Reflection 2023 Word on the Week 30th December 2023.
Let’s do it differently. Instead of a Crystal Ball let’s use a mirror! Let’s see if we can find faith. The image reflected back spells ‘doubt’. The Bible says “the righteous shall live by faith” (Romans 1 verse 17) so we had better find faith.
But how? Doubt comes naturally; Envying someone else is natural; worry is natural; Fear is natural; Wanting to give up is natural; It’s natural to wonder if all my good habits will make a difference in the end; It’s normal to occasionally be stumbled by the question of whether what I have staked my life on is really true?
But faith isn’t natural.
No matter how hard you try to work it up, lasting faith is the gift of God. “By grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God (Ephesians 2 verse 8).
But how is this gift given?
This gift of God is Jesus. Believing that He is, as his name implies, – Saviour. This follows by being born into His family. As the Gospel says, “to all who receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God—children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God” (John 1 verse 12).
The invitation to accept this gift is put well in Joseph Hart’s hymn; Come ye sinners, poor and needy. Verse 3 is particularly helpful; Let not conscience make you linger, Nor of fitness fondly dream; All the fitness He requires is to feel your need of Him: This He gives you – ‘Tis the Spirits rising beam.
In coming to Jesus, like the Prodigal, you are accepted. Just as in the parable there is the ring of relationship, the robe of righteousness and feet shod for service. As a child of God you are an ambassador for Christ (2 Corinthians 5 verse 20).
God will equip you. Never fear that you will have to hide in guilt when your walk of faith slips off the path. Your hope in Life no longer depends on your faithfulness but on Jesus faithfulness. It is on Jesus who said that no one would ever be able to snatch one of his flock out of his hand (John 10 verse 28). It is in His words and what He has done that we place our God given faith.
So back to the mirror! Our faith is found not in ourselves but in Jesus who lived and died for others. Always remember that our faith is not like it used to be – in our own abilities but now it is on what Jesus has done (Romans 4 Verse 25). 2024 will look a lot different.