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Are you good enough yet?"
August 11, 2021

August 11, 2021 Issue #185

Measuring up: The battle is over

Life, it seems, is a constant battle to measure up for somebody. We have family, friends, employers, our church, society, and the relentless competition on social media.

How are you doing? Have you had enough? A younger relative confided to me recently he had removed all social media from his phone and immediately felt a sense of relief and freedom.

Some Christians, sadly, feel they have to measure up for God as well. That's an exhausting burden. For many years I belonged to a works-based church and felt I always had to do more…more…more. Then I learned Jesus did everything I need for my salvation. The result was like having an NFL linebacker lifted off me. Whew!

Being single means you have to figure out a lot of things by yourself. I can't make your decisions for you, but I can pass along my experience to help you make more informed choices. Here are some things I learned about measuring up.

I wish I had not waited

How strong and sleek and smart I was
those years I could not fail.
I slipped through life just like a sloop
the wind inside my sail.

Victories came every day;
I claimed them one by one.
My ego grew with every win
I basked in what I'd done.

Then things began to fall apart,
a little bit at first.
Before it all was over,
I felt my life was cursed.

My precious career stumbled.
Everything went wrong.
Exposed as an imposter,
my secret all along.

Then I lost the only person
who meant the world to me.
Gone in but an instant,
replaced with agony.

Finally I realized
when I could lose no more,
I would seize the invitation
that was offered me before.

Jesus came and pulled me out;
What more can I tell?
He reached down in and rescued me,
saved me from my hell.

I can't claim life is happy;
trouble is still here.
But now I have a Savior,
and I have no more to fear.

He taught me how to hope again
because he's by my side.
I worship him and not myself,
my God, and not my pride.

I wish I had not waited,
when I was on my own.
The years I could have had with him,
the love I could have known.

I wish I had not waited,
but it will be sublime,
when I enter eternity
and make up for lost time.

~ Jack Zavada,, 2021 ~

Is backsliding still a thing?

Years ago, preachers talked about "backsliding" Christians, converted people who sinned and strayed from the godly path.

All believers still sin, but with the support of the Holy Spirit, we should become more like Christ in our daily walk (sanctification).

So what does that have to do with my book, Hope for Hurting Singles? We backslide for many reasons: the influence of the world, the temporary pleasure of sin, or forgetting what we have in Jesus.

Hope for Hurting Singles gives practical ways to avoid backsliding, proven through my own trial-and-error efforts. Why waiver against sin when you can find out what worked for me?

Now I'm not claiming to be sinless by any means, but thanks to the Holy Spirit and lessons I've learned, I am making progress.

Hope for Hurting Singles shows you what not to do when you're faced with:

  • Depression
  • Bitterness
  • Fear
  • Rejection
  • Loneliness

Even better, you'll learn positive actions to help you overcome life's challenges.

Yep, backsliding is still a thing, but with Hope for Hurting Singles you'll have a powerful weapon in your arsenal to fight it!

It's only $10.99 for paperback, $3.99 for Kindle version.

QOTM: Why you're not a nobody

August's Quote of the Month comes from pastor and Christian counselor Maurice E. Wagner, from his book The Sensation of Being Somebody:

By identification with Christ, we have found our true self-identity. We are somebody because we belong to someone who is truly Somebody! He has accepted us and made us His own. We are somebody to God.

~ Maurice E. Wagner (1914 - 2005) ~

For millions of singles, the fact that no one has "chosen" us for marriage leaves a nagging sense of unworthiness. We feel like nobodies. But God, the ultimate source of truth, redeems us from that mistaken notion. We are somebody to God, Dr. Wagner says.

God's validation of us must not be taken for granted. When the most important Being in the universe says we are valuable to Him, what people think of us pales in comparison. What is their opinion compared to God's, anyway?

As a believer in Jesus Christ, you are wholly accepted and loved by God. Thanks to Christ's righteousness, you don't need to strive to measure up. You are a Princess or Prince in the Royal Family of the Kingdom of Heaven. That's somebody!

I think it's time to get a new favorite pastime

I've often thought Americans' favorite pastime is trying to impress others. What would the average person do if, for an entire month, they didn't try to impress anyone in any way?

Single friend, I'm here to tell you impressing others with stuff is a losing battle. Just when you think you're cool, the fad changes and you're an out-in-the-cold dork again. Ah, but our insatiable marketplace has the solution: Buy the newest cool!

In the 1950s, when "cool" became a requirement for life, along with water and oxygen, the credit card magically appeared. Today, impressing others and credit card debt are almost synonymous.

The ironic truth here is that while most of us understand that we can't work to win God's approval, we're willing to beat our brains out to seek the acceptance of our fellow men and women.

What impresses you most in other people? Isn't it character? It's their inner qualities, not their car, clothes, or home.

As we grow in Christ and participate in our sanctification with the Holy Spirit, our character becomes more mature, more godly. We can be honest, authentic people, or we can be shallow, materialistic people. When you think about it, the choice is clear.

How to get off the people-pleasing treadmill and onto the right path? Here are some more thoughts on impressing others.

The discouraging problem of sin

I don't talk about sin much in this newsletter. As I see my job, and I may be wrong, I'm trying to encourage single Christians and give them hope. That's why I called my book Hope for Hurting Singles.

I'm not a preacher and don't claim to be. I don't profess to be a Bible teacher either because I don't know the Bible well enough to do that. I'm just a Christian guy with about 50 years' experience in the single life. That's my thing. That's my area of expertise.

But getting back to sin, it's an ever-present, discouraging problem for all of us Christians. We all want to stop but we can't. We continue to sin after being saved because we have a sinful nature. We'll only stop sinning once we enter Heaven's gate.

Meanwhile, what can we do when we sin? "If we confess our sins, God is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." (1 John 1:9, ESV)

I don't want to end this newsletter on a downer, so if your sin, or a particular sin, is weighing you down, here are some encouraging thoughts on what you need to remember.

Oh, and by the way, if you're not a Christian, the link in the P.S. below shows you what's involved. It's not painful, but it is a commitment.

As usual, to comment on this issue of Inspire-O-Gram, please use our secure contact form, which will forward your email directly to my personal inbox. I will respond to you within a couple days.

Here in the U.S., the pandemic is far from over. I've been vaccinated and prayerfully ask that if you have not received the vaccine yet, that you do so ASAP. This is not a political issue. It's about protecting the gift of life God gave you and protecting the precious lives of your neighbors. Thanks, single friend.

Until the September issue then,

Jack Zavada

PS: Not a Christian? Find out how to become one!

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