All Christians Deserve Happiness & Health?

Deserve to be Punished?
No! You Can be Happy & Resist Sickness

By Grantley Morris

No matter how evil you might have been, humanityís Judge declares to the entire universe that on the cross he swapped places with you to give you peace, and all good things.





It is sometimes unconscious, but many of us remain miserable Ė and perhaps even sick Ė because, deep down, we fear we might not deserve to be happy.

Modern medical science is becoming increasingly aware that oneís mental state heavily impacts oneís susceptibility to illness. The Bible affirms this medical reality:

    Proverbs 17:22 A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.

    Proverbs 18:14 A manís spirit sustains him in sickness, but a crushed spirit who can bear?

We can wither inside; worrying that no one could truly love us if our darkest secrets were exposed. But each of us can burst out of that shriveled existence and enjoy life like never before. What it takes is a deeper revelation of how Godís love soars incomprehensibly beyond fickle human love and how he washes clean our past, removing our every cause of shame, the moment we trust him to do so. It is because God passionately wants you to be happy and enjoy life that the Bible keeps urging you to rejoice (Philippians 4:4; 1 Thessalonians 5:16; James 1:2; 1 Peter 4:13).

The Israelites provoked the Holy Lord exceedingly by rejecting their God and abandoning themselves to the worship of hideous false gods. They ended up exiled from the Promised Land. But no matter how abandoned they might have felt at times and how much they deserved it, God never deserted them. Not only did he bring them back to their land, look at how he treated them:

    Isaiah 51:11 The ransomed of the LORD will return. They will enter Zion with singing; everlasting joy will crown their heads. Gladness and joy will overtake them, and sorrow and sighing will flee away.

When Ezra expounded the Scriptures to these returned exiles, the throngs wept, presumably under deep conviction of their sin, but note the leadersí divinely inspired response:

    Nehemiah 8:9-10 Then Nehemiah the governor, Ezra the priest and scribe, and the Levites who were instructing the people said to them all, ďThis day is sacred to the LORD your God. Do not mourn or weep.Ē For all the people had been weeping as they listened to the words of the Law. Nehemiah said, ďGo and enjoy choice food and sweet drinks, and send some to those who have nothing prepared. This day is sacred to our Lord. Do not grieve, for the joy of the LORD is your strength(Emphasis mine.)

Gripped by an awareness of their wickedness, the people wanted to agonize over their sin. They felt like being miserable, and to us this seems highly appropriate and even holy, but God saw things entirely differently. He wanted these grief-stricken sinners to throw a party, celebrating and enjoying themselves! This is the God of the Bible, even though we find it so hard to grasp because it seems the opposite of how most of us think of God.

The Lord wanting them to throw a party when they felt they deserved to be miserable reminds me of Jesusí famous parable of the son who acted atrociously. You remember the story. Not even waiting for his father to die, he demands his inheritance and sells up his portion of the family farm that had been theirs for who knows how many generations. Even after his fatherís death, that would have been a travesty. Then this ungrateful, irresponsible fool abandons his family, leaving them not only to try to stagger on after the crushing financial and emotional blow he had inflicted, but depriving his father of years of loving labor he should have poured into the family business Ė work his father had gladly done for the prodigalís grandfather, his grandfather had done for his great-grandfather, his great-grandfather had done . . . You get the picture. Then, for the final insult, instead of valuing the proceeds of the assets and heritage he had callously stripped from the family farm, he atrociously squanders it all on prostitutes and riotous living. Only when the inevitable happens and heís left with no better alternative does he consider returning to the father he has hurt beyond measure. He despondently trudges home in utter defeat, knowing he deserves nothing but his fatherís wrath and contempt. Having irreparably disgraced the family name and blown the inheritance, he has lost all right to be treated as a son. He is merely clinging to a thread of hope that just maybe his father might be so forgiving as to take him on as a hired hand. Bracing himself for a stormy, if not violently hostile reception, he suddenly finds himself kissed and in his fatherís loving arms, before he can even start his well-rehearsed apology. Despite his protestations that he doesnít deserve it, he is showered with gifts and honor. Not only is his father not ashamed of him, the father butchers the prized calf for a feast and throws a party, so that everyone could rejoice with him in celebrating his sonís return (Luke 15:11-32).

