Perseverance of the Saints:Early morning thoughts


Its 4:57 AM. Four. Fifty. Seven. The light outside just went out, I guess signifying its morning. Blame it on pregnancy, but for some reason I've been up, since about 30 minutes ago thinking about that title. I was reading Grudem, a nice big book in systematic theology and that was the reading this week.

When I was a kid, I remember someone asking me what it took to be 'saved.' I responded that it took a belief in Jesus as your savior, and believing He died for your sins. If you were to ask me now, I'd probably say the same thing. What I struggle with now is what I see of my friends and old friends who at one point in time were seemingly in full agreement, but who now years later, don't necessarily believe this. So, I sort of hope they do, and carry on my days.

In truth, at any given point in time, I think a person's christian walk can seem a little fuzzy. The "fruit" were told to look for might not be blossoming like crazy, as I can attest to in my own spiritual walk with Christ, but I DO think one thing stays the same. I think those who truly believe in Christ, hold on to the faith (sometimes by a thread) that Jesus is their savoir, and he died for their sins and they rely on that and that alone for salvation.

While I believe that in full, I've noticed a tendency of my culture to try and make it more of an intellectual agreement. "Here take a survey." and as my peers take said survey, when they see the question "Do you believe Jesus is who he says he is?" they look from 1-strongly disagree to 5-strongly agree, say "Eh, I'm somewhere in the middle" and do the same for questions like "Do you believe he died for your sins?" "Do you believe he is Lord and Guide of your life?" at the end, they're told "Oh, you hold christian beliefs!"

To which I would say no-not really.

If I have errored in my speaking (which i can most certainly say I have,) I think it would be in the 'easy grace' nature I've talked. I think often in desperate hopes of my friends coming to the faith of Christ-which if you ask me, is the most life-changing, awesome decision one can make-I have searched like a mad scientist for any and all slight signs of christian agreement. I'm the one passing out the surveys. When they think and verbally ascend "Oh, that sounds cool." I too easily shout hoorah and think they've made that glorious decision and are on their path to true discipleship in Christ. I then challenge it no further.

This is a gross error.

It would be the equivalent of planting a seed, watering it, and seeing a nice baby sprout. I seeing this sprout, get STOKED and then allow it to be moved to the basement. A few weeks later, i go to check in and see how its doing and seeing it shriveled up and dead, I am flabbergasted that it could have happened. How could this be?  I saw growth just two weeks ago!?

We're all sprouts, folks and in some part responsible for our growth. And whether I'm now a thriving plant due to years of growth, or I'm withering, one thing always is the fix. Water and sun. The beauty of the cross and of the christian faith is there is no point when that seed gets tossed out with the dirt. God raises things from the dead-its kind of His thing. I need the sun-which is communion with Jesus through reading His word, and being in prayer and I need water-being in community with other believers. My responsibility as the plant is showing up. God grows me, but if I refuse with my excuses of business, or my constant reliance on "I'll worry about that tomorrow," (I'm preaching to myself, here) God is not a forceful God-and he lets me do as I demand.

When I decide that I can go even a few days without either, I see very obvious signs of death creeping. Whats so funny to me, is that in my own life, I see my withered spiritual state and think "Eh, its not so bad." And then, when sin is running rampant in my life and I haven't seen God moving I get angry with God. "Why didn't you make my plant grow! No, no, I don't want the word, and I don't want community-do it a different way."

Its stupid on my part, as much as it is to say that I don't want air and food to survive anymore-"God provide another way!" Can God do it? yeah, technically-but that's not the way he intended it, and food and air are good; the best actually in sustaining my life. Yet, why do I reject the things he says are the best regarding my spiritual life?

Perseverance of the saints is the action by those who choose to believe and throw everything into the identity of Christ. Its when after that decision, tomorrow we choose the same thing. And the next day too. The call to salvation is that we have to continually, daily believe. Its not just a one-time survey and you're good to go. Just because I vote democratic once, doesn't mean I'm a democrat. The christian faith is the same, just because I voted that Jesus is nice and I overall agree with who he is, doesn't mean I identify with Him. This is something I've been challenged with personally.

The question comes up. How can I know if I'm presevering? I think we can know we are persevering as we examine God's activity in our lives. If we've decided that Christ is our all and repented for our sins, over time, we can see God moving in our life and we can see how community and the Word are transforming our life. Maybe not every second (the christian life is a life of struggle, with sin with moments of doubt, and more.) but We can 'look at our spiritual plant.' and SEE God growing it through time. Even if that means we're being challenged when before we weren't challenged. Or we are finding sin in our life that we never even knew was there. That deserves a praise-you-Jesus.

I would caution however,  that even if growth is there, if we choose in our state to stop being feed and not be in community-we will see our spiritual life grow weak. So I tell myself, FEED the THING!

And at the end of the day I can rely on the fact that God is the one growing me. And God is faithful that once he has begun a good work, he's not going to quit:

3I thank my God every time I remember you. 4In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy 5because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, 6being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. Philippians 1

Where are you guys at? Are you relying on Jesus to be your Savior? Your Lord and Guide? Are you deciding that today? How are you growing in that decision, if its been made?

Thats all I got on that.

Over and Out.

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