Growing Faith; December 18, 2017

Hebrews 4:16 Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.

This verse is quoted often, and with excellent reason. It is an incredible miracle of grace that we are able to approach the throne of God at all, much less boldly or with confidence. However, Jesus took all our sin and shame on Himself, and it was nailed to His cross. Jesus’ body was taken down, but our sin and shame stayed on the cross. As I often tell people, that work of the cross is effective only when we receive it by faith. You aren’t going to get into a lifeboat you don’t believe is real. There are actually many levels to faith, which is why we need to keep growing spiritually as long as we are on this earth. Believing that you are a sinner and Jesus died for you so that you could be made right with God is saving faith, but at the point of salvation you are an infant, and babies need to grow. It is interesting to me how much trouble some people have with believing that God is greater that their weaknesses. They believe in eternal salvation, but they can’t believe God will enable them to overcome their character flaws. As a result, they don’t try, and live lives of defeat, just waiting to be “taken out of all of this” and go to heaven. That’s a major reason the idea of “the rapture” is so popular. In a sense their salvation is incomplete, because it doesn’t include the redemption of their lives on this earth. Circumstances can be horrendous, but as Paul said, in the middle of anything at all we can be “more than conquerors.” (Romans 8:37) That comes only with believing fully in the completed work of Christ, and thus coming boldly before the throne of God.

This is a very timely reminder. We are in the middle of an intense battle, and I’ve got to keep my focus on Christ in order to have the boldness I need. Jesus not only told us, “In this world you will have trouble,” He followed that up with, “But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33) I am in real need of “taking heart” right now! The challenges of the moment seem immense, but there is no challenge, no enemy, that is greater than my God, and I need to rest in peace in that assurance. Frustration comes from the conflict among what you want to do, what you need to do, and what you have to do. I need to trust God to know my needs better than I do, and flow with His spirit on His schedule for His glory.

Father, thank You for Your faithfulness. Thank You for getting us through the day yesterday, and for the night’s rest. Thank You for reminding me this morning of the breathing exercise I learned from Fr. Kopp 30 years ago, breathing in the God of peace and breathing out the peace of God. That’s good not only for getting to sleep, which is how I have used it, but also for defusing moments of intense conflict. Help me make good use of the tools You have given me, without relying on the tools themselves instead of on You. May I continue to grow in faith as You intend, so that the works of the enemy may be defeated and his strongholds torn down, in me and in others, (2 Corinthians 10:4) for Your will to be done in Your way for Your glory. Thank You. Hallelujah!

About jgarrott

Born and raised in Japan of missionary parents. Have been here as an adult missionary since 1981.
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