The last few days have been nothing short of amazing. I feel like I'm starting all over again. Even worship songs that I've sung a thousand times are alive with new meaning.
I was feeling a little sick Friday and Saturday (probably at least in part because of all that I ate on Thursday!!) I used to look at sickness as a sign of weak faith -- and even though I had moved on from churches that held that belief, it was still a nagging doubt and a fear that I had to fight whenever I felt ill. It went like this: If your faith isn't strong enough to ward off a stomach bug, how can it be strong enough to be saved? Out of habit, I had started to think along those lines again... but then I realized something.
I had the equation backwards -- it doesn't say that you're saved by faith through grace, it says that you're saved by grace through faith. For years I believed that if my faith was strong enough, God would be gracious enough to save me. Now I'm learning that the strength is in God's grace -- and I couldn't even have faith without Him first extending His grace.
There's tremendous freedom in that realization. It was hard for me to believe that God really loved me when I also believed that I could lose my salvation at the drop of a hat. I respected God, I feared God, and I loved Him from a (hopefully safe) distance... but the thought that He loved me? Maybe He would someday, when I was closer to perfect... but for now, I figured He just tolerated me (and there were times when I even wondered about that).
I've finally begun to find what I've been looking for ever since I left the Pentecostal church. I wrote it on the RP homepage back when I started this project in July: "I just wanted to get back to basics, to rediscover a genuine relationship with God that wasn't based on performance, emotion, ritual, or pretending."
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Why was living for God so hard? Why was it that I felt my salvation was in jeopardy everyday? I often thought there may not be so many people in Heaven.
There's no way I can earn my salvation!! At times I get upset with the Pentecostal movement because of most of the legalistic teachings!! So heavy, so bonding!!!
Thankfully God has NOT left me and has been patient with me. He is showing me His word
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