That extravagant celebration is how God feels when you mess up big time and return to him. Donít be a party pooper. Make Godís day by having a ball.

You might be certain that you deserve to miss out on happiness and be punished, but, like it or not, God wants you to party. No matter how hard it might be for you to get your head around it, the mind-boggling reality is that since Jesus bore every trace of punishment you deserve, you now deserve bliss. Everything within you might scream in protest against this, but as much as you might recoil, you must embrace this truth to honor the one who gave his all to give us all. Donít let the indescribable horrors Jesus suffered be in vain. Enjoy life to the max. You owe it to God.

To think we deserve less happiness than some other people is an illusion, often caused by a distorted conscience or by being brainwashed in our impressionable years by people who did not show us genuine love as freely and selflessly as God loves us. The full truth, however, is devastatingly worse and astoundingly better than we dare think.

Without Christ, even the most saintly person alive deserves endless punishment for his or her sins. All of us Ė saint and sinner alike Ė are in this same dire predicament. But none of us need be without Christ. Jesus took upon himself every agonizing shred of punishment we deserve by being tormented on our behalf. How dare we insult God by acting as if Jesus did not suffer enough, and that we need to suffer further punishment or hardship to make up for the ďinadequacyĒ of Jesusí torture!

God declares that through faith in his sacrifice we spiritually merge with Jesus, the Holy One, and through this supernatural event we become the righteousness of God. Hereís where God puts it in black and white:

    2 Corinthians 5:21 God made him who had no sin [Jesus] to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

The Bible insists that through your faith in Christ dying in your place, God totally eradicates your every shameful mistake and failure. This is Jesusí undeserved gift to you, received through faith in his power to forgive (Ephesians 2:8). Simply by trusting that Jesus has already suffered the full consequences of your sin, he gets your imperfection and you get the perfection of his righteousness.

The apostle Paul confided that he had tossed into the garbage all his impressive moral achievements and colossal efforts to gain Godís approval. In seeking Godís acceptance, he trashed all claim to his devout, sacrificial living being taken into consideration. He threw all this away in order to be found ďnot having a righteousness of my own . . . but that which is through faith in Christ Ė the righteousness that comes from God and is by faithĒ (Philippians 3:4-9).

It is a level playing field: both the very best and the very worst of us must abandon faith in our moral achievements, in favor of trusting solely in the divine purity that Jesus bestows on anyone who sees the need for it. In fact, the only people able to gain divine righteousness are those who regard themselves as so morally defiled as to be beyond human help. There is no hope for the self-righteous or those who imagine they can reform themselves.

This truth is emphasized over and over in Godís Word. For example:

    Luke 18:10-14 Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood up and prayed about himself: ĎGod, I thank you that I am not like other men Ė robbers, evildoers, adulterers Ė or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.í But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, ĎGod, have mercy on me, a sinner.í I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.

Jesus revealed that the most critical thing in our entire spiritual lives is how much we love God (Matthew 22:36-38) and that those who love God the most are those who have been forgiven the most (Luke 7:42-43,47). We are all equally unworthy of total forgiveness but those who love God the most Ė and so delight God the most Ė are those who are most grateful for their forgiveness. Letís get very practical. How grateful we are Ė and how much we end up loving God Ė depends on two things: how aware we are that God truly does forgive all sin, and how convinced we are of the magnitude of our sin. So if you think yourself the worst of sinners, that gives you the edge over the rest of us, provided you believe that Christís sacrifice is powerful enough to cleanse you.

By abandoning faith in your attempts to please God, and swapping it for faith in Jesusí ability to please God on your behalf, you end up with Godís righteousness. There can be no greater righteousness or holiness or purity in the universe than the righteousness of God, and this is yours, simply by trusting in the spiritual transaction that took place when Jesus swapped places with you by dying for the sins of the world.

