“Faith is deliberate confidence in the character of God whose ways you may not understand at the time.” Oswald Chambers
For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast (Ephesians 2:8-9 NIV).
Deliberate and selfless faith. What does this look like for me, for you? How do we develop it, attain it? I don’t have an answer beyond what you may already know. It is something we must choose daily, and it is something that will be developed and matured in us our entire lives. Two things resonated with me this past weekend from the messages I received in two worship gatherings.
First, the beautiful and difficult purpose of spiritual discipline. We have an opportunity daily, throughout our lives, to choose to be open and broken for the greater will and purpose of God. All too easy it is to get swept away by our grand dreams and desires, the emotion of feeling God is in something, when before we know it we realize we’ve taken off running with it before taking restful, quiet time to pour it out to the Father first. These are moments that can end very badly if we get too far ahead of ourselves. And the other side of that is for those of us who have had a number of difficult moments in life to the point that now we find ourselves running in the rat race to simply keep up with the daily demand of life. Get up, punch in, punch out, do it all over again the next day. At what point, regardless of the best or worst moments in life, are we consistently starting at the foot of the Cross and in the arms of our Father God? How quickly we get swept up in it, and forget what His Son did for us and the joy set before us to claim! What excuse can we possibly come up with to not live life more abundantly? There is no good excuse. Whatever reason you have for staying stuck in the muck of your life right now, you are choosing it. Nobody is forcing you to stay stuck. God has already won the victory, so claim it now and pull yourself out of that muck, that pit and don’t step back into it. Do you realize when you do, you are pretty much saying what Jesus did for you on that Cross wasn’t enough. Do you get that? Let that truth sink in to your mind and your heart. Now return to the starting point of it all, the moment you found Christ, and remind yourself you are free and nothing, nobody can change that! You have a choice every single day, for yourself, for your spouse, for your children, for your friends, for your coworkers, for strangers you pass in the world day to day, to be deliberate in your faith and let it push you toward a better way of living! Spiritual discipline isn’t just about reading the Word of God and praying daily. It is about living it, breathing it, absorbing it to the point that our lives are an unspoken reflection of Him to the world. It is not easy, and often our humanity will pull on us to get busy doing life, or become lazy and inconsistent. Nobody is perfect, but because of Christ I will push on to attain righteousness. Yes, I will push on.
Two, is the blessed necessity of spiritual formation. Out of spiritual discipline, we will find ourselves to be formed over time into the beautiful masterpiece God created us to be. We don’t do what we do in our time on this earth because we have to satisfy Him. He is entirely satisfied with us, His creation! Our truest, deepest purpose for making an effort daily to be like Christ, is to know that one day we will stand before Him and hopefully hear His words, “Well done….”. He has placed us on this earth, He left this earth and gave us the gift of the Holy Spirit, because He was already entirely satisfied with us and our capability to share the gospel and show His love. I don’t live my life as a follower of Christ to be able to say, “He is satisfied with me!” I live my life as a Christ follower to know in my heart, I’m doing what Christ created me for. Spiritual formation, has nothing to do with me and everything to do with Him. When I connect with the Holy Spirit and His purpose in my life, every selfish motive I might have is dissolved.
Lord, let my focus, my words, my actions, every single day of this life be set on your perfect character even though I don’t fully understand your ways. I can’t fully grasp Your purpose for my life because I know and trust You are revealing it to me as You intend. I know I need to trust Your timing, because no matter how good my plans, my vision may be, Yours is best. I ask for your grace to flow and cover me, so that I can rest in not knowing what is coming and trust that You are enough.