by Lisa McHeard
Who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.
1 Peter 1:5 ESV
Faith isn’t just some baseless, pie in the sky, flimsy wish we cling to. It is the foundation of the Christian life, set in place by God and held there by his power. Faith is a sure, steady, immovable surety that what God says in his Word he has or will accomplish. Faith doesn’t fluctuate with the stock market, or our pocketbook, or hormones, or the weather, or the opinions of those around us. It is stable, rock steady and completely sufficient.
Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.
Hebrews 11:1 ESV
Faith is not heartfelt wishes, or unsubstantiated dreams. Faith is the assurance of things hoped for. It is the title to our possession of our salvation and all that comes with it. Faith is the conviction, the absolute persuasion, that God has promised, and it is so.
Another important aspect of faith is that the fortitude of our faith is not dependent on us at all. We don’t muster up faith by our stubborn determination. We can’t earn more of it by believing harder than the person standing next to us. The most faithful among us isn’t always the strongest or the bravest. Think about the father in Mark, who recognized the limit of his own resolve. When he reached the end of his insufficient hopefulness, he cried out to Jesus for more faith. “Immediately the father of the child cried out and said, “I believe; help my unbelief!” (Mark 9:24)
Faith is God’s gift, dispensed in the measure we need it, exactly when we need it. It has nothing whatsoever to do with us and everything to do with the gracious heart of God. He is so willing to give it, but so often we depend on our own strength instead of trusting his. As the old saying goes…we need to get out of our own way!
For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.
Ephesians 2:8-9 ESV
These five verses in 1 Peter have done more to encourage my heart lately than any shift in world circumstances or season of good fortune could ever accomplish. The confidence of knowing that I have been chosen by God, known by him completely and still chosen, is cause for great rejoicing in the midst of great trial. This evil, selfish, totally deluded world is not my home. I am a sojourner, an exile, traveling toward a better land. When my strength and provisions deplete, I can trust that God will restore them. When I lose my way, I just need to search for the footprints of my Savior to find my way. When I bite off more than I can chew, I simply need to remember that I’m not meant to save the world. Salvation is God’s right alone. I am put here to pass along mercy and share my experiences on this journey toward Home.
Lisa McHeard serves as Women’s Ministry Coordinator for the New York State Presbytery of the PCA. She loves writing and is presently completing a devotional on the Gospel of Mark. Lisa is married to Ken McHeard, senior pastor of Duanesburg Reformed Presbyterian Church, where she serves joyfully at his side.
STORE UP MORE TREASURES
At some point in our lives, we or someone we know will go through great suffering. I encourage you to go the MARKINC website and listen to the interview “Chronic Illness: Living With Purpose" so that you can store up treasures of encouragement for the next rainy day in your life or someone else's. Here is a summary and teaser of this resource:
A chronic condition is a human health condition or disease that is persistent or otherwise long-lasting in its effects. The term chronic is usually applied when the course of the disease lasts for more than three months. These interviews with women with chronic illnesses are able to give thanks to God everyday even when their pain becomes too much to bear.
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Contact Sharon with comments or questions at firstname.lastname@example.org.