Jesus Forgives My Sins, So I Can Do Whatever I Want, Right?​

Wrong.

This blog post is going to step on some toes. It’s going to be convicting. I hope that if you feel offended by what I say in this blog post, you will recognize it as conviction rather than getting mad at me. I’ve lost friends over this topic, but the Truth has to be spoken.

Sinning vs. Living in Sin

There’s a huge difference between sinning and living in sin. We cannot continue with this topic without discussing the two. I also want to be clear about the difference, so feel free to comment a question if you have one.

What is Sin?

While the definition of sin seems to vary from pastor to pastor and from website to website, we can all agree that sin is something that goes against the Word of God. There are the 10 Commandments, which we can look to as a general list of sins to avoid committing. There are many other things that go against the Word of God, like doing drugs, watching pornography, judging others, and more. If you study the Bible and read through the Words of Jesus, you will get a great idea of what sin is. All sins are equal in God’s eyes, which is important to note as well.

Once you accept Jesus as your Savior, you should avoid sinning at all costs. As humans, sin unfortunately lives inside of us. There’s not a single human being on this planet who hasn’t sinned except Jesus Christ himself. I sin, you sin, your pastor sins, we all sin. And guess what, Jesus died for us to receive Grace, so we are forgiven for our sins. We are forgiven for the sin we committed 10 years ago, and we’re forgiven for the sin we commit in 10 years. This is great news because followers of Jesus are going to go to Heaven! But, should we take advantage of this Grace and lie, steal, cheat, do drugs, and continue to live in sin? No.

What is Living in Sin?

Living in sin is living for yourself and for the world. It’s living as if you do not believe in Jesus. You can absolutely believe in Jesus Christ but continue to live in sin, which is very important to know. Do you make zero effort to steer clear from sin and temptation? Do you still do recreational drugs and partake in sexual sin frequently? Do you wear promiscuous outfits to get the opposite gender to notice you? Do you still cuss during every single conversation you have? You may be living in sin still.

Again, we all make mistakes. To be transparent, instead of saying, “Oh my gosh,” I accidentally said, “Oh my God” just this past Friday. That’s blaspheme that I committed. As soon as it came out of my mouth, I repented for my sin because I felt horrible. If you say the ‘a’ word on complete accident one day, if you make a huge mistake and fall back into sexual addiction, as long as you truly repent for that sin, you are forgiven.

What’s the Difference?

In my opinion (which could be completely wrong and I will find out when I go to Heaven one day), sin is the accidental or unplanned mistake against the Word of God due to temptation. Once someone commits a sin, they repent for their sin because they regret defying God. Living in sin is the purposeful, way of life that defies the Word of God where frequent sinning occurs. With living in sin, there is a lack of forgiveness and repentance once sin occurs as well. I hope that makes sense. I do not want to shame a fellow sinner and make them feel as if they are living in sin when they are not.

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Jesus Forgave My Sins. Can I Live in Sin Anyways?

NO. Please do not continue to live in sin. When you continue to live in sin, you are allowing Satan to win and control your life. As a believer in Jesus, you should strive to have Him control your life and live for Him.

Will I go to Heaven Either Way?

I cannot answer this question. Only God knows the answer to this question. I can tell you what the Bible says about this topic though.

Jesus made it very clear that he forgives all sins if you accept Him as Lord and if you repent for your sins. If you remember what I said about living in sin, those people do not feel any regret for their sins, nor do they seek God for forgiveness.

“Now after John was put in prison, Jesus came to Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, and saying, ‘The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel.’” Mark 1:14-15 NKJV

Then Peter said to them, ‘Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit…'” Acts 2:38 NKJV

The Bible is clear, you must repent for your sins and truly feel sorry for defying God’s Word. You may be thinking. Okay, I’ll sin and just say sorry and I’ll be fine. This worldly mentality has been spoken about by Jesus Himself.