Since you are declared by God to have Godís righteousness, to consider yourself to be still worthy of misery, deprivation, or some other form of punishment is an insult both to Christ who was tortured to death for your sin and to the righteousness of God.

The Bible uses a huge range of different words to describe what has happened to your sin. It says, to cite some of its expressions, that your sin has been taken away, wiped out, blotted out, swept away, not remembered, unable to be found, removed as far as the east is from the west, trampled on and hurled into the depths of the sea, crucified, done away with, pardoned, forgiven, cleansed, washed, made as white as snow (Scriptures). This is why heaven declares you worthy of happiness.

Feelings and reality can be opposites. Some people who are perfectly safe feel terrified in the presence of a harmless little spider. Some highly intelligent people feel stupid. Some passionately loved people feel unlovable. Some astoundingly successful people feel failures. And on and on we could go. If you, through simple faith, are spiritually one with Christ, every trace of your past failures, immorality and shameful acts has been completely scrubbed out, leaving you crystal pure in the eyes of God himself, and yet you can feel so guilty that you can barely live with yourself. As Godís forgiven one, you are the object of infinite love but could feel unlovable. You could feel a total failure even though through Christ you are a success in heavenís eyes, exalted by the risen Lord to a status higher than any non-Christian hero, mega star or genius.

It is immensely comforting Ė even exhilarating Ė to realize that regardless of how much you might happen to despise yourself, the Judge of all humanity is so tenderly disposed toward you, so unshakably loyal to you and so committed to your happiness that he surrendered his right to heavenly bliss and honor and instead chose to be tormented and humiliated to death so that you might spend eternity enjoying heavenís pleasures with him.

No matter what others might think of you, there is only one Person whose opinion really counts. He alone knows everything, has perfect moral standards and is not only your Judge but decides the eternal destiny of every person on this planet, And the one Person whose opinion really counts believes in you and declares you worthy of endless love, joy, peace, goodness, and honor.

Letís be very clear about this: Jesus is our Judge.

    John 5:22 Moreover, the Father judges no one, but has entrusted all judgment to the Son

    Acts 10:40-42 but God raised him from the dead on the third day . . . he is the one whom God appointed as judge of the living and the dead.

    Romans 2:16  . . . the day when God will judge menís secrets through Jesus Christ . . .

The truth that Jesus is humanityís Judge is emphasized over and over in Scripture (more examples). If Jesus is our Judge and is so passionately devoted to our happiness, why do we dishonor God by acting as if we are our Judge? Why do we disregard Jesusí view of us and judge ourselves harshly, as if our standards were more lofty and valid than those of our holy Lord?

As children and rightful heirs of the King of kings, we are royalty of a far higher order than any earthly king. In fact, through Christ you have not just been born into the royal family but, as impossible as it seems, you are born into the divine family. And this makes you worthy of riches beyond comprehension:

    Romans 8:32 He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all Ė how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?

But this does not mean we should act like spoilt brats. On the contrary, we should act like the King himself, who willingly sacrificed everything in the hope of saving others from hell.

Jesus relinquished opulent ease to dwell among us. Did he deserve to be placed in a feed box in a cow shed? When King Herod tried to murder baby Jesus and when, later in life, many people accused him of being demonic and some wanted him dead, he was not getting what he deserved, but suffering the consequences of living on this fallen planet.

Our Lord exposed himself to the pain, shame and deprivation of living with sinful humanity because by so doing he could bless many people. Likewise, you and I, rather than being immediately whisked away to heavenly bliss, suffer the consequences of living among sinful humanity. And like Jesus, this is not because you donít deserve heaven, luxury and bliss, but because God believes in you, as you believe in his Eternal Son. God knows that through you continuing your temporary residence here, you Ė yes, YOU Ė can bless people. You might not believe that, but God does. He has far more faith than you in the eternally significant things you can achieve in this world through partnership with him.

