Here’s a more penetrating question for each of us. To what degree are our lives and relationship with Him a great contradiction as well? In how many areas and ways do we call Him Lord, yet disregard, disobey, and even defy His will and direction for our lives? Where has He spoken His purpose to us, and we, for whatever reason or justification, told Him, “Never Lord?” Where are we doing so now?
I think we are most prone to this sin, and yes, it is sin, when Christ leads us to a place far outside our comfort zone. He requires of us something out of our ordinary experience. Something we were sure He never would. I have lost track of all the times I have heard believers say, “I don’t think the Lord would do that.” I’ve said it myself. Surely that mindset was upon Peter. The Jews had very strict dietary regulations and boundaries. He could not envision the Father ever taking him outside of them. Yet He did. Where are the self-made boundaries that we’ve set up in our lives that put a limit to just how deep our obedience to Him will go?
Where are we living “the great contradiction?”
Christ meets us where we are, and where we are is filled with contradictions. Growth in grace is a process of those contradictions being removed, one contradiction at a time. Do you welcome that? Or, do you go on living “the great contradiction?”
“Which disciple do you think you are most like?” This was the question I recall that started a conversation not long ago from my pastor. Honestly, I returned the question to him knowing he’d say Peter. I am a bit impulsive and can be more than just a little direct.
Being the first-born, most first-born children will agree, you find yourself in a leadership role at a very early age. In this position you necessarily feel those burdens of setting the example and the need at times to choose a course and stay with it, believing it will work out and that you have the unction to get it done and see it through.
Then, by God’s amazing grace you discover that you need redemption, salvation, a savior who you can trust and lean on. In accepting Christ there is relief and hope. Now, all of that energy you had as the first-born becomes focused on intentionally living out this new life. So you are still the example for younger siblings except, now you are not focused on setting an example for them. Now you are focused on Jesus and in that focus, brazen statements are made. Commitments are made that without the Holy Spirit’s power can never be kept.
Over the course of my life, I have found myself joining Paul in being content in all situations. “I know how to live in poverty or prosperity. No matter that the situation, I’ve learned the secret of how to live when I’m full or when hungry, when I have too much or when I have too little. I can do everything through Christ who strengthens me.” Philippians 4:12-13 (God’s Word) We have had plenty in our life and we have had very little and eaten what we could. Sometimes, having less has been the greater blessing.
The greater struggle is in learning to be content in my spiritual walk. Knowing that regardless of what I feel, faith is not about what we feel, Christ is with me in the trenches through His Holy Spirit. When I am seeking Him with all I have and He “seems” very far away, He is closer still than my own breath. Lord help me to know Your presence at all times and in all things—to be content in Your blessed presence when known and when unknown without any doubts!
I recently read a devotional and agree with the author that, God sets a grand tapestry before us for our pleasure to view. He also sets before us a field of harvest that needs workers. I pray in both that He will fit me for His use and that I will always be found faithful to be available and submissive to His call and will.
Blessings and Peace Always,
Faith is declared to be a noun according to Webster’s Dictionary and yet it acts like a verb. Faith is used as a name and, as such, it makes perfect sense to be a noun. However, when we say he or she has faith or is exercising faith, this is an active statement for faith. Faith involves unquestioning belief, complete trust, and loyalty.
Unquestioning belief is the state of believing or having no doubt. This unquestioning belief is the driver of faith. The active part of faith is the state of being. We say, you exercised your faith today when you approached that individual and witnessed to them about the good news of Jesus. Your faith enabled you to share the Gospel through the action of faith. “What does Scripture say? Abraham believed God, and that faith was regarded as the basis of Abraham’s approval by God.” Romans 4:3 “Then Abram believed the LORD, and that faith was regarded as the basis of Abram’s approval by the LORD.” Genesis 15:6 (God’s Word) In both cases his belief and faith are the same; the action of his unquestioning belief, his state of being, and having no doubt was faith.
Complete trust is a matter of being confident and having assurance in someone or something. How often do we display complete trust? The answer is daily: in things like the brakes on our car or truck; when we want to stop we simply put our foot on the brake pedal and press the brakes into action. We display our faith in each other in varying degrees, our spouse to be faithful or our doctor to know how to help us get well. “Faith assures us of things we expect and convinces us of the things we cannot see.” Hebrews 11:1 (God’s Word) Faith is the action that builds our confidence and assurance into complete trust.
Loyalty is dressed in the faithful adherence to the word of God. We learn as we grow in our journey with Jesus; faith is a companion who works along side us in our endeavors to fulfill the great commission. “And remember that I am always with you until the end of time” Matthew 28:20b (God’s Word) Our best friend is Jesus and he has promised to be with us always! God faithfully adheres to His word. This faithful adherence of God is shown through Jesus Christ’s sacrifice for the remission of our sins and the gift of the Holy Spirit to lead and guide us always…this is loyalty.
Because faith is unceasing belief, absolute trust, and devotion, we know that faith is a verb. Sure we are able to say, “Hello Faith, how are you today?” and calling her by name is placing faith in the context of a noun. When we then say that Faith displayed her faith in the word of God, faith was a verb.
Blessings and Peace Always
“Grace, Grace, God’s Grace…” such a beautiful song laid on the heart of Julia H Johnston, titled “Grace Greater Than Our Sin”
I woke up to the chorus of this song this morning and although I know the whole chorus, the Holy Spirit has me dwelling on just the first four words. We all go through “stuff” and it is the life we live today. Nothing has changed over the life of humanity, “stuff” or “things” happen and it becomes what we make of it all. As HIS child, my perspective should be different than that of someone still lost, “dead in their trespasses and sin”. My perspective should be that of constant opportunity!
HE, my Heavenly Father, has a plan for my life! As such, the “stuff” offers me the opportunity to embrace HIS Grace and accept these opportunities for growth in faith and greater intimacy with my Savior and Lord. Paul said, “…and everything that does not come from faith is sin” (Romans 14:23b). I’m taking a very specific view of this last portion of the verse, but I think it’s a shorter reach than you might think when looking at the whole passage. As HIS child, I should live as HIS child and this means believing that HE has already met every need in my life. When I have a need, whether great or small, do I believe HE has already met my need or not? Do I move forward in faith or do I question whether “HIS Grace is Sufficient”?
“Grace, Grace, God’s Grace”, HE provides us grace on HIS terms…FREELY. His terms are, He’s has provided it, always and in abundance, period. There are no strings attached, no conditions and nothing we can do that will change HIS provision. We will either accept it or refuse it. He doesn’t even require a “thank you”….. How humbling is that?! We, Tracy and I, have had and I expect we will again in time have the opportunity to extend this same grace. Father, help us to always be willing to accept and then share Your Grace in exactly the same way YOU have and will provide.
By Faith, we accept that Your grace is available and ours without condition, we need only take hold of it and know that Your Grace is Sufficient.