“But why do you call Me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and not do the things which I say? Whoever comes to Me, and hears My sayings and does them, I will show you whom he is like: He is like a man building a house, who dug deep and laid the foundation on the rock. And when the flood arose, the stream beat vehemently against that house, and could not shake it, for it was founded on the rock. But he who heard and did nothing is like a man who built a house on the earth without a foundation, against which the stream beat vehemently; and immediately it fell. And the ruin of that house was great.” Luke 6:46-49

So, according to Jesus, if you accept Him as Lord but continue to live in the ways of the world, you will fall like a house with no foundation. So please, stop living in sin. Hear the Word of God and change. Jesus does not say that those who continue to live for the world go to Hell, but His commands are clear. Even if Jesus said “If you continue to sin without repentance but still believe in Me, you will go to Heaven” you still shouldn’t. As a follower of Christ, you are called to put aside your life for Him.

Following vs. Believing

You have probably heard both “following Jesus” and “believing in Jesus”. Let’s be clear about this: You can believe in Jesus but not follow Him, but Jesus calls you to do both.

“Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it. Matthew 16:24-25 NKJV

My goal of this blog post is to bring awareness of the difference between these two common words. Please, ask yourself, Am I following Jesus along with believing in Him? If you hesitate, you might be living in sin. The great news is, it’s never too late to change your life and be a follower of Christ. Jesus did not come to judge us, but he came to save us.

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Please feel free to let me know what you think about this topic. Did I get it right? Are there some things I didn’t get right? I hope this blog post was helpful and convicting. Jesus loves you no matter what, and I hope I made that point clear in this post. If you’re ready to dive into your relationship with God, I have a blog post that will give you a quick guide on how to get started.

Psalm 91: Making God Your Refuge

“Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, ‘He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.’ Surely he will save you from the fowler’s snare and from the deadly pestilence. He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart. You will not fear the terror of night, nor the arrow that flies by day, nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness, nor the plague that destroys at midday. A thousand may fall at your side, ten thousand at your right hand, but it will not come near you. You will only observe with your eyes and see the punishment of the wicked. If you say, ‘The Lord is my refuge,’ and you make the Most High your dwelling, no harm will overtake you, no disaster will come near your tent. For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways; they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone. You will tread on the lion and the cobra; you will trample the great lion and the serpent. ‘Because he loves me,’ says the Lord, ‘I will rescue him; I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name. He will call on me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver him and honor him. With long life I will satisfy him and show him my salvation.'” Psalm 91:1-16 NIV

What does it mean to make the Lord your refuge?

The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines “refuge” as a “shelter or protection from danger or distress.” Psalm 91 repeatedly tells believers to make God their refuge–their protection from distress. All throughout the Bible, you hear stories of Jesus healing, saving, and protecting His followers. He even calmed a storm and saved His disciples from dying in a boat wreck! If you believe in Jesus, you should trust Him to save you just like He did in the stories we read in the Bible.

How do you make God your refuge?

It’s human instinct to yell for help when we’re in distress. Remember when you were a kid on the playground and a huge bee flew near you? You would let out that horrifying scream that surprised every adult that such a small person could make such a horrible noise. Now that we’re older, we still find ourselves in distress. Stress from our job, anger at one of our family members, (and maybe a little bit of road rage) are some common causes of distress. When we feel that stirring in our mind that makes our hearts pound, we must take refuge in the Lord. Call on His name as soon as possible. Say, “Lord, be my refuge and protect me. Shelter me. Save me.”

When do I call on Him?

You should call on Him any time the idea pops into your head. God does not get annoyed with His followers. He wants us to call on Him and he does not get angry with us when we trust in Him. The Lord is faithful and will not abandon us because we call on Him “too much”. If you’re anything like me, you may get a little bit insecure and feel too needy when you call on God for reasons that are less than distressing or dangerous. The Truth is, the Bible calls on believers to do this in so many verses (Psalm 91 for example).

Call on God whenever you’re scared, stressed out, anxious, sad, and even when you’re happy. He cares for you greatly and will draw near to you when you call on Him.

What will happen?