Every moment we stay on earth, we risk deprivations and suffering that we would never have in heaven but it gives us the opportunity to eternally rescue others and/or help hurting people.

Suppose a Christian who has a very hard life has a tragic accident with a feather duster and is tickled to death. Instantly, he awakes from death to find himself luxuriating in heaven, enjoying otherworldly pleasures. Did that fatal brush with a feather duster suddenly make him worthy of a total transformation of circumstances? Of course not. Since being tickled to death is not a particularly great spiritual achievement, he must have been just as worthy of heavenís joys before he died, as he was after death. Death just ushered him in to his rightful inheritance. His time on earth was simply a delay in him receiving the full benefits Jesus earned for him by swapping places with him on the cross.

So if, through your spiritual union with Christ, you will go to heaven when you die, you are worthy of heaven right now, no matter what your current trial.

The Eternal Son of God obviously deserves to be honored and admired by everyone and to have countless thousands of angels responding instantly to his every wish. He deserves peace, ease, comfort, luxury and every good thing. And so do you; not because of what you have done but because of who you are in Christ Ė Godís child. Just as Jesus is Godís precious child, so are you, the moment you accept his gift. Just as Jesus is the rightful heir of all of Godís honor, power and riches, so he has made you:

    Romans 8:16-17 The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are Godís children. Now if we are children, then we are heirs Ė heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ . . .

    Galatians 4:7 So you are no longer a slave, but a son; and since you are a son, God has made you also an heir.

Letís Get Real

Spiritually, all Christians are billionaires, but most of us live tragically impoverished lives because we neither realize how rich we are, nor know how to access those riches. The rest of this webpage is of extreme importance because it explains how to remedy this tragedy.

Many of us think we know we are forgiven but we still end up sabotaging our health, happiness, rest and prosperity because our belief in Godís forgiveness is far shallower than we realize. Unless we work hard at getting the truth deep into our spirit, transforming our preconceived ideas, reprogramming the deep-seated effects of our upbringing, and counteracting all other damaging influences in our lives, spiritual truth will be as superficial as a coat of paint. We can be as covered with liberating truth as a newly painted car is with paint, and yet, no matter how impressive it looks, it can have little more effect on our well-being than a carís paintwork affects how well the car runs.

To be so profoundly transformed that not even the hidden depths of our lives can hold us back, we cannot treat God as some add-on to our lives; he must be our life.

    Galatians 2:20  . . . I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. . . .

    Philippians 1:21 For to me, to live is Christ . . .

    Colossians 3:4  . . . Christ, who is your life . . .

For God to be our life, he must be our top priority, our driving passion, our deepest love, our reason for getting up of a morning.

    Psalms 37:4 Delight yourself in the LORD and he will give you the desires of your heart.

    Matthew 5:6 Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.

    Matthew 6:33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.

    Matthew 6:24 No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. . . .

    Matthew 22:37  . . . Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.

To allow our wonderful Lord to keep raising us to our full heavenly potential, our entire lives must revolve around him. He must be our best friend, our haven when anxious, the one we most want to celebrate with, and the one we most want to be with when we kick off our shoes and relax.

In getting spiritual truths into every part of us that needs it, the first step is discovering and comprehending each truth. We need divine help with this, not just because only an act of God can cure the spiritual blindness that plagues every human, but because the truths we most need are usually the very ones we can least accept because they clash with our preconceptions. Note from the following how revelation concerning the divine truth of Jesusí teaching hinges upon a willingness to do Godís will.

    John 7:17 If anyone chooses to do Godís will, he will find out whether my teaching comes from God or whether I speak on my own.

For the life-transforming power of God to permeate every intricacy and complexity of our being, it is essential to be willing to yield to God. Yielding to God can seem scary, until we begin to realize how wonderful he is. Then all reason for fear evaporates. God truly is gentle and kind and can be totally trusted, but it is usual for people who are hard on themselves not to realize this. To cite what I have written elsewhere:

    At first thought, Godís will seems so oppressively restrictive that itís frightening. And weíre scared weíll be told to go somewhere awful and do something embarrassing. In reality, for us to fear Godís commands is as unnatural as a much loved baby fearing its motherís breast; as a shivering child fearing sunshine; as someone sick fearing health. To obey God is to say good-bye to mistakes and regret and open the door to excitement and achievement.

