I’m crazy about fruit: plump blueberries, juicy peaches, Honeycrisp apples. In Matthew 12 we catch Jesus, probably as He’s walking by some fruit trees, using fruit to teach the cream-of-the-crop religious folks an important lesson about their words. Let’s join them now.
Are you good enough to go to hell? That might sound like a strange question, but check out Jesus’ warning in Matthew 7:21–23.
As I read your comments on last week’s post “The Most Influential Man In Your Life,” I realized we weren’t speaking the same language. Several of you made comments like,
I am in-between both of those characteristics: Adam and Christ. Some days I give into the world, other days I live my life for Christ. It is a never-ending battle.
Here’s the thing: Being in Christ is less about your experience and more about your position in Christ. There isn’t any in-between. You’re either all the way “in Adam” or all the way “in Christ.”
The fact is, all of us were born “in Adam,” but if and when we put our trust in Jesus to be our righteousness, we are born again “in Christ.” We are one with Him now. It’s a fact. A true one.
Paul begins Romans 6 by asking should we keep sinning ’cause we’ve been shown such crazy extravagant grace in Jesus? NO WAY! he bursts in on himself. We’ve died to sin! We died and were buried with Jesus, and now we, too, have brand-new resurrection life. We have power over sin.
Our job—to believe it to be so,
You also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus (Rom. 6:11).
As you begin to operate out of who you are (dead to sin, alive to God, and in Christ Jesus), it will drastically change what you do.
See what I mean in this excerpt from my book Confessions of a Boy-Crazy Girl: On Her Journey from Neediness to Freedom:
A Whole New Me
My whole life I’d struggled to defeat the power of sin—with no success. But now I was reading startling truths I’d never grasped.
It wasn’t just Jesus who had died—I’d died with Him. It wasn’t just Jesus who had been buried—my old self, packed with sin, had been buried with Him, too. And when Jesus burst out of that tomb with brand-new resurrection life, I, too, was given new life! Galatians 2:20 sums it up well:
I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but
Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by
faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.
For the first time, I understood that Jesus didn’t die to forgive me of my sin but leave me in it. He died to forgive and to free me from the power of sin. Suddenly I realized I didn’t have to be jealous of that pretty girl. I didn’t have to covet every guy I saw. I didn’t have to hate that guy for not liking me. I wasn’t powerless anymore.
In fact, in Christ I was no longer that helpless, hopeless, boy-crazy girl. I had a new identity now: I was dead to sin, alive to God, and in Christ Jesus. My only job? Believing it to be so and living in light of that truth.
From that point on, I saw God begin to change not only my outward behavior but even the hidden desires of my heart. Whether I actually became a Christian at this time or not, I can’t say. I asked Jesus to save me at about age four, but this was the first time I really understood why the Good News was such good news!
This was the beginning of my whole new life.
Notice I said “the beginning.” It’s not like I was instantly transformed. But as I remembered, believed, and personalized these truths, my overwhelming despair ebbed away and was gradually replaced by hope. I stopped trying so hard and just started dying. Or rather, I started believing that I had already died with Christ. I gave up control and let Jesus take over.
How about you? Have you repented of your sin and put all your faith in Christ’s righteousness instead of your own? If so, you are now dead to sin, alive to God, and in Christ Jesus. Regardless of how you lived yesterday (or today!), this is true of you. Now, begin to thank God for this truth. Wear it. Remember it. Relish it. Live from it.
I don’t know you personally, but I can narrow the most influential man in your life down to one of two men. I don’t have a glass ball, and I haven’t stalked your Twitter account, but I know because these two men have been the two most important men in my life, too.
Even though I let you in on lots of guys who have impacted my life over the years in Confessions of a Boy-Crazy Girl: On Her Journey from Neediness to Freedom, these two men have shaped who I am today infinitely more than Mike, Neil, Jack, Edward, and Jim.
The crazy thing is, no two men have been more impactful in your story, either. No, I’m not talking about your dad or your crush (important as they are!). I’m talking about Adam and Jesus Christ.
How Adam Shaped Your Story
Adam lived thousands of years ago. You probably already know he was the first man God created! You can read the highs and lows of Adam’s story here. You might think a man who lived so long ago has nothing to do with your life today, but you’d be dead wrong about that. Romans 5:12 shares how even now Adam impacts your life:
Just as sin came into the world through one man [Adam], and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned.
If you want to throw tomatoes at Adam right about now ’cause he blew your chances at a sinless life, think again. The end of Romans 5:12 makes it clear that “all sinned.” Romans 3:23 confirms it: “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”
There’s no doubt that Adam was the most influential man in your life. His story shaped your story. The question is . . . is Adam still the most influential man in your life or is Jesus Christ.
