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10 Life-Changing Passages

The Bible is a text filled with amazing stories and passages throughout. It is hard to have a favorite passage when you can pull something personally impactful from literally every page. I am only on my second reading for a good many books, but some I have read well over five times (Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and Revelation). The more I read these texts, the more I realize how many passages have grown to become life lessons for me even in this day and age. So, in order to spark your curiosity, and to encourage others to read the Bible and learn about life, I have come up with ten passages, in no particular order, that have truly changed my life.

The first of these passages comes from John 11. Specifically, I’m referring to (1) John 11:35 “And Jesus began to weep.” You have to know the history of God from the beginning, that is written by Moses, known as creation, to the end, that is written by John, known as the second coming of Jesus Christ, to understand the importance of this. God is often imagined as this unflinching judge who establishes and executes law, only having compassion through forgiveness of sin by way of sacrificing animals, confession, or surrendering free will. Jesus came and changed my overall view of God in many ways, but this passage stuck with me.

In short, Lazarus, a friend of Christ, had died. Though Jesus knew He was going to resurrect Lazarus, He looked at all the people weeping and wept as well. What does God need to weep about? What makes God sad? It made me think of another verse in the Bible, Genesis 6:5-6, where God was lamenting the very creation of humanity on earth. I began to wonder what was so bad about humanity, looking to impart self-pity or take offense, but I looked at it all wrong.

I began to watch the world shrink in size because of traveling and social media. I saw that all over the world, people are suffering. If you open your eyes to all of the broken homes, the trafficking of children, the suffering sickly, those mourning the deaths of loved ones and pets, and plenty of other hopeless events taking place daily, you’d lament as well. We opened up death and suffering with our free will and the consequences have not gotten any easier. I have found myself crying many times with and for those who have been hurt, and I don’t fully know what happened or how they feel inside. God does.

God knows every person down to the core. He made them before they were created in the womb[1]. He knew their potential trials, their potential struggles, their hopes, their dreams, and all the things that could derail them along the way. He knows exactly how distraught each and every single person on this earth is. He even knows the suffering of the suicidal. If I had to deal with that knowledge every day, I’d cry every day. Just seeing those around me suffer is draining enough. For God, everyone on earth and everyone ever made is close to Him. Their pain hits home for Him.

Knowing God knows our suffering and that He mourns with us allowed me to embrace my sad days with Him, rather than trying to shove them all on His shoulders or keep them tucked away from Him. He already knows I’m hurting and He knows what gets to me and makes me cry. He doesn’t always say suck it up. He doesn’t always say let it out. Sometimes He just weeps with me. That’s a comforting fact. I’ve experienced it several times.

The second passage is arguably my favorite verse in the Bible. In (2) Ecclesiastes 1:9-11, it reads, “What has been is what will be, and what has been done is what will be done; there is nothing new under the sun. Is there a thing of which it is said, “See, this is new”? It has already been, in the ages before us. The people of long ago are not remembered, nor will there be any remembrance of people yet to come by those who come after them” I know, it’s harsh. But, the truth remains, and I am forever a fan of the truth exposing the lie.

Ever heard the saying, “If you don’t know your history, you’re doomed to repeat it.”? Ever sat and watched someone return to a “lover” they had a bad history with, as if anything was going to change? All over the world, societies repeat history as if they didn’t remember it. In the church, we call it backsliding. We know what we ought not to do, yet we do it anyway. Ecclesiastes takes our hypocrisies and shoves them right back in our face. I love that book.

This passage was impactful to me because it told me that the most memorable men in history are forgotten. This new generation won’t even know Michael Jackson. My generation doesn’t know James Brown. Then, there are those who rewrite history, like we’ve done and exposed in Christopher Columbus’ conquest of America. You could have done great things in your life, and somewhere down the line a “scholar” who studied your time could present an argument and change the entire narrative of what you did in life. I’ve seen it done on the topic of slavery, on Martin Luther King Jr, on Malcolm X, and so many others. So what’s the point of chasing glory?