Psalm 91 says, “[God] will save you from the fowler’s snare and from the deadly pestilence. He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.” These are some big promises made by the Bible. It continues to say, “no harm will overtake you, no disaster will come near your tent. For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways; they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone. You will tread on the lion and the cobra; you will trample the great lion and the serpent.” I don’t know about you, but the words that I bolded are words that I find comfort in. Reading these promises make me emotional because I can feel God’s love for me.

When you call on the Lord to rescue you from whatever is causing you discomfort or distress, he promises that he will protect you. He may not deliver these promises in the way you expected. The Lord works in mysterious ways and He does have a plan for you. It may be difficult, but do not get angry with God when He does not save you “the right way”. His way is the right way.

Prayer: God, You are so good. Thank you for promising me that You will be my refuge whenever I call on You. Please help me and guide me to call on You the next time I am in a bad situation. I trust You and I want to put my comfort in You and not worldly things. Thank you, Lord. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Did you like this devotional? Let me know what you took away from it and give me feedback in a reply below! If you’re looking to read more, try reading my blog post, “Dive Into Your Relationship with God: A Guide for Development“.

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Time Management: How to Balance Your Life

As of right now, I’m a full-time college student, I have three jobs, one of those being full-time, I run this blog 100% by myself, and I (try to) have a social life. I also take every Saturday to practice a Sabbath day, also known as a day of rest (more information about the Sabbath can be found here). So, how do I manage my time? How do I get everything done? How am I not losing my mind?

Designate Certain Days to Certain Tasks

On Fridays and Sundays, I dedicate my time to school work and my freelance work. During the week, I will absolutely do some school work or freelance work if I have the time and/or energy, but I use Fridays and Sundays to exclusively work on those things.

Be Productive

Well no duh I need to be productive, Hailey. That’s why I’m reading this article. When I say “be productive“, I mean put away your phone and get rid of all distractions so when you are working, you are only focused on your work. If your Instagram notifications are blowing up, you’re going to want to go and scroll for 10 minutes. When you get distracted, you’re going to tell yourself that “you’re just taking a small break”.

Don’t Take Breaks

I know, this might not make much sense because we’re taught that breaks are good for us and they are highly encouraged. When you have to knock out a bunch of tasks in a short amount of time, it’s important to get into “focus mode” and not get out of it. If you feel yourself getting tired and you feel like the quality of your work is only decreasing as time goes by, then stop working, and rest. If you’re just incredibly bored and you can’t seem to get into “focus mode”, then only allow yourself breaks after you’re done with the task you’re working on.

Get Enough Sleep

Sleep is crucial for good performance. You won’t be able to work as well or as hard for long amounts of time when your brain is telling you to go to sleep. If you’re working on homework for that class that is just incredibly boring, you’re not going to be able to focus if you’re already tired. Make sure you’re getting enough sleep at night! Most doctors recommend 7-10 hours of sleep per night for adults.

Get Dinner or go to Church with Friends

You have to eat dinner anyways, so why not meet a friend for dinner? You’re hopefully making time to go to church every week, so why not invite a friend to go to church with you? This way you are seeing friends and developing relationships while doing things you were already going to do!

Pray for Wisdom, Strength, and Guidance

God works miracles every single day. Pray that he will work a miracle in your life and that he guides you through this very busy season. I could not be handling everything that I am right now if I wasn’t praying to God for help. Be sure to thank God for the blessings that are keeping you so incredibly busy.

Sabbath: What It Is and How to Spend It

Traditionally, the Sabbath day was to be only on Sundays, to observe the day that God took to rest after creating the world. After Christ died for our sins, Christians were given the freedom to choose their Sabbath. Romans 14:5-6 says, “One person considers some days to be more sacred than others, while another person considers all days to be the same. Each person must have their own convictions. Someone who thinks that a day is sacred, thinks that way for the Lord…”, therefore, we are allowed to decide which day of the week we take a full 24 hours to rest.

I personally choose to spend my Sabbath on Saturdays. I have found that my soul feels more at rest when I take my day of rest on Saturdays, for many reasons. So, what does the day of rest look like to me? Here are a few things that I do, and some ideas for you to try out.

