We are all experiencing a season of simplification, where our normal is stripped away. I realize this looks different for all of us, and the amount of change and pressure on our families looks different too. While I like to live a simple life, the current season is a bit too cut back for me. In the past, I have run from these seasons, and I imagine that many of you have too. The rush hides the pain we’ve avoided, the broken places we’ve failed to repair, and the faults we’d rather forget. We can even be so busy for God that we have no personal relationship with him anymore – only a heavenly to-do list that we think is satisfying our spiritual need. This season has been a time of personal revival for me, and I am praying that it has been for you too, and if it hasn’t, that it will be!
Our relationship with God is a personal connection that began when we believed the message we heard about salvation. We were repentant of our sin and received God’s gift of salvation through the death & resurrection of his son, Jesus Christ. This miracle of salvation began simply by us believing the message and agreeing with what we heard.
I would like to ask this question: When we are no longer serving at church and busy with life, do we still have a relationship with God? While I want to go back to church very badly, I believe this is a great time to examine our relationship with God and all of our service for God.
A great passage to help us evaluate our faith is Galatians 3:1-6, which says:
“Oh, foolish Galatians! Who has cast an evil spell on you? For the meaning of Jesus Christ’s death was made as clear to you as if you had seen a picture of his death on the cross. Let me ask you this one question: Did you receive the Holy Spirit by obeying the law of Moses? Of course not! You received the Spirit because you believed the message you heard about Christ. How foolish can you be? After starting your new lives in the Spirit, why are you now trying to become perfect by your own human effort? Have you experienced so much for nothing? Surely it was not in vain, was it?
I ask you again, does God give you the Holy Spirit and work miracles among you because you obey the law? Of course not! It is because you believe the message you heard about Christ.
In the same way, “Abraham believed God, and God counted him as righteous because of his faith.”
As Galatians points out, our faith began by believing the message we heard about Christ. As we continue to live out our faith, we cannot perfect ourselves by our own efforts. If we feel drained or our faith feels flat, it is a good indication that we have been trying to do works apart from God – that we have set out to conquer a heavenly to-do list without building our personal relationship with God. Our faith is not measured by what we do – though what we do is an important reflection of what we believe.
Our faith doesn’t just begin by hearing and believing – it continues through hearing and believing. Romans 10:17 says, “So faith comes from hearing, that is, hearing the Good News about Christ.” This is why it is so important to keep listening to the truth of God’s word. It is also important to realize that what we hear influences what we believe, so be aware of what you are listening to!
My role in this relationship with God is to pursue knowledge, wisdom and understanding so that I might believe God. When we believe God, it is credited to us as righteousness.
Living by the law (as I have been calling it – a heavenly to-do list) is like trying to do something that you know you should do, without really believing in the things you are doing. On the other hand, living by faith and in the Holy Spirit is believing God’s word so that you act upon what you believe. Our beliefs direct our decisions and our way of life.
If I spend time hearing God’s word and I believe (come into agreement with) what I hear, I’ll live according to what it says because I have faith in its message. We know that “faith is dead without good works” (James 2:26). I can’t really do good works without building my faith in who God is, falling in love with his ways, and trusting in him to work through me.
Let’s allow this season of simplification to remind us who God is and why we believe in him. He is a good God who loves us and has great plans for us. Let’s grow in faith by believing his word and then acting on what we believe.