Most of us know what it is like to go into some situation feeling anxious, uncertain about the outcome. A decade ago, facing major surgery for the first time in my life, I was laying on a hospital bed just outside of an operating room, shivering, not from cold but from fear! I was anxious about my life, about pain, about the what would happen to me in that room. A kind doctor came, put his hand on my arm, and assured me that I would be just fine, and then he gave me an injection that knocked me out. When consciousness returned a few hours later, I had learned more about trusting the process and letting myself be confident in the skills of the people who have trained to care for patients like me.
Are you a confident Christian?
Do you trust God in a way that allows you to live for Him without anxiety, without wondering if you are ‘good enough?’
Does your faith draw you to true devotion, a life that is completely given over to Him?
My morning reading in the Word took me to the end of Paul’s first Thessalonican letter. He addresses us with words of assurance, turning our focus to the faithfulness of God.
“May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through.
May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.
The one who calls you is faithful and he will do it.” (1 Thessalonians 5:23-24, NIV)
*He is the “God of peace.” In Him we can discover serenity, a rest for our souls, that is not found anywhere else in this world. Because of the coming of Jesus Christ, which we are now remembering in this season of Advent, we are not alone, left to our own schemes to secure ourselves in a world that is filled with all kinds of uncertainty. We can know the God of peace and, in Him, find the confidence to lay aside our fears.
*He will “sanctify you completely.” That word is often misunderstood as having to do with ‘churchy’ things, only for pastors and religious professionals. In fact, we all can know the confidence that flows from being made acceptable for a holy God, made whole through Christ Jesus. He has a purpose for your life! He has gifted you to fill that place. As you lean on Him, learn from Him, listen to Him – He will ‘set you apart’ from the ordinary, the profane, and make you into a person that fulfills a high calling. Could there be more confidence than knowing who God made us to be and then living that destiny?
*He is able to “keep you blameless” ready to meet Him. We need never trouble ourselves about whether we are good for God! Naturally, we are not. In fact, outside of His grace in Christ, we are ‘objects of wrath.’ But, because of Jesus, we fear His judgment no longer. He actively intercedes for you, for me, in the throne room of the Almighty. He covers us with His righteousness, a gift of grace, that we receive by faith. And, we are declared blameless, justified. “Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. Who is he that condemns? Christ Jesus, who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?” (Romans 8:33) Confidence results from faith in His salvation that is completed in us.
*He is “faithful.” I am sometimes faithless. Humans are too prone to failure. I can identify with the lyrics from the hymn …
Oh, to grace how great a debtor
Daily I’m constrained to be.
Let Thy goodness like a fetter
Bind my wandering heart to Thee.
Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it;
Prone to leave the God I love!
Here’s my heart, oh, take and seal it,
Seal it for Thy courts above.
How can we pray those words with full confidence? By knowing that our salvation rests on HIS faithfulness, His covenant of grace, not on our flawless efforts.
On Sunday we will go to the Story in Luke for our second Advent Sunday text. It is a word from the Word for us today. Read it, believe it, and leave fear behind. “And this is how you will recognize him: You will find a baby lying in a manger, wrapped snugly in strips of cloth!” Suddenly, the angel was joined by a vast host of others—the armies of heaven—praising God: “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and peace on earth to all whom God favors.” (Luke 2:12-14, NLT)
Come Thou fount of ev’ry blessing
Tune my heart to sing Thy grace
Streams of mercy never ceasing\
Call for songs of loudest praise
Teach me some melodious sonnet
Sung by flaming tongues above
Praise the mount I’m fixed upon it
Mount of Thy redeeming love
Here I raise mine Ebenezer
(a marker stone of an encounter with God set by Jacob)
Hither by Thy help I’m come
And I hope by Thy good pleasure
Safely to arrive at home
Jesus sought me when a stranger
Wand’ring from the fold of God
He to rescue me from danger
Interposed His precious blood
O to grace how great a debtor
Daily I’m constrained to be
Let Thy grace Lord like a fetter
Bind my wand’ring heart to Thee
Prone to wander Lord I feel it
Prone to leave the God I love
Here’s my heart Lord take and seal it
Seal it for Thy courts above
John Wyeth | Robert Robinson © Words: Public Domain