From Pastor Brady
If I already have every spiritual blessing; if I have all of Jesus that I’m ever going to get; if I can’t earn my way to God, then what’s my motivation here?
We live in a world system that is all about striving to achieve. This is the land of opportunity. If I work hard I will succeed. And that’s a good system. It works. But God’s system doesn’t even try to provide this sort of motivation. God says you can’t achieve- you need grace.
So what is our motivation in the Christian life?
Paul says it this way in Galatians:
“the life I live, I live by faith in the one who loved me and gave himself for me.” Gal. 2:20.
Faith is believing the truth about God. Our faith must be rooted in facts. Facts about who God is and what God does. Facts about what God is like. Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God (Rom. 10:17). So our faith is founded on God’s declaration of truth. For Paul, that truth was “Jesus loves me and gave himself for me,” and “I have very spiritual blessing.”
Faith founded on what God says substantiates things not seen. It is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things unseen (Heb. 11:1). This is how you were saved. You heard the word of God- the truth of the Gospel- and you believed it. Your faithful obedience of the Gospel is the evidence of the truth of the Gospel now each and every day.
Faith must be more than just head knowledge. As Paul says in Galatians 2:20 and in Colossians 2:6, faith is a way of life. It is substance. It is evidence. It is faith in the ONE who loved me and gave his life for me. It is trusting in the indwelling life of Christ to guide my life. It is the equivalent of “walking by the Spirit.”
George Mueller wrote, “Faith has nothing to do with probabilities.” We cannot faith God into things. We do not make things come to pass by our faith. Either God has already said it will come to pass or He hasn’t. We trust what His Word says- the written and Living Word. Living in the unknown and unseen, we trust that God will work all things for good and use all things to transform us into Christ.
There are two things that fall short of biblical faith:
1. Reducing the Christian life to principles.
Many Christians are simply trying to live their daily life by a set of Christian Principles. Of course there are Christian principles, and these are good and will probably make life a bit easier. But they rarely require much faith. They don’t move us from the seen to the unseen. It is not a relational way to live- knowing God and being known by God. These Christians want to please God with obedience, but because their obedience is self- empowered it doesn’t please God. Rarely if ever, do they step out of their comfort zone of principles into the realm of sacrificial love for others, or into the ministry of inconvenience.
2. Seeking spiritual experiences.
Many Christians believe that faith is what moves them into newer, higher, and greater spiritual experiences of God. They seek a spiritual high, a mountain top experience, an experience that gives them more of Jesus.
There is no such thing!
You have all of Jesus you will ever get. Jesus isn’t trying to tell you anything new that his life inside of you hasn’t already told you. Seeking spiritual experiences and seeking “blessings” are an attempt to shortcut God’s way of growth. Slow and progressive growth by true faith. Fruit ripens slowly. Growth into Christlikeness is a slow process. Not something that happens from a spiritual experience.
Faith is unaware of itself. A.W. Tozer said, “Like the eye which sees everything in front of it and never sees itself, faith is occupied with the Object upon which it rests and pays no attention to itself at all.” Over time this faith becomes a habit of the soul, an almost effortless spiritual impulse that is not even aware of its own existence. Faith becomes the impulse or instinct by which we live all of life. It becomes our natural response to all situations. Faith opens up our spiritual eyes and perceptions. It produces a life of gratitude and love. In any situation I don’t calculate out the pros and cons based on a principle. Nor do I expect some supernatural lightning bolt to zap me with spiritual knowledge or strength and blessing for the situation. No, I simply and naturally respond in love. Hopefully one day, without even having to think about it.
Faith is a way of life; faith in the person and finished work of Christ living inside of me. Faith pleases God (Heb. 11:6). Why? Because faith as a way of life is the only motivation that places all hope and trust in God. Earning, success, reward, punishment- these motivations place hope and trust in myself. All glory to ME.
But faith in what Jesus has already done- the Gospel- allows me to trust Him for what he is going to do today in my life as I obey him and serve others. All glory to THEE.