I do my best to chase Christ, as the Bible and Ecclesiastes suggest. I enjoy whatever is given to me, and I try to be a bright spot in all who meet and get to know me. If I am given fame and notoriety, I do not make it about me, but about Christ. After all, the One who has the best chance of being remembered correctly is the One who rose again. He’s still alive to defend Himself.

The next passage is a hard heart check. I’m almost sure 95%, if not 99% will hate it. It is in (3) Luke 17:3-4 and it reads: “Be on your guard! If another disciple sins, you must rebuke the offender, and if there is repentance, you must forgive. And if the same person sins against you seven times a day, and turns back to you seven times and says, ‘I repent,’ you must forgive.” I’ll let you read that again before I comment, because I think just knowing Jesus said this is insane.

Having someone betray you or do wrong by you is never easy or fun to take. Yet, in order to be like Christ, Whom we offend multiple times every day, you must be able to forgive. Forgiveness, however, is never about the person being forgiven. It is always about yourself. I don’t know if I am capable of hanging around for seven betrayals period, let alone daily, but the Word is clear and the Word is true. Forgiveness is a lifestyle. You cannot hold grudges[2], you cannot get revenge[3], but you must live and let go[4]. You cannot let the evil of one person settle in your heart. Remain free of fault and let the Lord handle the battle as He promised.

This next passage still baffles me today. It comes from (4) Hosea 1: 2-3. It reads: “When the Lord first spoke through Hosea, the Lord said to Hosea, “Go, take for yourself a wife of whoredom and have children of whoredom, for the land commits great whoredom by forsaking the Lord.” So he went and took Gomer daughter of Diblaim, and she conceived and bore him a son.” What would you do if God asked you to marry a prostitute? I’m pretty sure most don’t have the heart for that, which saddens me by the way, because it shows lack of belief in redemption.

The story of Hosea is not a happy one, but it is one worth it in the end. Hosea had a wife, lost a wife, bought the wife back (with literally silver, barley, and wine[5]), and surely suffered much mockery in life. As hard as it was to read about Hosea suffering through life as a single father, a husband of infidelity, and a believer of God who literally saw his marriage become the symbolism for Israel’s and Judah’s current struggle with the Lord, it became clear to me that all of my relationships belong to God.

God can choose and use your spouse, your best friend, your master, your president, your leader, a stranger, cousins, siblings, parents, children, grandparents, ancestors, and newborns to represent whatever He needs. The question is not about what God can do. He can do anything He wants. The question is: will you allow Him to do what He wants? Would you surrender the choice of your spouse to God? Would you surrender the naming of your children to God? Is that too extreme for you? He can have your life but not your choices or free will? I was forced to that crossroad reading Hosea. Can I let the lifetime decisions rest in the hands of God? Ideally, yes. Realistically, I have trouble letting go of my control.

The next passage can be found in several interactions with God, but I like this one because Sarah was bold. It is in (5) Genesis18:1-15, but I am referring specifically to verse 15 where it reads: “But Sarah denied, saying, “I did not laugh”; for she was afraid. He said, “Oh yes, you did laugh.” Have you ever been read your rights by God? Have you ever been truthfully and blatantly humbled by God pointing out your disbelief? It is eye-opening.

We often go through life thinking God isn’t paying attention when He is. We think the little things here and there are able to pass His all-seeing eye, but that is foolishness. There is no comment, no white lie, no slight chuckle, or even a joke that is unnoticed by God. Without even having to confess, Jesus told a woman all about herself and her affairs (five husbands) as she was getting Him water[6]. God is not above telling us what we’re doing wrong, even in the little things, but that’s not what caught my eye.

