He is so rich in kindness and grace that he purchased our freedom with the blood of his Son and forgave our sins. He has showered his kindness on us, along with all wisdom and understanding.
Ephesians 1:7-8 NLT
We are all vile, sinful people. Every last one of us falls short of perfection. Even if you believe that you are a “good” person, when we examine ourselves beside the example of Jesus Christ, when we measure ourselves by the law, and when we investigate the details of our heart’s desires we will see that we are vain, selfish, prideful creatures.
A friend of mine, Rhonda Hand writes:
“If you read the word of God or someone speaks it and you feel small, low, belittled. GOOD! That’s what it is suppose to do. We are shown by the gospel we are nothing but filthy dirty sinners before a Holy, Just God. And that’s why we need Jesus. That’s why he had to die! We are nothing and he is EVERYTHING! There is NO ONE good! Our hearts are wicked and deceitful. When he shows you what you really are before him then you will have no problem with the true undefiled truth of the Lord! Repentance is key! We all have to do this! The Lord calls for repentance!”
Jesus Christ is our only Hope for salvation. The promise of grace is extended by and through Jesus Christ and He alone has the power to save us. Our participation in this Hope, in this acceptance of this free gift of grace, in this picking up and unwrapping of this salvation found at the foot of the cross is simply turning our eyes and our attitude and our perspective towards Christ.
It is not a prayer alone, because prayers said with physical eyes closed do not necessarily insure that spiritual eyes are turned to Christ. It is not a baptism in water alone, because a physical cleansing in water is only an outward demonstration of what being born again spiritually entails. It is not even emotional response alone, which can be evidence of remorse even when there is not yet repentance. So if our confidence is based on these things, we should examine ourselves to make sure that we are not deceiving ourselves.
Christ alone is the source of our hope. And our knowing Him, not just knowing about Him, is the foundation of Hope upon which we can firmly build our lives.
Faith is that process of growing closer to the one that we love and serve. For the Child of God, it is that process of being drawn ever closer in fellowship to the Lord – surrendering our ways and our will for His, serving Him faithfully by following His commandments, learning about Him by reading and studying the Word of God, talking with Him and building a personal relationship through heartfelt and humble prayer.
Faith is about maintaining and strengthening the bond that tires us to God. Faith is about believing, it is about “now”, it isn’t about resting upon a once upon a time religious or spiritual experience, and it isn’t about a “some day” in the future kind of unveiling of God to us. Faith is about sharing our lives with God now, today, in this moment, in this decision, in this action, in these words. And when we are faithful in the individual moments, when we participate with God in our lives intimately, when we walk in the Spirit of, Christ who lives in us and through us – our lives are quite different than when they are simply lived out in the flesh – our lives begin to produce something in this world that is wonderful and beautiful.
Love is the result of Christ alive and moving and active in our lives – not religious judgement that condemns and beats down others with righteous indignation – not puffed up spiritual pride that has knowledge of the theology but no wisdom or understanding of the power that could make them holy.
You see His Holiness, His righteousness exceeds even the perfect fulfillment of a list of legal requirements. This is why Christ raised the bar from a list of laws – instead pointing to the underlying issues of the state of a man’s heart and the reasons unseen behind his why, behind his desires, behind the very motivation that guides choices.
So those who stop at outward obedience, or religious practice, or good works, or anything short of love are nothing and have nothing – because they haven’t grasped hold of grace, they have settled for a way that seems right to man but leads to destruction.
Love is the good fruit that is nourishing and healing and that is produced from good trees. Love can be recognized as joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Love is the very act of taking His righteousness upon ourselves and wearing it as our own. And it is poured out on both the ones who we might think deserve it and the ones who we might think do not. Love is the light of this world that cuts through the darkness and that fulfills the law, because it overcomes sin, it gives us the power to live with a right attitude, perspective, and actions towards God and towards others – because it keeps us humble, serving at the feet of those that He loves and that we are learning to love.
And it is only this work that is done in love that will stand the purifying fires of the trials and tribulations and sufferings of our temporary time in these bodies of flesh that are dig and returning to the grave. Nothing that is built upon a different foundation, or built using different materials will last – no matter how religious or right in the eyes of men. Because we are not to be judged by men, nor are our actions alone what is weighed, but our heart.
So let’s pray today that we will know Truth, Hope, Faith, and, Love in our lives Now and Forevermore – and in doing so, that we will see His Kingdom Come, His Will being done in our lives on earth as it is in Heaven, confident that He will give us today’s nourishment and fill our every need, and that He will not lead us into temptation, but He will deliver us from evil, because He is the one that is in authority and power, and His glory and His honor, are forever and ever in eternity. Amen.
Walk with Him now. It’s that simple. Baby steps are the way to walk the narrow path – like a little child, holding onto is Father’s hand for guidance and assistance. Don’t think that you are wise and mature, just cling to His hand. Don’t decide that you know what is right and strike out on your own, just cling to His hand. Because, you see – getting to some eventual destination isn’t meant to be your only goal – He isn’t far away to one day be experienced at the end of your journey – He is right here with you, hoping you will enjoy the, walk with Him, holding onto His hand, spending time with Him, now.