God is not impressed by our effort. Rather, He’s pleased with our faith.
And without faith it is impossible to please Him… — Hebrews 11:6
Although I’ve written this in a previous blog, I am choosing to echo the same sentiment: The more I walk with God and the older I get in Him, the less concerned I am with what He is doing through me and the more concerned I become with what He is doing in me.
More than anything, I find myself longing for His attitude to be formed in me.
I hunger to possess His humility.
I want to love Him with every fiber of my being.
I desire a pure heart — one whose motives are without mixture.
Such things are not achieved through my effort.
There is no amount of ‘trying hard’ that will produce them in my life.
These qualities are only conceived and grown by the grace of God and the power of His Holy Spirit.
Here’s the thing: I know, without a shred of doubt, that God wants me to give me what I yearn for.
Romans 8:29 tells me that I was predestined to be conformed to the image of God’s Son.
It just so happens that the longing of my heart details key characteristics that make up this very image that God has predetermined to form in my life.
Paul goes on to say in Romans 8:32 that if God did not spare His own Son, but has given Him to us, will He not freely give us all things?
In other words, the first step in being conformed to Jesus’ image was the giving of His life for you and me.
Sin had to be atoned for.
The debt had to be paid.
Through His forgiveness, the way home was opened.
One cannot be born again without faith in the death and resurrection of Jesus.
If God in His great mercy loved us enough to send and give His Son, will He not also give unto us what is needed for the image of His beloved to be formed within us?
When you and I release faith in this truth, effort ceases.
We understand it’s a promise He’s made, not something we need to fulfill.
When my faith partners with His promise, I’m at rest.
I’m no longer striving. I’m agreeing.
When I’m not in faith, I’m in the strength of my own flesh.
The problem with believing that you can contribute to forming within yourself what God has
promised to form within you is this: You wind up taking your own tests and grading your own
You’ll examine yourself and will either feel good or bad about where you are.
You’ll consistently locate where you’re not rather than celebrate how far you’ve come.
If I beat myself up when I mess up, I don’t fully believe that what Jesus did by dying on the cross was enough to make me right with God.
Self-affliction has nothing to do with faith — it’s frustration with one’s own effort.
Rest is faith in God’s ability, His character, His want to, and His promises.
I’m at rest knowing that what I want to possess, God wants to give.
He’s the only one that can do it and He has promised to do it.
May we never forget this one foundational truth… may it bring peace to your soul and quiet your mind… may it cause all striving to end… may you find rest in the hope it yields…
…He who promised is faithful. — Hebrews 10:23
- Brian Connolly, Faith Like Birds Ministries