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If you believe what you like in the gospels, and reject what you don’t like, it is not the gospel you believe, but yourself — Saint Augustine

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Appreciation for the Grace of God extended toward us

AppreciationAppreciation for something cannot be fully realized until what one has been released or excused from has been understood and recognized.

I am a native Californian. I’ve spent more time living in California than any other state. For years I took the California weather for granted. That is until I lived in a cold weather state for 2 years.

The Appreciation of Warmer Climates

I’m a warm weather person. I understand that others may like living in colder climates and I respect their right to choose where they like living. But I HATE being cold. I’m a 100 degree person. I’m a desert person. Hot weather suits me just fine.

Appreciation cannot be fully realized without the understanding and recognition of what has been paid for on our behalf.

While living in a cold weather environment, I developed an appreciation for warmer climates that I didn’t have before. This appreciation was born out of the fact that I could not fully appreciate the weather I had back home in California until I experienced what it was like to live without it.

Having lived 2 years in a harsh, colder climate, I thank God daily that He brought me back to California and the warmth that comes with living here. I have a much greater appreciation for what I have now based upon the fact that I know what it’s like living without it.

My kids are similar to me in that they are warm weather kids. They love summertime, the beach and all that comes with living in a warmer climate.

But their enjoyment of warm weather can only be appreciated to a degree. They have never had to live without warm weather therefore their appreciation of it cannot be fully realized.

Our Appreciation of the Life we have in Christ

The same is true where our life in Christ is concerned. As Christians we read the scriptures and we value the life we have in Christ but we cannot fully appreciate the life we have in Christ until we are placed in a position where we can see, understand and experience what it’s like to be sentenced to a Christ-less eternity.

We will never be able to experience the darkness, the despair, and the hopelessness that eternal separation from God brings as long as we are alive and well here on earth.

Even before we became Christians, a life lived on the lowest level of existence doesn’t compare to the darkness of eternal separation from God with no hope of redemption.

So while we praise God for His miraculous gift of salvation, we cannot possibly understand the full extent of the grace that has been extended to us.

Developing an Appreciation of our new life in Christ

To begin to develop an appreciation of the life we have in Christ, I encourage you to spend time thinking about how finite this life is. Think about how fast time seems to be passing by and think about life beyond our physical boundaries.

Think about your life after death. Think about crossing the threshold past this life and think about those who no longer have the opportunity to choose their destiny.

Think about making the transition from life to death without making Jesus Christ the Lord of your life. Think about the multiple opportunities you had to receive Jesus Christ as Lord, but you shunned Him reasoning within yourself that you had plenty of time to make Jesus the Lord of your life but you never did.

Think about the anguish, the anxiety, and the misery of knowing that the opportunity you had to accept Christ has now been taken away and the state you currently find yourself in will be the state you are destined to remain in forever.

Even the mental illustration above doesn’t render a full and complete realization of what eternal life outside of Christ will be like.

However it does give a glimpse of the amazing grace that has been extended to those who believe.

Appreciation cannot be fully realized without the understanding and recognition of what has been paid for on our behalf.

I thank God that even though I may not fully recognize, or comprehend the gift of salvation that has been provided to me through Jesus Christ, I will never have to experience what life is like without Jesus and the presence of God in my life from this point in my life on into eternity.

 

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