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Hello everyone! What are some of your favorite things to do on Sabbath? I like to watch nature shows, listen to music, and read! :)

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Miranda Writes: Dead Man Walking, Part 1




by Omar Miranda

The fiercest war is fought in our own minds and bodiesóbetween ourselves, God, Satan, and the world.

Last week I talked about my—and hopefully, your—two New Year’s resolutions: (1) to love God with all my heart, soul, mind, and strength, and (2) to love others as I love myself. But that’s easier said than done!

Let’s be careful not to put the cart before the horse. Before we can examine the “what” of loving God and others, we’ve got to examine the “how.” So this week, let’s discuss this question: How is it possible for me to actually get outside of myself and truly love God and others with all I’ve got?

Well, it all started with my birth. The Bible makes it really clear that I was born sinful and evil. So were you. So was everyone who was born after Adam and Eve committed the first sin on this planet. That’s a fact, just like gravity. Don’t believe me?

The Bible says: “When Adam sinned, sin entered the world. Adam’s sin brought death, so death spread to everyone, for everyone sinned. Yes, people sinned even before the law was given. But it was not counted as sin because there was not yet any law to break. Still, everyone died—from the time of Adam to the time of Moses—even those who did not disobey an explicit commandment of God, as Adam did” (Romans 5:12-14).* Romans 3:10 also puts it bluntly: “No one is righteous—not even one.” And Romans 3:23 tells us: “For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard.” That’s pretty clear, don’t you think?

Thanks to Adam and Eve, everybody who’s been born after them has been dealing with this sin problem. Adam and Eve basically traded their perfect Garden of Eden home and their close, face-to-face relationship with God for a bite of fruit (see Genesis 2:15-17 and chapter 3). So there’s no way that you and I can make it right, but Jesus Christ already made it right for us! Let’s read on.

The Bible says: “When we were utterly helpless, Christ came at just the right time and died for us sinners. Now, most people would not be willing to die for an upright person, though someone might perhaps be willing to die for a person who is especially good. But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners” (Romans 5:6-8). However, as infomercial announcers like to say: “But wait, that’s not all!”

The coolest part

Here’s the coolest part: “For the sin of this one man, Adam, caused death to rule over many. But even greater is God’s wonderful grace and his gift of righteousness, for all who receive it will live in triumph over sin and death through this one man, Jesus Christ. Yes, Adam’s one sin brings condemnation for everyone, but Christ’s one act of righteousness brings a right relationship with God and new life for everyone. Because one person disobeyed God, many became sinners. But because one other person obeyed God, many will be made righteous. . . . So just as sin ruled over all people and brought them to death, now God’s wonderful grace rules instead, giving us right standing with God and resulting in eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord (Romans 5:17-21).

So Jesus died to make everything right. If we choose to let Him and we ask Him to, He takes away our sins and gives us His righteouness in their place. In doing that, He restores that right relationship with God that Adam originally lost. You and I can be perfect again, right? The answer is an emphatic yes!

So this discussion is over, right? It shouldn’t be hard for you and me to love God and others with our whole being—but it is hard, oh so hard! At this point you might ask, “Why should it be so hard to love God and others unselfishly?”
Well, on the one hand, Jesus died for us, to give us the power and the opportunity to restore our relationship with God. He flipped the switch, so to speak, so that you and I can receive God’s power (supplied by the Holy Spirit) to think, feel, speak, act, and live in a righteous way, to do good and unselfish things. But on the other hand, we still live in sin-weakened bodies, in an evil world. We’re attacked from the outside by bad influences and Satan’s constant temptations, and we’re attacked from the inside by a lifetime of our own bad habits and desires. 

Next week we’ll discuss this struggle between good and evil in our own lives in greater detail. We’ll come to the realization that the fiercest war in the world is not being fought in Afghanistan, Iraq, or some other part of the world; it’s being fought in our own minds and bodies—between ourselves, God, Satan, and the world.

Until next time, remember these things: God’s way is always the best way. Life is full of decisions, so make yours good ones. Put God first in your life, and you can’t go wrong.

Feel free to contact me: you can e-mail me at omarmiranda@earthlink.net; or you can keep up with me on Facebook; or you can read more of my stuff on Miranda Writes, at www.insightmagazine.org; or you can check me out or send me a message at my Web site, thriveatlife.org; or you can reach me via snail mail (slow!) at the address printed below.

In Christ,
Omar Miranda, certified Christian counselor
Abundant Life Ministries
155 Earl Street
Plainville, GA 30733
Phone: 1-770-354-2912

*All Scripture quotations in this article are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright 1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

Omar Miranda is a Christian counselor with 20 years’ experience working with youth in public and private middle and high schools. He’s married and has two kids. He enjoys teaching the youth at his church, reading, writing, gardening, and camping. He’s a recovering knucklehead who spent a lot of time in the past doing stupid stuff away from God. He’s been back with God for years now and is eager to share what he’s learned from his experiences by answering any questions you may have about life, the Christian life, Jesus, spiritual matters, and relationships in his column, Miranda Writes.
 





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