Last week I talked about seeking small graces. Then I read Melissa’s response. And re-read it.
“I have to remember to stop spinning my wheels of doing and practice Being in Christ’s Grace and Love. As I walk through life grounded in God’s Grace, life takes on a spirit of peace and love.” Melissa
It had seemed reasonable, sensible, not asking too much, not being pushy or presumptuous, to be content with small graces. But I began to realize it’s like saying one lettuce leaf and a bite of an apple make a meal. I couldn’t live very well on that diet.
And my spirit wasn’t created for a miserly grace diet, either.
God held nothing back. He entered our world (that’s what the incarnation is all about), interacted and sacrificed for us so he could lavish his grace on us, his favor, all that we can never earn.
And with the death and resurrection of Jesus, all of the things that we do that negate life have been transformed. He has breathed new life into us.
It is a relief that I don’t have to try harder,
Or stay content among the rocks.
Last weekend I heard a great sermon about the story Jesus told his disciples when they asked him to give them more faith. He said if they had faith the size of a mustard seed they could move mountains.
A mustard seed? Really?
When the disciples had Jesus off to themselves, they asked, “Why couldn’t we throw it out?” “Because you’re not yet taking God seriously,” said Jesus.Matt 17:19-20 MSG
From the sermon, by Rev. Charleston D. Wilson, The Church of the Redeemer (underline mine)
When we face tough decisions and hard challenges in life, we not only have the challenge itself to deal with — the external issue — but we also have the internal — let’s say spiritual — struggle as well.
And that internal, spiritual struggle is rooted in that question we often ask ourselves – the same questions the Apostles were asking internally. Do I really have a quantity of faith — enough spiritual oomph, if you will — to deal with difficult decisions and challenges?
And, I’d like to suggest to you right here and right now that the answer to that question is a resounding, loud and clanging: “no!”
You hear me correctly.
No, even on our best days, we lack enough faith, if we’re measuring it by quantity, to face much of anything – let alone a big decision or challenge.
And this is actually good news. And this is actually freeing news. And getting in touch with this is good and emancipating news, because, meeting the challenges of today and tomorrow, and dealing with life in general, isn’t about a supposed quantity of faith at all.
Being a Christian, a man or woman of faith, is about the object of our faith, Jesus Christ, who is alive, and whose grace is sufficient.
Another way to say it is this: no, we don’t have enough, because He is enough!
When I became a Christian at ten, my grandmother gave me a necklace with a mustard seed inside clear resin. I wore it for years, trying hard to have enough faith to move mountains. After all, the seed was so small, surely I could do that much!
But I didn’t move any mountains. Many of my good intentions went haywire. Then, I spent years dwelling in regret – sure I’d failed the mustard seed test.
And wanting so much to make up for it.
When Jesus began speaking grace to me, personally, I even argued with him!
In a way, I guess I still am.
But the truth that is setting me free is, not only is it not about what I do, it isn’t even how much I believe. It’s not about me.
It’s about WHO I BELIEVE.
Every time I fail or struggle. Every time pain stabs me or someone I care about. Every time darkness seems to be winning here or around the world. Every time I don’t know how to pray — I focus on the one who created the world, created me, and creates new life.
Then the peace comes.
“Unbelievable” –but true.
And totally liberating.
Do you struggle with faith?
Have there been times or events that made faith hard?