God could’ve taken back His promise because Sarah laughed and had disbelief. God accepted her disbelief, came back as He said, and gave her a son as He said. It truly is remarkable what God will do even with the faith of a mustard seed[7]. It helps me realize that though I doubt, if I hang on, even by a thread, to the promises of God, I will see His promises come to fruition. It shows me that the limitations of our thoughts and our knowledge does not limit God. God doesn’t hold lack of complete faith against us. He lets us learn to trust Him more and more, and more continually. It’s an honor and a blessing.

It helps me to remain in faith on God’s promises because I know God’s word is not spoken on a whim. I know this because of (6) Psalms 12:6: “The promises of the Lord are promises that are pure, silver refined in a furnace on the ground, purified seven times.” I actually went and looked at the process to purifying silver, and even in today’s society, with all of our equipment, purifying silver takes a long time.

It gladdens my heart that the Lord wasn’t careless and nonchalant when He called me His son[8]. I’m glad He was careful with His words when He said your faith makes you whole[9]. I am glad He was diligent with His promises, causing them to last until this day, and even created new ones specifically for me. I couldn’t have asked for a better example with how to speak, when to speak, and how much detail is required when I speak. I understand its importance in my writing. I’m still working on when the words come out of my mouth.

Another passage keeps me working indefinitely. It is one that most people, not even just Christians, know. It comes from (7) Matthew 22:37-40. It reads, “He said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the greatest and first commandment. And a second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.” These words can be found throughout the Bible[10].

When reading this passage, a few questions come to mind: what is love[11]? What does it mean to love God with ALL, my heart, mind, and soul? What are my heart, mind, and soul together and individually? Who is my neighbor[12]? How do I love my neighbor if I do not love myself? What does it mean to love myself?

Constantly, I am being led to see the inconsistencies in how I treat myself. I cannot love my neighbor to the fullest if I do not love myself to the fullest. God is often exposing lies I’ve believed or taught myself. It is a grueling process that is taking years to fully understand. I doubt I will understand it completely before the end, but I am steadily working as if I will one day.

They say perfection is unachievable in this time, and I agree. However, where one lands in this life is dependent on how far they think they can reach. If you aim for the ceiling and touch it, you’ve done well. What if you aim for the sky and never touch it? What if you aim for the next planet over? What if you aim for the sun? What if you aim for the farthest star? If you limit your reach, you limit where you land. Therefore, I will reach for perfection, who is Christ, and fall short of Him with gladness. Better to reach for the impossible than reach for what I know I can get to and limit myself.

This is why I love and hate (8) James 2:10-11: “For whoever keeps the whole law but fails in one point has become accountable for all of it. For the one who said, “You shall not commit adultery,” also said, “You shall not murder.” Now if you do not commit adultery but if you murder, you have become a transgressor of the law.” Committing one sin makes you guilty of them all. How cruel.

The law, which is the Law of Moses (Exodus-Numbers), exposes the weaknesses in us all. We fail them constantly, daily, which is how we offend God as previously stated. We are too stuck in our ways and in too corrupt of a society to know better, so what do we do? Do we say, “Well since I can’t keep the law, I’ll forget about trying to follow it?” Let us not forget that in order to be Christlike, you have to fulfill the law. The key difference is that Christ became our eternal sacrifice, so there’s no need to sacrifice food, drink, or oil to please God. We just have to present, in our hearts, the faith in what Christ Jesus did on the cross and through resurrection for our sins.

Let us not say to ourselves, “We will not try to obey the law because we will fail.” Neither should we say, “We’ll focus on the commandments we’re good at following and let the Lord cover us on the rest.” Let us always try to reach for perfection and follow all of the commandments. A tall order, true, but do you love the Lord? If you do, keep His commandments[13]. If you don’t love the Lord, you are racing through life to a disastrous end, and I do not envy you in the least.

Coming down to the last two passages that have changed my life, I hope you have found what I have chosen to be helpful and eye-opening. When I tell you the Bible is great, it is not because I am a Christian. It is because I am a human being looking to be a better human being for the sake of other human beings. I am looking to be a better person for all life as we know it. I do not want to be careless with the days I am given on this earth.

