My heart strained within me a while ago considering the fact that life is long, hard, and wearying. Knowing that I am saved and fully believing that God has called me to full time ministry, my mind contemplated how I was going to remain faithful to Christ for all of that time. How was I ever going to continue to pursue holiness, remain faithful to my family, and rightly divide God’s Word? I know my sinful heart and how unfaithful I find myself already. There is no way, in and of myself, to stay within God’s will for a lifetime. My heart was downcast, but only for a moment.
As I pondered, the spirit was quick to convict me of my horribly sinful thoughts. He reminded me of the character of our God. Our God saves sinners and keeps them. How precious is this thought! It is not I who holds myself through life’s trials, but the God who saved me. Yes, I must do all that I can to faithfully behold the glory of Christ, but God does the heart work and keeps me in Christ. Just as the Old Testament accounts God being faithful to keep Israel and bring them back to himself, so does the New Testament account God, under the new covenant, being faithful to keep his people and bring them back to himself when they stray. He is the good shepherd; when one strays he goes and finds the sheep and brings them back into the fold.
When my parents were considering marriage my mom had just witnessed a pastor break up with his wife after 25+ years of marriage. Her heart was in turmoil within her, she asked, “Tim, how can I trust that you will stay with me through our marriage?” And my Dad’s answer has always stuck with me from the first time I heard it- “You can’t trust me; you have to trust God inside of me.” At first glance one might think that is a cliché spiritual comment, but NO- My dad had it exactly right. Other people can’t trust us for we don’t even trust ourselves! We know our weaknesses; therefore we entrust ourselves to our faithful creator. And others must do the same- trust that God will keep us faithful.
Life is long and being saved at a young age makes it a long time to wait to be in the presence of my savior. However, C.J. Mahaney talks in one of his messages about how the pain of waiting all depends on whom you are waiting with and what you are waiting for. Oh, aren’t we blessed when we consider this thought! We have Emmanuel- God with us. We get to wait in the loving care of our savior, beholding more of his glory every step of the way. We get to wait with our savior until the end and at that moment we will immediately be brought into “the presence of His glory blameless and with great joy.” (Jude 1:24) Consider this and let your hearts rejoice.
The character and the promises of our great and glorious God must be our foundation whenever we are fearful of anything in this life- including remaining faithful. Fear not, brothers and sisters, our God is good and WILL keep you.