“If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you” James 1:5 (NIV).
Last time we talked, I was seeing growth in my faith as a “work.” I truly wanted to grow my faith, but it had turned from a love song to God (child-like faith) to a way to earn God’s favor and blessing. The best part? He taught me, through grace, I don’t have to earn His favor. As His child, He loves me as much now as He ever will. He loves with a love that is fierce and protective and all consuming. The only “work” I need to do is to focus on loving God with my whole heart. When I do that, then my fasting, praying, tithe, faith, and other outward expressions of loving God truly smell sweet, taste great, and sound beautiful to Him because they are offered as a result of my love for Him, not because I’m trying to earn something from Him.
As long as I focus on living my life in obedience to Him, consciously asking for His strength daily to become more like Him, and walking as close to His heart as humanly possible, God will continue to bless me and my family. He promises to provide for our needs, defend us, strengthen us, heal us, and bless us for future generations. He doesn’t want me “working” toward a deeper faith. He wants me focusing on loving Him, listening to His heart, and obeying out of love, not obligation. He will answer my heartfelt prayers in His time, His way, and with provisions that would only come from Him.
When I figured that out, relief washed over me. I still felt badly my faith wasn’t as strong as the Roman centurion. However, I realized that some people are born with more faith than others. God still wants me to improve in all areas of my life, which includes growing my faith and losing the fears that like to take over, but He wants that for me because of His love for me. He realizes I’ll have a more peaceful life when I live closer to the way He created me to live, not because I have to perform in order to please Him or for Him to bless me.
Isn’t the God we serve wonderful? Sometimes I have to pinch myself to think I have the privilege of serving a God who not only cares about the details of my life, but I don’t have to do anything except love Him to receive the bountiful blessings He wants to fill my life with. I would say that makes Christ followers lucky, but if you read my post on December 22, 2013, you’d know instead I say we’re incredibly blessed!
©2014 Cheri Swalwell