“This faith is not like a deed to a house in which one may live with full rights of possession. It is more like a kit of tools with which a man may build a house. The tools will be worth just what he does with them. When he lays them down, they will have no value until he takes them up again.” –The Robe by Lloyd C. Douglas

Faith in God is not the easy way to get to Heaven. It never has been, and it never will be. In fact, we are promised that we will suffer just as Christ himself did, but it is all worth it. Philippians 3:8 says, “Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ.”

That verse is beautiful to me because there is an all-powerful God who loves us enough to give his own son up to die for us. Nothing can ever separate us from that love if we should choose to accept it; not sin, not pain, not hardship, not our faults, or even all the mistakes we have ever made. It’s crazy to think anyone could love so selflessly, yet God proves us wrong time and time again.

There are so many pictures of his endless love painted in the Bible. The entire book of Hosea is a representation of God’s love for us. For any who does not know the story, God commanded Hosea to marry a prostitute named Gomer, and stay faithful to her even when she did not stay faithful to him. Symbolically, the relationship between Gomer and Hosea represents the relationship between God and his people; with the Lord constantly bringing his children home after they continuously stray back to their sin. The book of Hosea still applies to us today. We will never be perfect, but Christ pursues us anyway.

When we discover our love for God, it is easy to understand why James 2:14-17 is so true. [“What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, ‘Go in peace, be warmed and filled,’ without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.”] Faith prompts us to act in ways we never would otherwise. When a person dedicates their life to Christ, it is no small commitment because following God is not a simple task.

God does not hesitate to call us out of our comfort zones, but it is up to us to decide whether to obey or not. Lloyd C. Douglas put this idea into words excellently in the quote I used above. If we choose not to act upon our belief in God, then how can we claim to be wholly devoted to him? That being said, we will fail to act through faith over and over and over again, but God does not abandon us even though we can never measure up.

I am dwelling on these things tonight because of my baptism yesterday. It was an incredible time for me. My family and a few friends were able to attend, and their attendance meant the world to me. But more importantly, God proved to me once again that he is working in my life.

A few days ago, I blogged about my concerns for my upcoming baptism. I was stressed about not fully understanding what baptism meant, and went through an anxious period over the last week, but God did not leave me in that state of mind. He answered my prayers two days ago with only a short time left to spare before I was actually baptized.

I spoke with one of my good friends while we were on a run, and realized that God did not require me to fully understand what baptism meant. Instead, I firmly believe that he desired me to act on faith, and obey him no matter what my comfort level was. After I got home from Cross Country practice that morning, I felt at peace with my decision to go through with getting baptized. As I explained to my mom, I don’t think Abraham quite understood what he was doing when God commanded him to be circumcised [Genesis 17], and he didn’t need to. God worked through him even though his comprehension was limited, and I figured that God could easily do the same with me.

While I am still unclear about baptism in its entirety, I am overjoyed that I was baptized last night. It was the absolute perfect time, and God knew that and prepared me for it. I am immensely grateful to God for blessing me with such an incredible night with him and my friends and family, and I don’t think I’ll ever forget it.

End of book quote: “And when the colt, nothing but a bundle of legs and wet fur as black as Enna’s hair, fell into her arms, Ani might hear a name.” —The Goose Girl by Shannon Hale

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