    No one understands you like your Maker. No one knows your future like your God. No one has your best interest at heart like the One who shed his blood for you. No one can bring you happiness like the Giver of sunsets and flowers, softness and taste buds, life and growth.

God always knows what is in your best interest and always wants it. He is passionately devoted to maximizing your long-term happiness. I stress, however, that one of the advantages he has over us is that he sees everything from an eternal perspective. He is always selflessly loyal to you. In links at the end of this webpage I expound further on how safe it is to yield to the God of all love and wisdom, but letís press on for the moment.

Take a more intimate look at a familiar Scripture:

    Romans 12:1-2 Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of Godís mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God . . . Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world [stop wrong behavior], but be transformed by the renewing of your mind [reprogram your thinking]. Then you will be able to test and approve what Godís will is Ė his good, pleasing and perfect will. (Emphasis mine.)

This means that a deep awareness of Godís will Ė which, letís remind ourselves, is that we be showered with blessings Ė hinges on us sacrificially yielding ourselves to God and doing all we can to change our thinking.

The Bible insists upon our need to die to self. An aspect of this is agreeing that the all-knowing Lord is always right. Dying to self involves choosing to believe God rather than our feelings, even when what God declares to be true (such as us being worthy of astounding blessings) clashes so violently with our interpretation of our past or present experience that everything within us screams that it cannot be true.

Dying to self is not a one-off event or occasional attitude. It is a daily journey:

    Luke 9:23 Then he said to them all: If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. (Emphasis mine.)

The devil is forever seeking to deceive us and keep us living below the best that God has for us.

    2 Corinthians 4:4 The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.

    2 Corinthians 11:3 But I am afraid that just as Eve was deceived by the serpentís cunning, your minds may somehow be led astray . . .

    1 Timothy 4:1 The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons.

To be free from the deceiverís influence we must submit to God and keep resisting the devilís attempts to con us out of Godís blessings.

    James 4:7 Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.

The verse introducing this statement is noteworthy:

    James 4:6 But he gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says: ďGod opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.Ē

The proud think they are right. The humble think the all-knowing Lord is right. They submit to Godís assessment of spiritual reality. They dismiss their perception of truth in favor of whatever God declares to be true. Scripture frequently reveals the critical importance of this aspect of humility. For example:

    Romans 1:22 Claiming to be wise, they became fools (RSV).

    Matthew 11:25 At that time Jesus said, ďI praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children.Ē

    Proverbs 3:5,7 Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding . . . Do not be wise in your own eyes . . .

    Jeremiah 8:9 The wise will be put to shame; they will be dismayed and trapped. Since they have rejected the word of the LORD, what kind of wisdom do they have?

    1 Corinthians 3:18 Do not deceive yourselves. If any one of you thinks he is wise by the standards of this age, he should become a ďfoolĒ so that he may become wise.

Consider the implications of this pivotal experience the disciples had with Jesus:

    Luke 24:45 Then he opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures.

They had studied the Scriptures all their lives and sat under Jesusí teaching during his entire ministry and yet still they had not understood until this moment after Jesusí resurrection. Their new understanding came not merely through listening to Jesus or studying the Bible; it took an act of God, as it did with Peterís revelation that Jesus was the Son of God:

    Matthew 16:17 Jesus replied, ďBlessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by man, but by my Father in heaven.Ē

Note the importance of revelation:

    John 16:14-15 He will bring glory to me by taking from what is mine and making it known to you. All that belongs to the Father is mine. That is why I said the Spirit will take from what is mine and make it known to you.

    1 Corinthians 2:9-10,12 However, as it is written: ďNo eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love himĒ Ė but God has revealed it to us by his Spirit.  . . . We have not received the spirit of the world but the Spirit who is from God, that we may understand what God has freely given us. (Emphasis mine.)

