I was so excited when I read about this new blog link-up happening. I love Erin and Kelly's blogs, and I love the idea of women building each other up. There is so much negative and sadness in this world and that just gets me down some days. So let's build each other up and encourage each other! I invite you to take part!
If you are a long time reader, I shared some of my faith story a while back, but I will give a brief overview real quick. I grew up in a Christian home, became a believer and was baptized in August 1999 (between 8th grade and my freshman year), and then tried to live life following a bunch of "rules" that were probably noble and good, but I felt I was always failing. I felt bad for not reading my Bible enough, not listening to only Christian music, not watching the right TV shows, not having a daily quiet time, not converting enough people, etc. The list could go on. I was sure of my salvation, but I felt a little stuck and empty. I just felt like I wasn't doing enough or not enough right so then I could of just became complacent. I began to grow restless at our church (married now) and so we began looking. I knew God had stirred this desire in me, and man has He delivered.
He brought people into my life that He has used to help reveal more of Him to me and now as I spend time with Him, I realize just how amazing He is and wonder how I have missed out on this for so many years. When I was contemplating baptism and accepting Christ, I kept feeling like I wasn't good enough. