Monday, December 9, 2013

Have You Forgotten?

By Kristen Leigh Evensen
A lot of things in life require upkeep.
If I did not clean my bathroom for several months on end, it would be noticeably dirty. If I never washed my car, its color would turn from black to a dusty gray. If I never got a haircut, my split-ends would be out of control! If I never practiced piano, or French, or even writing, my skills would grow stale or may peter out altogether.

Faith, at its core, does not work like that...exactly.

Let me be clear: faith does demand that we follow hard after our Lord! Faith without works is dead, and faith without a growing knowledge of the God we believe is not faith at all. It is like the seed that falls on rocky soil and is picked up by the birds of air--it never takes root and amounts to nothing.

However, at times I operate as though what has already been secured by faith must still be secured. Have you ever been in that place? Thinking like you must somehow, in all your own power and might, must "do the upkeep" on your standing with the Lord? Because only if you "do the upkeep" will you really, truly be loved and delighted in by the King of Kings?

Here is the truth I need to remember today, and maybe you do, too: When your life has been secured by His grace, your life will be sustained by His grace. 

God's saving mercy is not some kind of flip-formula: "I did the first part; now you do the rest." But, if I'm honest with my heart, I think that's how I operate sometimes. I live like God has left me on my own to fight the good fight and finish the race, all by myself. 

This is simply not true. Theologically it is untrue; therefore practically, how we operate around it is probably untrue! So let's get back to the truth (Isaiah 40:12-31):

12 
Who has measured the waters in the hollow of his hand

    and marked off the heavens with a span,
enclosed the dust of the earth in a measure
    and weighed the mountains in scales
    and the hills in a balance?...
13 


25 
To whom then will you compare me,

    that I should be like him? says the Holy One.
26 
Lift up your eyes on high and see:
    who created these?
He who brings out their host by number,
    calling them all by name,
by the greatness of his might,
    and because he is strong in power
    not one is missing.


27 
Why do you say, O Jacob,

    and speak, O Israel,
“My way is hidden from the Lord,
    and my right is disregarded by my God”?
28 
Have you not known? Have you not heard?
The Lord is the everlasting God,
    the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He does not faint or grow weary;
    his understanding is unsearchable.
29 
He gives power to the faint,
    and to him who has no might he increases strength.
30 
Even youths shall faint and be weary,
    and young men shall fall exhausted;
31 
but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength;
    they shall mount up with wings like eagles;
they shall run and not be weary;
    they shall walk and not faint.

Here is the marvelous truth: God promises that He will sustain your life and my life by His power, might and grace! When we operate as though God has left us alone after saving us, we are basically disbelieving His mighty power to help us here and now...and unto eternity. We may cry, "My way is hidden from the Lord!" and it may seem like we have no resources when the difficulties of life weigh heavily upon us.

What an encouragement to realize that the God of the universe, the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth, keeps us in His iron grip to the very end! He knows that we are dust, that we need His sustaining power and might. 

All whom He has saved, He will sustain...that is a promise! 

Today, as you navigate hardship and busyness and life, press into Him who is True. Be still and know that because He has saved you, He will indeed sustain your race of faith, from now until the day you see Him face to face! 

Gracious Father, You are awesome in power! We know that we forget your desire and ability to keep us and sustain us when we are weak and needy. Fix our minds on Your strength and power, Your love and grace to help us in time of need. Where we do not believe, help our unbelief and deepen our trust in You. Thank You that you have saved us, and that You will sustain us to the very end!

Amen. 

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