I received a phone call yesterday morning from a very good friend of mine asking me to have lunch with him. It had been some time since I had seen him last so we did a little catching up… discussing our families, work, and life in general.
Then he began to discuss with me his faith (or lack there of) and how it just doesn’t seem to matter what he does, he never feels like God is there. He goes on to tell me that daily he prays to be a better person… he explained to me how he recently picked up a homeless person, fed him, took him to a hotel, and left him with $200 and yet still felt as if God could care less.
I have known this good friend of mine since the 8th grade; he is a great guy and the type of guy who would give you his car if he thought you needed it. (He actually gave one of his friends his car for no reason other than his friend needed it more than he did).
But yet he struggles every day, begging to feel like he has done something to deserve God’s love. Nothing is ever good enough.
He has been made to feel that he has to do something for God to love him enough to care about his life. He doesn’t have enough faith to simply believe that God loves him.
I think that a lot of us struggle with this same thing, simply having faith that God loves us.
Why is this so hard? Why is faith hard?
I think it goes back to (among other things) the way we understand faith, that it is a condition to grace. My friend doesn’t think he has enough faith so therefore he hasn’t received grace.
I think this is what Paul is talking about when he says, “It is by grace you have been saved THROUGH FAITH.” Paul isn’t making faith the condition for grace as if we have to have faith before we receive grace, but rather explaining that it takes faith to live within the grace that we have already received.
Faith is not easy. Paul writes whole letters to his churches dealing with the fact that we want to have something to do with our salvation. It’s hard for us to trust and have faith that it has already been taken care of.
I simply encouraged my friend to trust that it has indeed been taken care of. There is nothing left for anyone to do.
I want to encourage you just as I tried to encourage my friend… Have faith that it has all been taken care of and there is nothing left for you to do. This is Good News.