A Woman's Voice


“Christian” VS. Christ Centered –December 11, 2010 by Jennifer Slattery

INSPIRATIONAL QUOTES AND ANECDOTES 

I’m a people watcher. And I’ve seen lots of shattered marriages as well as committed. Among the committed, there are two varieties–those who dig their heels and do what it takes to make things work, and those who grow in increasing intimacy day after day. I’ve also talked with numerous “dig their heelsers” and found that when you get right down to it, one key ingredient is missing–the power to make it work. They are going in their own strength, which results in two people fighting against their sinful nature, doing whatever they can to earn or cajole or manipulate a desired response from their mate.

But a Spirit-filled, transformed marriage is a complete 180. It’s something I’ll never understand this side of heaven, but the closer I am to God, the more love I feel for others. Somehow, His love fills me, and pours out. Not a give-me, you scratch my back I’ll scratch yours, kind of love, but a genuine, deep from the heart, no strings attached, love. Not that I stay there. I’ve still got a healthy dose of Adam that gets in my way when I least expect it, but the more time I spend drawing near to God–through Bible study, prayer, and worship–the weaker that selfish dragon becomes and the stronger my love grows.

I’ve done it both ways. As I shared on Reflections a while back, there was a time when my husband and I almost called it quits. The only thing that held us together was our commitment to Christ and our understanding that divorce was not an option. At the time, I thought God was forcing me to live in a terrible marriage. Now, thirteen years later, we found He was inviting us to experience true intimacy. An intimacy that only comes when two hearts are totally surrendered to God.

Now, I do feel like  I need a bit of a disclaimer here. I’m not saying your marriage will always be roses and cream. What I am saying is, if you’re centered on Christ, the valleys won’t seem so deep and the mountains so difficult.

But actually, maybe I am. Steve and I have been through unemployment, vindictive and unwarranted lawsuits, job changes, moves, you name it, and because of Christ, those events that could easily have destroyed us brought us closer together. Now, fifteen years after I said “I do” I couldn’t envision a day without Steve.

The Bible tells us that the heart is wicked and deceitful. We deceive others and we deceive ourselves. We deceive ourselves by saying we’re doing better, we’ve conquered that sin, we understand true love, and we genuinely love others without looking for anything in return.

But if we turn to Christ–not out of some verbal commitment but a true heart-felt surrender, one that says from the depths of our soul, “Lord, I need You! Help me to know you and follow after You. Take my life and change me!” God gives us a new heart. He doesn’t just help us “do better”. He gives us the motivation, and the power, to carry it out. Most importantly, He fills us with an all-consuming, never-ending, life-transforming love.

In Ezekiel 36:26 God says, “I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.”

He doesn’t say, I will show you how to behave better. He says, “I will transform you. I will free you from reactive living and your bondage to sin. I will fight your battle for you, will heal your deepest wounds, and will give you the love and security you long for.”

The Bible tells us that we all sin. We lie, we cheat, we brood over petty things and fight to get our own way at every turn. Often even our “good” acts are done for selfish reasons. Our sin separates us from God and holds us in bondage. Our sin also separates us from one another. But Jesus Christ, God in flesh, took our sins upon Himself and died in our place, so that we can be reconciled to God.

Here’s the deal–the real deal. Jesus didn’t die so we can follow a list of rules or join some club. He died so we can connect with Him on a heart-to-heart level. He died so that we could be filled to the full measure with His love and goodness. He died to set us free.

And this freedom and heart transformation is only a prayer away, because if we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:9

He’s already paid the price. His gift–the gift of intimate fellowship with our Creator and eternal life–lies at our feet, waiting to be opened.

If you’re tired of trying to go it alone, if you’re exhausted from all your well-intentioned efforts, life up your face. Salvation is here.

You receive salvation by admitting that you are a sinner who has fallen short of God’s holy standard, believing that Jesus Christ died to pay for your sins, and confessing Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior.

If you’d like to know more about what it means to truly surrender your life to Christ and receive His free gift of salvation, shoot me an email and I’ll give you my phone number so we can talk. My email address is jenniferaslattery@gmail.com

Be blessed. Be loved. Be transformed.

Jennifer Slattery is a freelance writer, novelist, and weekly columnist. She reviews for Novel Reviews, writes for Reflections in Hindsight and Christ to the World, and is the marketing representative for the literary website, Clash of the Titles. She’s also written for the Breakthrough Intercessor, Granola Bar Devotions, Bloom, Afictionado, and numerous other publications. In 2009 she placed first in the HACWN writing contest, book category. In 2010 she placed second in the Dixie Kane and fourth in the Golden Pen, in the inspirational category for both. You can find out more about her and her writing at jenniferslatterylivesoutloud.com

Here are two related posts from reflections: http://reflectionsinhindsight.wordpress.com/2010/06/18/cotton-candy-marriages/

http://reflectionsinhindsight.wordpress.com/2010/06/11/tossing-the-garbage-splattered-glasses/

Thanks Jennifer for sharing such an open and honest inspirational post with all of us.  To learn more about Jennifer please visit her @ : Jennifer Slattery
http://reflectionsinhindsight.wordpress.com
http://jenniferslatterylivesoutloud.com
http://www.clashofthetitles.com

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3 Responses to '“Christian” VS. Christ Centered –December 11, 2010 by Jennifer Slattery'

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  1. Excellent job, Jennifer!

    • Jen S. said,

      Thanks, Barbara. 🙂


  2. […] I get too far, I’m going to send you over to  A Woman’s Voice where a dear friend posted one of my articles on marriage. I don’t remember when I originally […]


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