Start the day off with a Bible study

Unless I wake up incredibly late, the first thing I do every morning is get a cup of coffee, and do a few Bible plans on the YouVersion Bible App. On Saturdays, I will spend up to an hour doing a Bible Study while drinking my coffee. I will turn on some soft worship music and just spend time one-on-one with the Lord.

Spend time with yourself

I am pretty much alone all day on my Sabbath. If people ask me to shortly hang out on Saturday, I definitely will, but I don’t go out of my way to see people on Saturdays. I make sure that the great majority of my day is spent with the Lord, and not others. Being alone for me looks like: Taking an extra long shower, watching some YouTube videos, doing my nails, cleaning my apartments, and more.

Refuse to do any work or school work

This is the hardest part of taking a Sabbath, and it takes a lot of obedience. God calls you to trust that you will succeed at the work you do if you take a day of rest. Doesn’t an entire day of rest and relaxation where you don’t think about your work or studies sound amazing? It’s incredibly refreshing and it gives your brain the break it deserves.

Don’t forget that God, the creator of the universe, took a day to rest. Don’t feel lazy, or guilty, or even anxious about taking a day of rest. I challenge you to try to take a Sabbath this week. Remember, “Remember the Sabbath day and treat it as holy.

Feeling Hurt and Pain on Christmas: The Truth

Christmas should be the happiest day of the year. It’s the day we celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ. When we’re in a season of pain and healing, the feelings and emotions don’t stop.

When I was a kid, we lived in the same state as our entire family. I spent Christmas surrounded by both sides of grandparents, great-grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, and both parents. Now, we live in a different state than our family, my parents are divorced, and a lot of our family members have gone to Heaven.

For a while, when we weren’t visiting our family or when our family wasn’t visiting us, Christmas was just me and my mom. This year, it’s me, my mom, her fiancee, his daughter, and our family friend that we have “adopted” into our family. I’m so incredibly thankful and blessed to have people to spend Christmas with, but I still find myself longing for it to be the same again. Christmas won’t be as large as it once was for a very long time. It probably won’t be the old size until I’m a grandma.

I’m also experiencing pain from other areas of my life, that seem to be broken forever. The pain doesn’t take a vacation just because it Christmas. It’s still very much there, and it feels like it has intensified because of the holiday.

The truth is, Christmas isn’t about the pain I feel, or the number of people that choose to celebrate Christmas with us, it’s about the birth of Jesus. I’m still in pain, and I cried within the first hour of waking up today, but I have to put myself aside because I’m not the one that matters. You know when your friend achieved something that you didn’t, but to be a good friend, you still had to be happy for them and celebrate? That’s the feeling I have this Christmas, and I might have that feeling for years to come. It’s hard, and I know Jesus understands that I’m in pain and that I’m desperately trying to cope, but I have to find the tiny bit of joy that’s left in my heart to celebrate.

I ordered “It’s Not Supposed to Be This Way” by Lysa TerKeurst, because she wrote it out of severe pain, a pain that I can’t imagine going through. When I write a blog post about the (I’m sure numerous) things I’ve learned from her book, I will link it here.

I hope you can’t relate to the pain I’m feeling, but I know that a lot of people do. I will be praying for all of you who do have this pain in your heart. You are not alone.

Dive Into Your Relationship with God: A Guide for Development

The Bible calls us to do it. As believers, we know that we should pursue a relationship with God, but it’s hard to figure out how. Just to warn you, these tips aren’t easy. The things I’m about to recommend are hard to do. God is worth the hard work you’re about to put in to develop your relationship with Him, I promise. Here are some tips to help guide you through the development of the most important relationship you’ll ever have.

Pray at Least Twice a Day

I often place my relationship with God in the perspective of him being my friend on Earth. If I only spoke to a friend once or twice a month, and it was only when I needed them to do something that benefitted me, I don’t think I would be a very good friend. I’ve been there, where I would only pray when I wanted God to do something for me. The day I started praying daily, in the morning, at night, and casually throughout the day, was the day I felt like the door to my relationship with God was opened. I always find myself saying a short prayer for patience when something annoying is happening, or when something amazing happens, I’ll think, Thank you, God. Prayer doesn’t have to be getting down on your hands and knees for several minutes, it just has to be a quick talk between you and God.

