There is a force in this world that I don't like to acknowledge, but the truth is there is both good and evil at work. This force that I don't like to think about prefers for us to be worn and tattered. He prefers for us to feel run down and guilty and not-good-enough.
Because when we feel these things, it is harder to serve and love.
Jesus said, "Anyone who isn’t with me opposes me, and anyone who isn’t working with me is actually working against me." (Matthew 12:30)
Sometimes I wonder why life is hard. Perhaps it's because I'm not working with God. How often do I work against God and not even know it?
I'm like Jonah and am blinded to the fact that my obedience makes a difference.
I'm like Peter and limit the grace and mercy of God.
I'm like Nicodemus and question how things of faith are possible.
Jesus said, "God sent his Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through him." (John 3:17)
Sometimes I wonder if I forget this Truth. Jesus was not sent to judge, but to save. How often do I make it about following the rules rather than love?
James reminds us, "You say you have faith, for you believe that there is one God.. Good for you! Even the demons believe this, and they tremble in terror. How foolish! Can’t you see that faith without good deeds is useless?" (James 2:19-20)
It's not about doing good works to avoid evil. It's about serving and loving because that's how good wins. James is clear that there are forces in this world battling one another.
Sometimes hard wins because I'm tattered and worn and I forget God is bigger.
Sometimes hard wins because my heart is narrow and I forget to find the celebration.
Sometimes hard wins because I quit fighting and give up too soon.
Faith needs stamina.
Radical faith needs stamina + tenacity.
This week, this Holy Week, I'm choosing to cling to these words from Paul, "If God is for us, then who can ever be against us?" (Romans 8:3)