How can we have such spiritually significant encounters with divine truth as the disciples had that day when Jesus ďopened their minds so they could understand the ScripturesĒ? Since our well-being hinges on us somehow spiritually activating in our lives the power of the word of God, we need to make this a prayer priority. In fact, prayer is critical. This is why we have such Scriptures as:

    Psalm 119:18 Open my eyes that I may see wonderful things in your law.

    Psalms 119:19  . . . do not hide your commands from me.

    Psalms 119:27 Let me understand the teaching of your precepts . . .

    James 1:5 If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God . . .

Note how Paul did not consider it enough to write and teach the Word of God; he kept praying that Godís Word transform the lives of those who heard it. Ponder the implications:

    Ephesians 1:17-18 I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints

    Ephesians 3:17-19 . . . I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge Ė that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.

    Colossians 1:9 . . . we have not stopped praying for you and asking God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all spiritual wisdom and understanding.

    Philippians 1:9 And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight

As critical as it is to keep praying for revelation and praying that the revelation sink deep into every part of us, however, prayer is not enough.

I live in almost a desert. In the middle of summer I can water the garden so that everything visible is wet and yet a mere fraction below the surface is powder dry. Just as it takes far more time and water than one would expect for that life-giving liquid to penetrate sun-baked soil and reach roots that desperately need it, so it takes more time, effort and continuous exposure to biblical truths than most of us realize for us not only to appear to be saturated with life-giving truths, but for those truths to actually reach the deep parts of us that desperately need them.

This is why God says we should be continuously meditating on Godís Word, thinking about it and reminding ourselves of it:

    Psalms 119:97 Oh, how I love your law! I meditate on it all day long.

    Psalms 119:148 My eyes stay open through the watches of the night, that I may meditate on your promises.

The first Psalm speaks of the person who ďis like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither. Whatever he does prospersĒ (Psalm 1:3). Here is the secret of this personís contented abundance: ďhis delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and nightĒ (verse two).

As God told Joshua:

    Joshua 1:8 Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful. (Emphasis mine.)

Letís take a second look at that Scripture:

    Joshua 1:8 Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful. (Emphasis mine.)

As important as continual meditation is for our success and prosperity, it must be combined with obeying the Word.

Meditating on Scripture involves prayerfully thinking through the implications of scriptural truth. And, according to Scriptures we have just cited, it should be done continually. See in the following how regularly and frequently we should be pondering and deeply impressing upon ourselves the liberating truths of Godís Word:

    Deuteronomy 6:6-9 These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.

Repetition is critical if beliefs are to become so much a part of us that they become a life-controlling force. As children, most of us were told over and over that we are stupid, hopeless, a loser, a slut, or repeatedly plastered with some other label that is totally contrary to who we are in Christ. And, perhaps even more devastating, from then on, we began repeating those lies to ourselves over and over, year after year after year. Itís as though every time in our lives we are told or tell ourselves something negative, a pebble is added to the negative side of the scales, and every time we believe or tell ourselves the opposite, we put a pebble on the other side. Over our lifetime, tens of thousands of pebbles have weighed down the negative side but many of us have only added hundreds to the positive, with the inevitable result that our whole being leans heavily to the negative, undermining our attempts to live the abundant life Christ sacrificed everything for us to enjoy.

ďNow I Want to LiveĒ

Several years ago, my wife wrote:

    For years my joints ached. My hips hurt and I limped. I had shoulder pain and any weight on it hurt like crazy. I would wake up at night crying in pain. I was afraid of going crippled. A doctor told me I would need hip replacement surgery, but no tests were done to prove it. All my life I had been told that my family has joint trouble and Iíd be no exception. Then my feet began to hurt. I freaked out.

    My feet got so bad that it was agonizing just to walk. Although I loathed going to doctors, I finally felt compelled to see one. He ran tests and said, ďYou need a leg brace for four weeks, and do stretch exercises every morning.Ē

    I asked how this was going to help joint problems.