Just to be clear, it’s okay if you don’t pray multiple times a day. This is just a tip for when you want to develop your relationship with God. If praying ever becomes a chore or if it ever feels forced, then it’s okay to take a step back and only pray once a day.

Read the Bible Everyday

I know you’re probably thinking, Hailey, you already told me to pray multiple times a day, and now you expect me to make time to read the Bible every single day? Yes, I am.

Hear me out. Being able to read the Bible is a huge blessing that we often take advantage of. If you’re reading this blog post, I’m going to assume that you live in a country where it’s not illegal to read God’s Word. Not to be upsetting, but people have been put to death for reading the Bible, and so I think it’s the ultimate blessing to be able to read it every day. Even if I do only one plan on the YouVersion Bible App, then I know I’m taking advantage of my greatest blessing. I’m not saying you must read an entire chapter every night to develop your relationship with God, but I think if we all set aside as little as five minutes of the day, we will see growth. It’s also amazing to read the great words that Jesus spoke, and read about the lessons that he taught his followers.

Similarly to my point about praying, if reading the Bible ever becomes a chore or if it ever feels forced, then it’s okay to take a step back and read the Bible when you feel like the Holy Spirit is calling you to.

Cut Out Music That’s Not God-Honoring

Okay, now you’re REALLY asking for a lot. I know I am. Try to stay with me!

Worship is a form of prayer. Singing God-honoring words like “There is no fear now that you haven’t conquered” or “You are my healer, you are the answer, Jesus you are” will help to develop your relationship with God immediately. Here’s a confession, I used to love rap music, like Gucci Mane and Lil Wayne rap music. When I accepted Jesus into my life, I quickly began to realize the toxic words that were being rapped into my ears. I then found musicians like Lecrae, Zauntee, and GAWVI, who genuinely have great music, but they have God-honoring lyrics. You don’t have to listen to old hymns to have God’s Word played into your ears. Spotify has some great playlists of the most popular Christian music, and you’re bound to find at least one band you like. There are many Christian artists that create music that sounds like the music you hear on Top 40 radio, you just have to listen and give it a chance.

Join a Bible Study

Finally! A tip that’s not asking you to change a big part of your life! Community is a huge part of growing your relationship with God. It’s great to have people around you who will support you and will be there for you if you have any questions about God. Click here to find an online Bible Study group!

I know this all seems difficult and I’m telling you to change your life, but the Bible calls us to do these things. It’s not easy, but it will be worth it when you feel joy in your heart and when you feel God’s presence for the first time.

How to Have Positive Thoughts When Times Are Hard

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Why is it that hard times always seem to occur in cycles? When it rains, it POURS, every time. This has been a common theme throughout my life. When it’s finals week, family drama always occurs. When one of my family members are sick, relationship problems arise. Then, the stress of everything going on causes me to have health issues, which is yet another problem to manage. These are just some examples of what has happened in my life in the past month, and I assure you that all of these things do not occur consistently, only in seasons.

How do we cope with all of these seemingly negative things on top of everything else we already manage? The answer is easy.

Jesus.

I know you’re thinking, What do you mean Jesus? I mean that we must look to Him through these hard times and really lean on him. I used to suffer from a pretty extreme case of Anxiety Disorder, and I used to have to be in control, or else I would have an anxiety attack. I didn’t know Jesus up until 2016, and so it was incomprehensible for me to lean on Him. Once I gave my life to Christ, life got easier, things got less stressful, and I learned how to let go.

The best way to give all of these stressful, tear-jerking, crazy things to God is to submit to Him through prayer. For example, pray: “Dear Lord, I give all of the good things and the difficult things to you. I know that you have a plan for me and the people in my life. I fully trust that You will provide and that You will make everything perfect in the end. Please give me peace, and have Your hand over my life. Amen.”

I know this is difficult to do, I’ve been there. God will never let us down, and he has a plan for each of us. All He calls us to do is trust in Him, and He will provide.

Thank you for reading. You can get through the hard times with the support of Jesus Christ.