The Long, Hard Journey of Faith - Encouragement for Today - February 14, 2018

Rachel Spier Weaver

February 14, 2018
The Long, Hard Journey of Faith
FRANCINE RIVERS

“For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.” Ephesians 2:10 (NLT)

When I became a Christian, I thought all my problems would go away, and God would take care of everything with a snap of His fingers.

The truth is, my life fell apart within weeks of being baptized. Suffice it to say, accepting Jesus and asking Him to be Lord of my life didn’t obliterate the garbage I’d pressed down in the compactor of my heart.

In His mercy and grace, God didn’t bring up all my sins, sinful habits and sinful ways of thinking at one time. I’d have likely despaired if He had.

Instead, He opened my eyes over time. Through His Holy Spirit, I saw the painful truth. I agreed with God about my sins. Even before I was a Christian, I knew when I did wrong. My conscience told me. But the heart is deceitful, and the mind can rationalize and justify any behavior. And we tend to surround ourselves with like-thinkers. I can’t cast blame. Wrongs are done to us by others, but that never excuses us from doing wrong ourselves.

Thankfully, God created us as His masterpiece — His work of art — and He has destined us to accomplish great things in our lifetimes: “For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago” (Ephesians 2:10). God knows who and what we are. He offers one way to be saved for all eternity: Accepting Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord. No other way. While seeing and acknowledging the truth about myself, I also experienced the amazing grace and love of God.

Coming to Jesus opened my eyes to who I am. I am a sinner. I am human. I am weak. I stumble and fall, even now that I am saved. I am also a daughter of the King. I am loved by God. And He is strong. He is faithful. He keeps His Word. He will never abandon me. He helps me stand again. He gives me the will to keep walking in the steps of Jesus.

But honestly, it can be very hard, working out our salvation. By working, I mean living it, not earning it. As the Apostle Paul writes in Philippians 2:12b, we are to “Work hard to show the results of your salvation, obeying God with deep reverence and fear.” (NLT)

Friends, the faith journey isn’t easy. Believing is only the first step onto the narrow pathway. The next steps put a believer on the road of trial and blessing as we walk out a new life as a disciple of Christ. We must stick close to Jesus, read His Word, lean in and listen. We need to obey, even when it means personal, painful sacrifice. That’s the long, hard journey of transformation. That’s the kind of faith that impacts the world.

Dear Lord, sometimes I wish this journey of faith were easier. But I know You are with me, guiding each step I take. Nudge me back onto Your path when I wander off. And give me strength to continue pressing on every day. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

TRUTH FOR TODAY:
1 John 1:8-9, “If we claim we have no sin, we are only fooling ourselves and not living in the truth. But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness.” (NLT)

John 16:33, “[Jesus said], ‘I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.’” (NLT)

RELATED RESOURCES:
In The Masterpiece, two lost souls, bound by guilt to their pasts, discover the very wounds which hold them captive can lead to the incredible grace needed to set them free. This unexpected, redemptive love story from The New York Times’ best-selling author Francine Rivers is a probing tale that reminds us mercy can shape even the most broken among us into an imperfect, yet stunning, masterpiece. Learn more here!

CONNECT:
Stop by Francine’s website, for a complete listing of her books and to follow her blog. You can also find her on Facebook.

Enter to WIN a copy of The Masterpiece by Francine Rivers. In celebration of this book, Tyndale House Publishers is giving away 5 copies! Enter to win by leaving a comment here. {We'll randomly select 5 winners and email notifications to each one, by Monday, February 19, 2018.}

REFLECT AND RESPOND:
Where are you in your spiritual journey today? Take some time to examine your life and confess any sins to our heavenly Father, who is faithful to forgive.

© 2018 by Francine Rivers. All rights reserved.

Proverbs 31 Ministries thanks Tyndale House Publishers for their sponsorship of today's devotion.

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