The next passage is (9) Matthew 5:43-48, specifically Matthew 5:44-45, which reads, “But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be children of your Father in heaven; for he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the righteous and on the unrighteous.”

God blesses the good and the evil. He does not show partiality to anyone[14]. Why is that? It is because God is trying to save us all, not just the good ones[15]. God also doesn’t judge as we judge[16]. He sees the inner workings of people, and knows what is the true intention and desire of each individual.

This passage allows me to see that anyone can be blessed with materials, food, and possession. That is the heart of God. However, only those who believe in Him and what He did on the cross can overcome judgment day and enjoy Him for eternity. Blessings are only eternal if one believes and knows in their heart that Jesus is Lord. All others will be cut off and thrown in the Lake of Fire.

So, I do not become jealous of evil people succeeding in this life. That is what they have done since the beginning. Instead, I cling tight to the promises of the Lord. Better to suffer here and live in eternity with the Lord, than to be extremely blessed in this life and suffer damnation for eternity. I try to keep my jealousy, envy, and pride in check for the sake of a future with God uninhibited by sin nature and misunderstanding.

The last and arguably most important passage in my life comes from (10) Revelation 22:12-13. It reads, “See, I am coming soon; my reward is with me, to repay according to everyone’s work. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end.” It lays out the very most essential thing to everyone’s life: God and the hope that He brings.

Hope is a strong motivator. It helps people push past the negative in their life for something that may not even come true. The beautiful, most crucial part about following God? The hope is not wasted. God will bring it to pass. He will return!

That is why I continue trying to be a great Christian, according to the standards of men at least. I continue trying to be a good person. The Lord is coming back and I want to be found doing well by His name so that I may be entrusted with His presence for eternity. I want to partake in His infinite glory and wisdom. I want to see all my loved ones smiling and free from pain, sin, and death. I want liberation for my people!

So, I hope for Christ’s return. I hope for eternity with my family and friends. I cherish each day and live with that hope in my heart. This life is a short stop on the way to forever. It is a gift meant to be enjoyed for a time, but not forever. Come, Lord Jesus, come.

These verses, and plenty more, have been life changing for me. It has made me think and rethink and think some more. But don’t be fooled, I can easily rearrange these ten passages at another season in my life. This is just a taste of all the wisdom and understanding explained in the Bible. I do not feel as if any other religion can match it. Christianity is not about what you do, but who you have faith in. Eternity is not earned, but hoped for. You cannot expect to get into New Jerusalem unless God has said you will make it. If you take away anything from what I have said in this, understand that faith is the key, not what you do, but Who you believe in.

What are the verses that changed your life? Are they prayers? Are they commandments? Are they stories of evil versus good? Are they stories, or parables, within stories? Sometimes you have to go back and revisit the verses that increased your faith. It’ll do you some good in a world constantly reminding you that it is evil. Don’t forget to pray to Jesus daily. Don’t forget to read your Bible daily. A sentence in His word is better than a book in someone else’s, and definitely more beneficial than your favorite line in a movie. Peace and blessings to you all. Thank you for reading.

[1] Jeremiah 1:5

[2] Leviticus 19:18

[3] Romans 12:19

[4] Romans 12:18

[5] Hosea 3

[6] John 4:7-42

[7] Matthew 17:20

[8] 1st John 3:1; Galatians 3:26; 2nd Corinthians 6:16-18

[9] Luke 17:11-19; Mark 5:25-34

[10] Deuteronomy 6:4; Mark 12:30-31; Luke 10:27; Leviticus 19:18; Galatians 5:14

[11] 1 Corinthians 13:4-8

[12] Luke 10:29-37

[13] John 14:15

[14] Romans 2:11

[15] 1 Timothy 2:1-4; 2nd Peter 3:9-10

[16] 1st Samuel 16:7


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