It's fun to be part of a group that blogs on the same topic every week, but this week - WOW - Who chose this one? "Amazon Rainforest" ... oh yeah. I picked it. And, as most people in my social circle, I don't know much about it. So, I shall do my best to write an Amazing post. Let's see where God shows up ...
Usually when we think about the Amazon Rainforest, it conjures up visions of lush tropical botanical life, brilliant colors, exotic animals, and, of course, rain, from a very fine mist to big fat drops. It also brings to mind the need for conservation of the abundant resources that God has placed there. There is so much of the rainforest ecosystem that is beneficial to the earth and to mankind: the plants with their function of cleansing the air; the Amazon river as a main thoroughfare across the continent of South America; the untapped medicinal benefits of many of the plants; the brilliant colors of the animals; the desirability of the wood from the trees, just to name a few. But even with all the rainforest has to offer, it is constantly being diminished by a ruthless enemy: Man. At first it wasn't so bad, just harvesting some acreage here and there. But the little bits do add up, and what seems insignificant at first has become an issue of global importance.
In a way, mankind is like the rainforest. Because of the gifts God has given each of us, we have the potential to make a tremendously positive impact on people's lives. Yet we are under constant attack from an enemy, Satan, who is bent on destroying our dreams and visions. Oh, the destruction doesn't seem obvious at first. A little bit of doubt here, a bit of compromise there, ... and before we know it, our concept of who we are and the fullness of what we have to offer is cut down until all we know is that we are unable to salvage what we once had.
In order to save the rainforests, we all need to be aware there is a problem, and, more importantly, a means to save it. Likewise, in order to save ourselves from the destructive power of our enemy, we must first be aware of what the problem is, and know the means to be saved from its grasp.
The problem with mankind is that we have a predisposition to give in to temptation. No matter how hard we try to be perfect, we eventually give in to one thing or another. There's a name for that: Sin. "For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God" (Romans 3:23). We have all sinned. We have all done things that are displeasing to God. There is no one who is innocent. With sin comes consequences, and since we've all sinned, we all have consequences for it coming our way, and it's not good. "For the wages of sin is death" (Romans 6:23).
What? We're all gonna die? Yes, someday we all will die a physical death. But the death spoken of here is more of a spiritual death, a separation from God's love. You see, God is perfect and holy. That means that he can't be mixed up with sinners like you and me. We were created to walk together with God in a perfect garden, but our sinful nature has tainted our rainforest, contaminating what was intended to be pure. We've forfeited paradise, and there's nothing we can do on our own to get it back.
But there's good news -- "The gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord" (Romans 6:23). All is not lost. God has a plan to restore us. We have an advocate who wants nothing more than to save us from the damage sin has created in our relationship with God, and that advocate is Jesus Christ. Romans 5:8 declares, "But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us." Jesus Christ died for us! Remember the consequence of sin? Jesus' death took care of it for us! And his resurrection proves that God accepted Jesus' death as the payment for our sins.
Because of Jesus' death on our behalf, all we have to do is believe in Him, trusting His death as the payment for our sins - and we will be saved! "If you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved" (Romans 10:9). Salvation, the forgiveness of sins, is available to anyone who will trust in Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. This is the means by which you and I can again have peace with God, and be allowed to have everlasting life in heaven, an eternal paradise with more vibrant colors and benefits than any rainforest on earth!