Ending nicely

Yesterday, I was looking for inspiration.  A passion to read something, and I was looking through my books ready to pick up a new one for July.  I remembered I had gotten 7 Women by Eric Metals.  The tag line for the book is “7 Women…and the secret to their greatness.”

I felt like this would be just what I was looking for.

So I’m reading Susanna Wesley’s biography, chapter 2.  I’m reading, and thinking wow, this lady had it rough.  She lost two sets of twin babies along with other children, her husband was really terrible with money, he abandoned her at points in his life to raise their kids on her own, and their house burned down twice.  Her kiddos suffered great loss in their marriages.  Not a story with much good.

I was really wrestling with it last night before I went to sleep, letting God know I did not like her story.  Like it is my responsibility to like someone’s story or not, my first problem.  The second was that I wanted her story to be a fairy tale: she followed Christ and everything turned out great.  But that’s not how her story goes.

However, at the end, what she did have left, her most prized possession, her faith.  It was intact and so were her kids’ faith.

I felt last night I was asked, what do I want for my life and my kids?

Do I want that cushy perfect looking life, or do I want a faith for myself and my kids that will last and will never falter no mater what we go through in this life?  Both might be possible, but if I had to pick what is my heart wanting.

I want the later.  I want a faith so deep, that whatever this world tells me is the worst I could endure and still keep walking after.

We aren’t promised perfect lives.  But we are promised a perfect God who rests within us when we believe in His perfect Son so that we can endure.

What do you want?

Faithful, not perfect

I’ve confused these two words a lot.  Faith.  Perfect.

I thought Abraham was perfect.  I thought David was perfect.  But when we look at their stories they really weren’t perfect.  They did some messed up things, but God still used them.  So how were they righteous?  Not by their own merit.  Not by their acts.  But their faith.  Not in themselves.  But in their God.

See when you are an achiever like myself, it’s easy to confuse faith with achievement.  It’s a belief wrapped up that says, “I’ll show you God why you want to use me…” and “I’ll teach your people to get it together.”  But faith is not within ourselves.  Isaiah says, “even our righteous acts are like filthy rags to God.”  I think because even our good acts are compromised by our humanness.  And when we teach people to achieve and try hard to be perfect, we teach others to become Pharisees.

Pharisees hurt the people that were following them by placing unbearable burdens and laws on their followers that were impossible.  I’m sure a lot of people stepped away from this walk and were judged harshly by the Pharisees because “they couldn’t cut it.”

I’m challenging this belief in myself because it has no merit in the gospel.  It’s the opposite.  God does not desire for us to live perfect lives.  But to realize in Christ we already are perfect before Him because of what Jesus did on the Cross.

Now we get to live messy, stumble, get up, and move forward in grace and love.  Not in works and achievements we once so desired.

James 2 makes it clear that God honors works, but James 1 declares we are free from this law.  So we have the freedom to serve and to live out our faith.  God calls us to work, but maybe in a simpler way.  A way that takes the impossible burdens off our shoulders to do it all, to hold everything up, to keep everything in line, and instead move with grace and love and pour that out instead of burdensome living.

Because if you are like me, its easier to measure our works.  But a heart changed by God is a miracle.  One we cannot do.  And I want that for others, not a burdensome living that is impossible to measure up to, but a life that is free.  Free to serve.

Faith, not perfection, in a God who is true and honest and pure.  He wants our faith in Him and He will move mountains.

Oh help us to see Lord.