The bumper sticker “NOT PERFECT, JUST FORGIVEN” puzzles me. It strikes me as an excuse to remain stuck in old sinful patterns. But Jesus’ life and death offer us hope for a new start.
Many say Jesus was just a good teacher, another prophet sent to show us the way. But the more we understand the true meaning of the Bible, the more we grasp the truth that Jesus took on himself our shame, fear and rebellion. In exchange he gave us his righteousness and peace and the joy of the Holy Spirit.
Joyful life in the Spirit can be ours daily as we make choices to obey Christ. This is the very purpose of his life and death, to set us free from sin to enjoy the benefits of right living. A righteous life brings joy.
God did not forgive us so that we could disregard his kindness and sin even more. His forgiveness should make us strive all the more to please him. There is no greater joy than pleasing the one we love. As followers of Jesus, we have all the power we need to experience this joy. How can you allow the Holy Spirit to guide your words, thoughts and actions?
Father, help me to experience the joy of right living.