Do You Believe?

by Susan Sampson

Does your Facebook page say you are single?  I don’t have a Facebook page and I am married, but if I examine my life and my actions, I would have to say it sometimes looks like I am single, independent from God, and autonomous.  I had to look that word up again but it means, “self-governing; not subject to control from outside; independent; self-ruling; uncontrolled.”

At Bible study on Thursday mornings, it’s fairly easy to believe God’s Word.  At 4pm the same day, once I’ve picked up my 3 children from the bus, not so much!  At 10pm when all I want to do is fall into bed and go to sleep and I still haven’t done my physical therapy exercises, not so easy to believe.  These are the times my flesh tends to reign.  These are the times I am so easily tempted to allow my feelings to be my shepherd.

Hearing in the recent Who Am I in Christ lecture that it takes work to believe really has helped me see more of how we work out our salvation with fear and trembling.  The example of going to the gym is such a valuable visual image.  The more you go to the gym, the more weight you lift, the more your muscles grow.  It takes repetition.  The more I do my physical therapy, the less my shoulder is stiff.

But really, what is it going to take for me to choose painful physical therapy exercises over falling into a nice cozy bed which still has flannel sheets on it?  It’s going to take an act of God.  Praise God, He acted!  “For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God” (2 Cor. 5:21).

“And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience – among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind.  But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ – by grace you have been saved…” (Eph. 2:1-5) 

The quote Laurie used in the lecture from Horatius Bonar points us directly to the cross – the life giving power of the cross.  “Terror accomplishes no real obedience.  Suspense brings forth no fruit unto holiness.  No gloomy uncertainty as to God’s favor can subdue one lust, or correct our crookedness of will.  But the free pardon of the cross uproots sin, and withers all it’s branches.  Only the certainty of love, forgiving love, can do this.”

When is your time when your are weakest and most vulnerable to sin?  What will we choose to believe in the next moment of temptation?  Our feelings are shifting shadows.  The truth of God’s Word is absolute, unchanging and eternal.  It says we are-

  • a saint blessed by God with every spiritual blessing
  • chosen by God
  • holy and blameless in His sight
  • adopted
  • redeemed and forgiven
  • lavished with grace
  • united in Christ
  • sealed with the Holy Spirit
  • recipient of an eternal inheritance and great power1

Here is our instruction for the next “moment” –

  • work to believe and receive the grace of God – choose by faith to believe God’s Word is true and not our feelings and look to Jesus and say, “I know you suffered for me the wrath I deserved, so in view of this great mercy and love I will now choose to put myself to death and believe your words and walk forward by faith!”

May our Facebook status always say “In Christ”!  May we by God’s grace this day put our sinful flesh to death and work to believe the truth of His Word and walk in the truth and light of His grace.

1This list has been slightly adapted from Laurie Aker, lecture, Who Am I in Christ, March 20, 2014. The title of this post is also the title of that lecture.

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