How Christ Can Transform Your Story
Romans 5:15–19 shares some amazing news:
But the free gift is not like the trespass. For if many died through one man’s [Adam’s] trespass, much more have the grace of God and the free gift by the grace of that one man Jesus Christ abounded for many. . . . For as by the one man’s [Adam’s] disobedience the many were made sinners, so by the one man’s [Jesus’] obedience the many will be made righteous.
It’s true that Adam’s story was your story. But Christ Jesus wants to transform your story by giving you new life—His life!
When you are born again in Christ, you receive a brand-new identity. Everything changes—everything becomes new—beginning with you.
Your identity is not volleyball captain or sci-fi nerd or piano prodigy. Your identity is either wrapped up “in Adam” or “in Christ.” And the implications of that identity are huge. Eternal. Forever.
Mark Driscoll says it better than I can:
- In Adam there is defeat, but in Christ there is victory.
- In Adam there is condemnation, but in Christ there is salvation.
- In Adam we receive a sin nature, but in Christ we receive a new nature.
- In Adam we are cursed, but in Christ we are blessed.
- In Adam there is wrath and death, but in Christ there is love and life.
Which man has been—and is—most influential in your life? Are you in Adam or in Christ?
To hear how this truth of being in Christ began to free me from my boy-crazy struggle, answer the question above. I’ll choose one of you at random on Monday, October 7, to receive a copy of Confessions of a Boy-Crazy Girl: On Her Journey from Neediness to Freedom.
Have you watched this video of Catherine’s visit to the psychologist?
The psychologist had just one piece of advice: STOP IT!
When I posted the “How Boy-Crazy Are You?” quiz last week, several of you wrote back with what would’ve been a great follow-up question for that psychologist: How do I stop? Here are a few of your questions:
This crush has really been standing in the way between me and loving Jesus wholeheartedly. Instead of trusting Him to satisfy my soul, I’m obsessing over this guy who may not even be my future husband and having a completely imaginary relationship with him. What should I do especially now that school is starting again? The more I see him, the more I think about him.
How can I counteract these thoughts and feelings? I’ve tried but just can’t.
I’m trying to learn how to be God-crazy, but it’s really hard. I try to specifically give “him” back to God every time I find my heart longing for him, but it seems like every time I see him the feelings come washing back over me. It doesn’t help really that he’s the type of guy I think I’d want to marry someday. I know I’d be devastated if he started dating someone else. Is there anything more I can do to not let my heart belong to him?
Lately all I’ve been thinking about is how much I want a boyfriend. I don’t know how to shake it. Someone tell me how to change this!
Unlike the psychologist in this video, I have surprising news for you:
You can’t stop it!
If you’ve read chapter nine of my book, Confessions of a Boy-Crazy Girl: On Her Journey from Neediness to Freedom, you know I was right where you were not long ago. I wanted desperately to fix myself—not ’cause I realized it was sin to give all my love to a “little g god” (guys) rather than to the “Big G God,”—but ’cause I was plain ‘ole sick of the pain.
So I tried to stop it. I busied myself. I ignored guys. I refused to hope (it’s safer that way). I lied to myself. I even journaled about becoming a nun:
Steve asked if I wanted to study with him and a few others at a coffee shop. I did and struggled so much. I know he’s getting together with Megan, but when I look in his eyes, I’m extremely attracted to him. He touches me, leans in when talking, and flirts. He tickled me and held out my coat for me to put my arm in. I want to scream at him to stop, but it’s my problem. I wish I could go to a convent and be a nun.
Since I didn’t know of any convents in the area, I turned to hate. After all, you can’t love someone when you’re busy hating them!
But all my attempts to stop it were like slapping a flimsy Band-Aid on a deep, gaping wound. Colossians 2:20–23 explains that boundaries and rules aren’t enough to stop me from doing wrong. On their own, they’re not capable of getting to the root issue—they don’t deal a deathblow to the old me.
The same is true for you. You can’t stop it. You can’t fix yourself. You can’t handle this on your own. Jesus says,
“I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing” (John 15:5, emphasis added).
Do you believe that?
I realize this probably isn’t what you wanted to hear. And I don’t want to leave you with no hope like that psychologist did for Catherine. Because there is hope! Even as I tell you that you can’t stop it, I believe with all my heart—and have personally experienced—that change is possible. No, you can’t fix who you are on your own, but God is in the business of transforming broken girls into beautiful trophies of His grace!
I want to unpack how God does this over the next few weeks with you. (I know, I know, you just want a quick fix. Be patient with me!) And if you absolutely can’t wait that long, pick up a copy of Confessions of a Boy-Crazy Girl. In fact, I’ll give away another copy of the book if you’ll share about my book on your Facebook or Twitter account. Let me know here that you did so, and I’ll choose one winner at random on Monday, September 9.
Until then . . . stay away from that psychologist!