My faith began as a gift from my mother.
She ensured I attended church every Sunday. She oversaw my memorization of the verses and creeds required by the religious education curriculum. She paid for me to go on retreats. She took me to all the necessary classes.
I’m so thankful for the foundation she laid for me.
I learned a very ordered and logical system of beliefs and ceremonies and rules. I learned God loves those who keep them. Which all worked out quite well when I thought I was a good little girl.
When I eventually came to break those rules however, I pictured a harsh and judgmental God bent on exacting punishment for my transgressions.
I thought I was unlovable. I thought I’d lost my salvation. When bad things happened, I thought God was punishing me for my sins.
That once priceless treasure became like an anvil around my neck.
So I set it aside.
It got buried under life. I began collecting achievements and accolades to define my worth instead. I worked hard to be likable. And I did a lot of things for the praise of man.
I was deeply mired in the muck of life before I finally realized it wasn’t really about the rules at all.
My life had to get pretty MESSY before I was willing to let God lead me toward becoming His MASTERPIECE. I was never going to get there on my own. He had to take me by the hand and walk with me every step of the way. The MEMORIES of what my mother taught me helped bridge the gap, but I had to make my own way with Him as my guide. I had to see that He loved me despite my failures. That, though the law is indeed the foundation, His love is the mortar that holds our relationship together. That His love would inspire me to keep the law.
Developing a relationship with Him brought about changes in my life no rules ever could.
My mom introduced me to Jesus, but I had be willing to take part in the relationship. She modeled her faith for me, but I had to receive it for myself. She could teach me to pray and petition God on my behalf, but I had to bend my own knees and lift my own eyes to Him. My mom could show me the way, but it is God from whom the gift of faith comes.
Others can help us learn the rules and customs of religion, but no one else can establish the relationship for us.
And the rules didn’t help when I was under enemy attack. In fact those very rules made me want to run and hid.
When trouble comes our way, we can choose to turn toward Him or away. Before I understood that His love brings me into a relationship with Him, the rules made me want to run and hide. But a thriving relationship with my Heavenly Father has made all the difference in my life. I’ve learned that He is trustworthy and always good and that His blood is enough to cover every mistake I ever have or ever will make. Because of our relationship, I know I can run to him with every doubt, question, fear, or sin. I now understand that His love doesn’t hinge on my ability to follow the rules, but instead on His Son’s perfection. That adds a firmness to my faith that no earthly event can shake.
When religion turns rickety, our relationship with Jesus remains resolute.
Do we take Him at His Word? Do we trust that His sacrifice on the cross was enough? Do we believe He is always with us? Do we have confidence in His promise to sustain and support us? Do we talk with Him and read His love letters to us? Do we look for His presence in our lives? Do we make time for Him throughout the day?
For more encouragement please join the discussions on these fabulous blog link ups – Suzanne Eller, Thought Provoking Thursday, Susan B. Mead, Faith Filled Friday, Grace and Truth, Faith and Fellowship Friday, Grace and Truth Friday, Good Morning Monday, Soul Survival, Monday Musings, Rah Rah Link Up, Tell His Story, Woman to Woman Wednesday, Women With Intention Wednesday, Sitting Among Friends, Word of God Speak, Testimony Tuesday.