    He looked at me strangely. ďWhat joint problems? Your joints are fine. Itís just a tendon injury in your foot.Ē

    I left, thinking I must be nuts. When the joint pain came back, however, I told myself, ďNo! I am not falling for that. The doctor says I havenít got bad joints and I am not living anymore as if I do.Ē Then I realized that, for perhaps the first time ever, I really wanted to live.

    My joints havenít ached in months. I am truly living now. Inside, I used to cry all the time. I was deeply depressed and couldnít see beyond it. I wanted to die because I figured that it was the only way I could escape all the inner pain. But now I want to live.

    I now reassure myself that it is okay to be okay. It is okay to smile and be happy. I go for walks and stop to giggle at a bug. I look up at the sky and know it is okay to enjoy the warm rays of the sun. I used to be so depressed; living in a dark cave in my heart. I used to talk to people but kept much of me locked away from them; isolated and never feeling human Ė just a zombie with pain as a constant friend. Now I get to enjoy a sunset and talk to my God about it. I get to be me. Sometimes Iím not sure who that is, but I am learning who I am. I donít have to live in pain. I choose not to. I had to deliberately work at changing my thinking.

    An important thing I had to learn is that feelings should be followers, not leaders. If I follow my feelings, letting them lead me, I end up in a mess. I should be the one who leads. I make the decision to be happy and my feelings eventually follow. Sometimes they take quite a while to catch up but thatís okay: through God I take control.


It is little understood that we could be dynamic Christians and still have a wounded part of us that knows absolutely nothing about the Gospel. This is particularly true of those who have Dissociative Identity Disorder (multiple personalities). Few people realize how common this is and most people suffering from it are quite unaware of it. Lest you think me mad, Iíd be better off avoiding this subject but my conscience will not let me because it could be the very key you have been needing for years.

I know many people who have had parts of their consciousness split off as a desperate mental trick to survive childhood trauma (often sexual abuse). I have had the privilege of seeing these people transformed as I explain the simple Gospel message to those parts of them that had been so successfully buried that those parts supposed they were still children and had never heard the Gospel.

If interested, there are links at the end of this webpage about this.

Crystallizing What We Have Discovered

If a king married a prostitute junkie, the marriage would instantly make her worthy of honor. So it is with us. Our union with Christ changes everything.

No matter how depraved you might have been without Christ, by the Son of the King of kings swapping places with you on the cross, you have gained his status, making you a son/daughter of the King of kings. Instantly, you became royalty. In the extravagance of divine love, Christ lavished upon you such mind boggling dignity and exalted status that all of heaven affirms that you now deserve happiness and to be loved and admired and valued for all eternity. Since the Innocent One took upon himself all the punishment you deserve, you now deserve fulfillment and to be in vibrant health. You deserve to be at peace, at ease and even to be pampered. You donít deserve financial hardship or any other sort of hardship, any more than Jesus did.

Nevertheless, the Bible is emphatic about the harsh reality that while you remain on this planet, unpleasant things can happen.

    1 Peter 4:12 Dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you.

    1 Peter 5:8-9 Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings.

    1 Thessalonians 3:4 In fact, when we were with you, we kept telling you that we would be persecuted. And it turned out that way, as you well know.

    2 Timothy 3:12 In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.

Please resist the temptation to let this temporary situation shake your self-esteem. The world treating you badly is the price Christís champions pay for staying here on earth, the front line between good and evil. Like our heroic Lordís suffering, this makes your suffering not only meaningful; your short-lived humiliation brings you eternal glory. No matter what you suffer temporarily, God hails you a hero and will eternally compensate you.

    Acts 5:41 The apostles left the Sanhedrin, rejoicing because they had been counted worthy of suffering disgrace for the Name.

