Wednesday, April 23, 2014
God's love never fails
There were two specific times in my childhood I remember taking leaps of faith. We all believe something. We all have faith. It affects who I believe I am and what I am going to do as a result of that. Faith without works is dead. You know what you really believe by what you do. We can have a theology, a knowledge, in our heads but until it reaches our hearts we are not changed. The knowledge in our head is our responsibility, its moving to our heart is the Spirits responsibility. The Spirit, the great Counselor, is the one who changes our hearts. The question is... does what we believe in our heart match the knowledge in our head. Or are we believing a lie altogether.
I remember being a child and giving a dare to my friends. I will walk along the top bar of that swing set and jump off, with this umbrella if you will. I really believed I could fly. I could jump off that swing set, high up for a little girl, and just glide down. Kinda like Mary Poppins. This was even before her time, I do believe. Of course they said yes and I climbed up on top of the swing set, opening my umbrella, steading myself to a stance and I jumped. Well I am sure you are not surprised...it knocked the breath out of me. I laid flat on my back, gasping for breath and said you promised lol. Well of course they were not going to jump. They saw what happened to me and that I was believing a lie. I did not have this kind of power and neither did they.
The next leap of faith I took was...we had a high diving board in the middle of a lake pool near our house. I use to swim there a lot. One thing I wanted to do really bad, as a child, was to jump off that high diving board. I didn't know if after jumping off, if I would sink or swim so my dad said he would come and catch me. Well as I climbed the steps to the platform of the high dive I had my eyes on my dad. He was there waiting on me. I inched forward on the board and out over the lake but did not take my eyes off my dad. He did not move, but was waiting directly beneath the board, waiting for me to jump. Waiting to catch me. I had no doubt my father was there and he was going to catch me. So I jumped and sure nuff my dad caught me. My faith and trust was in my fathers ability to catch me and he did. He had never let me down and I new he was not about to now. My dad was a picture of Gods faithfulness to me til this day.
The first leap of faith I took, I was trusting in my own abilities. It was a lie. The second one I took, I was trusting in my dad. He was faithful. I knew he loved me and he was able to do what he said he would do. To catch me. We either believe in ourselves or in God. If we believe in ourselves we are going to fail. We just do not have the power and strength we think we do. We are a weak people who find strength in the power of the Lord. The same power that raised Christ from the dead lives in us and is made perfect in us in our weakness.
You might ask, where does faith come from? Two places. It is again our responsibility and Gods faithfulness to us. Faith comes from hearing the Word of God. We can do this through many ways, studying the bible, meditating on His Word, listening to sermons, telling ourselves the truth, listening to music, or being told by our friends and the reminding of the Spirit. The Spirit writes Gods truth on our hearts and will remind us of it when we need it. This is all done in relationship with the Father, Son and Spirit. Those who seek find. We are to ask for wisdom and faith. We are not to gain knowledge just for the sake of knowing more. It will make us proud. It is to know God but not just in a head knowledge but intimately.
The other way we get faith is through God. You are saved by faith but it is not of yourselves but is a gift from God. Lord I believe help my unbelief. Faith is a gift from God.
The purpose of faith is to have this ongoing relationship with God and with others. We are to cooperate with what He is doing. We are to depend on Him and not ourselves. It is a love relationship. We can serve others, we can have knowledge and faith but if we do not have love we have nothing. We are to do good works. The work we are to do is to be rooted in Gods love for us so we have a love for others and for God, believing in Gods Son. That nothing we can do can make God love us more. But we can please Him by trusting in His Son, period. Without faith it is impossible to please God. We are to strive to rest. To work to rest in His Son's finished work for us. But this brings a fruit of acting out in faith, and by, that we can love others because He first loved us. You shall know them by their love for one another. You shall know them by their fruits.
We are in a dance with the Father, Son and Spirit. They love us and others and we love them in return and giving this love to others. It is a give and take. We will receive love from others. We do not need this love but we desire it. We have a need to be loved perfectly. Only God can do this. God does not need our love but it brings Him much joy and delight when we do. God expects our love and we should expect others to love us. God is all about relationships. God meets our deepest need to be loved but we find much joy in being loved by others. Our love births love. It is multiplied and returned. We are not to hide our gifts or bury them, save them for a rainy day, no matter how small. We are to use them to love others. By this we are loving Him. Love is as a seed planted that grows a tree. It will grow and produce much fruit and even more seed to fall to the ground and grow more trees and on and on and on it goes. We will someday leave this world but what will last is our love. His love changes us, it changes others for generations to come. It brings light into a dark world. Live and pray believing it. A friend mentioned to me the possibility that the measure of our love has a direct connection in seeing our depravity and Gods love for us in it. So I cannot judge another person because I could have done the same thing they did to me or to others. But I am not identified with my sin. We both, if in Christ, are identified with Him. We have His righteousness. We are a saint who God has made the unbelievable, believable. Live out of faith in the One whose love is jealous, radical, patient and sacrificial. His love never fails.