“For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.” Ephesians 2:8-9
For years I’d go to bed at night and list all of the things I had accomplished, in hopes that God found favour in them. I’d remind him what an upright citizen I was so that He would repay me with good things. I thought that was how it worked: be a good person and God would sprinkle some of His pixie dust on you and you’d have a wonderful life. Clearly, I wasn’t very mature in my relationship with God!
When I suffered the brain injury from the benzodiazepine I took (as prescribed), I was knocked down about as low as a person can go. I was unable to think normal thoughts or feel normal emotions. My body was wracked with pain and weakness. Unable to work, I lost all material wealth. I shook my fist at God, “I’ve been a good person, see all of the good things I have done? Why did you let this happen to me?” God replied by lifting me gently in His arms to carry me the long distance it would take for my recovery.
During my recovery I stopped boasting to God about all the good things I had done in my life. Instead, I humbly listened to Him. Over time, my relationship with God matured. My faith grew. In fact, God changed me so dramatically, that I am still in awe of the gifts He gives me. They are far better and unlike anything I ever imagined! I was truly reborn.
We are not saved by our good deeds and good efforts. That would put us in charge of things. No, we are saved through God’s grace that is given to us through our faith. However, it doesn’t stop with simply having faith. “In the same way, faith by itself, if it does not prove itself with actions, is dead.” (James 2:17) We must show our faith through our thoughts and our actions.
In today’s busy world, it is all easy to ignore God yet think that we are good Christians because we do good deeds. When we think like that, we have the wrong end of the stick. We must put God first, and become fully reliant on Him, and then we will, through our faith, want to do the good things He wants us and instructs us to do. We put God in charge of our actions, we don’t put ourselves in charge. We let Him work through us and for us. We are saved by grace, the gift He gives us through our faith.
F.R.O.G. Practice: Humble yourself before God and deepen your relationship with Him by listening to what He wants you to do with your life. Put your faith into action. Let God run the show, instead of your ego. What does it feel like to draw closer to Him today?