This has freed him from wrong beliefs about God and hence his miserable Christian walk. Stanley ended his testimony by sharing how these days, he no longer feels unworthy to be in church, and looks forward to going to church and freely worshiping the Lord with joy and gratefulness.
When you change your wrong beliefs about God, your life will be changed forever.
Beloved, can you see how believing right that God is a God of grace and love, and not a God of legalism and judgment, can transform your life, including your walk with God? It all begins with right believing. Stanley changed his wrong beliefs about who God really is and his life was changed forever. So if you’ve been miserable trying to please whom you believe is an angry God, stop! God’s not one bit like this. Like Stanley, begin to believe in a God of love and grace, and experience the joy of salvation, hope, and peace flooding your soul once more!
HOW TO BE HAPPIER, HEALTHIER, YOUNGER
Sally, a sister living in New Jersey, is another fine example of how God’s grace is able to thoroughly transform and re-fire one’s life. She shared how what she had been taught about God in her previous church had left her in the grip of condemnation, such that just the thought of church would bring on fear and tears. She also couldn’t bear to read the Bible because for so long, she had only heard teaching from the Bible that was “condemning, fault-finding, and accusatory.”
But all this misery and torment ended when she chanced upon an excerpt of my sermon on YouTube, and began to believe right about who God really is, His love, and His great sacrifice for her. She wrote:
In your message, you explained how the lamb was used as a sacrifice in ancient Israel to justify those who broke God’s laws. As I heard it, I couldn’t help but cry. I finally understood, without a doubt, that I am justified by the blood of the Lamb of God, Christ, even though I am still not perfect in my conduct! My life changed so dramatically after that episode.
Sally became so hungry for more of this liberating truth that she searched for and watched all of my sermons that she could get a hold of, on whatever media they were available. And the Bible, God’s Word, became so dear to her. She also shared:
The years of living under condemnation had caused me to age very quickly. But now, I’m looking more and more youthful and feeling energetic. I’ve learned to rest in Jesus, and even the pain and discomfort I was feeling all over my body disappeared without me realizing it. Your preaching of Jesus and His loveliness has caused me to focus on the Lord Himself. I was so preoccupied, so captivated by His beauty that I’d forgotten about the pain, and the pain left on its own.
Since I started to pursue His righteousness instead of mine, I’m also always at the right place at the right time to experience miracles. They are too many for me to include here but they range from big issues like buying or selling our house or finding a new job, to small, trivial matters like getting our cat temporary lodging during our move.
It is just amazing to live a life under the abundance of His grace and gift of righteousness! Thank you for expounding on the beauty of Christ and the perfection of His finished work. It is the knowledge of Jesus Himself that lifted me out of deep depression and despair to a path of joy, peace, and hope. It’s the best thing that has ever happened in my life!
Praise the Lord! By believing and receiving the abundance of His grace and gift of righteousness, Sally began experiencing the fulfillment of Psalm 103:2–5: “Bless the Lord, O my soul; and forget not all His benefits: who forgives all your iniquities, who heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from destruction, who crowns you with lovingkindness and tender mercies, who satisfies your mouth with good things, so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.”
Believing in a legalistic God who was disappointed with her, and living under the heavy burden of guilt and condemnation, caused Sally to feel tired and look old. But as she began to believe right that the Lord had justified her, forgiven her of all her sins, redeemed her life from destruction, and crowned her with His loving-kindness and tender mercies, she experienced physical and emotional healing, provision, favor, and renewal of youth. Beloved, this can also happen for you.
IT ALL HAS TO DO WITH GOD’S UNMERITED FAVOR
Can you see how it’s really not about what you have or have not done? It’s not about your hard work, your self-discipline, or your best efforts. It’s really all about what Jesus has done for you, and His unmerited, unearned, undeserved favor toward you. Just believing this truth can change your life, from one of struggling to survive, to one of opened doors, effortless breakthroughs, and unexpected blessings.
Believing the truth of God’s grace doesn’t just break addictions and bondages. It also totally transforms our Christian walk.
Mary, a sister from Zambia, can surely attest to that. Now living and studying in the United Kingdom (UK), she wrote to share how she was once jobless in 2009 with absolutely nothing to her name. Despite attending church, she felt unworthy to receive God’s blessings because she thought that she hadn’t done enough for God. So she decided to serve in church as much as she could to merit God’s blessings.
Then in 2011, a lady from her church gave her my book, Unmerited Favor. I’ll let her share what happened next in her own words:
As I started reading it, my eyes were opened. I realized that it was never about my effort but all about Jesus’ finished work. Slowly, I started believing the Word and began opening up to receive Jesus’ love for me.
Before I knew it, doors of opportunities opened and I received a full scholarship of £25,000 for a Masters in Management Accounting and Finance program in the UK. I was also blessed by my relative, who gave me £15,000 in cash as a gift despite the economic downturn.
It’s not about me or what I do.
I’d never imagined having the blessings that I now enjoy because I always believed I had to work extra hard to earn a living. In fact, whenever I heard of someone experiencing such blessings, I always thought that there must be something that the person had done to earn it… I can’t share this testimony without shedding tears because it’s not about me or what I do. I’m still imperfect. The only thing that has changed is a shift in my focus to see Jesus’ finished work at the cross.
As I continue looking at Jesus and His love for me, my life is so refreshed and I look forward to each new day to see what God has to say to me. I am now confidently asking God for a husband and a good home!
The hope that Mary has for her future is based squarely on Jesus and His finished work, on her “shift in focus” (or right believing) that it’s all about what He has done, and nothing about her or her works! What surer foundation can you ever have for your life? Friend, if you feel like life is an uphill struggle with no breaks, I encourage you to start believing and trusting in God’s unmerited favor. Stop believing that it’s your blood, sweat, and tears that will put you ahead. Believe in an abundantly gracious God who is on your side, who wants you to succeed without all the stress and stomach ulcers, and see Him give you all the breaks you need!