    2 Corinthians 4:17 For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.

So everyone can expect tough times. But you can also expect Godís blessing. A simple prayer, yielding your life to God and asking Jesus to forgive all your past gives you access to all Christís riches. From that instant, your spiritual wealth is so mind-boggling that you need supernatural revelation to get even a vague idea of the magnitude of all that is yours. Then you need divine help to get those truths not just deep into your conscious thoughts but even into your unconscious parts that surreptitiously affect your attitudes and behavior, while keeping you barely aware of their influence.

Since Jesus kept imploring us to keep on asking God, and James wrote that we have not because we ask not (James 4:2), we can expect to have to keep asking God both for supernatural understanding of spiritual truths and asking that those truths counteract the deeply damaging impact of all those years of having believed the opposite.

In addition to prayer, however, we must cooperate with God in this transformation of our thinking. No matter how much a surgeon might care about your well-being and have the ability to heal you, it would be criminal for him to operate on you against your will. Likewise, your loving Lord does not abuse his power by forcing healing upon you. In his flawless integrity, the Almighty seeks your on-going permission for each of the complex processes required for your spiritual transformation. God can be trusted. It is safe to yield to him, but he respectfully waits for you to be willing to let go of your favorite sins and trust him enough to let him in to the most tender and private parts of your life.

Another essential sphere of cooperation with God is to stop believing the degrading lies that people and circumstances seem to have told us, and instead accept his truth about who we are in Christ. Changing our thinking is at least as difficult as breaking any other life-controlling habit, but you need to keep wrestling the mental habit until you completely stop telling yourself things that are no longer true, such as ďIím hopeless,Ē or ďIím impure,Ē and establish a new, Christ-centered self-image by continually reminding yourself and repeating to yourself the biblical truths of who you are in Christ.

To see how seriously the Lord regards this practice, letís bring together some of the very many different expressions he uses. Different Scriptures say Godís word is to be upon our hearts, or hidden in our hearts, or in our hearts and minds, or stored up within us, even eaten. Another place says we should not let his word leave our mouths. Other Scriptures say we must lay hold of biblical truth with all of our hearts and not to depart from it, but delight in it, treasuring it more than our daily food. We should meditate on his truth day and night, being careful to do everything written in it. We are to impress his word on our children, talk about it when we sit at home and when we go out, when we lie down and when we get up, and we should surround ourselves with visual reminders of it. We are to remain in his word and let it dwell in us richly; not being merely hearers of the word, but doers. His word is to live with us and be with us forever, say still other Scriptures (References).

With God going to so much effort to impress upon us the need to do this, do you suppose he is likely to ignore it all and transform the lives of people too lazy to follow his commands to keep reminding ourselves of his truths? If there is a lazy alternative that works, why doesnít God tell us about it?

Letís keep yielding to God, praying for revelation, taking it to heart and reprogramming our minds with his truth so that we donít miss Godís best. The results will be astounding.


We have been essentially unwrapping the gift contained in this Scripture:

    John 10:10-11 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.

The Eternal Son of God laid down his life so that you might live life to the full. But you have a spiritual enemy who longs to rob you of the supernaturally abundant life that, through Christís sacrifice, is rightfully yours.

If this insidious fiend robs you, it will not be by force Ė your divine Deliverer has heroically defeated him. The devil can rob us only by tricking us into believing his lies.

    John 8:44 . . . the devil . . . is a liar and the father of lies.

    2 Corinthians 11:3 But I am afraid that just as Eve was deceived by the serpentís cunning, your minds may somehow be led astray . . .

The deceiver is continually trying to dupe you out of all you have inherited through Christís death. If you let this despicable con artist fool you, it is not only you who end up ripped off, but also the Lover of your soul who paid such an enormous price for you to enjoy his rich blessings. Even if you cannot pull yourself out of despondency enough to enjoy Christís riches for your own sake, honor God by forcing yourself to do it for the sake of the one who gave his life for you.

Related Pages

This webpage is simply to help you grasp a fraction of all that you will miss out on if you fail to explore this subject so intensely that the truth permeates the most hidden parts of your being. In the links below I have devoted myself to expounding on some of the wonders awaiting you.

If Unsure About Yielding to Christ

Liberating Truths

Your Inner Child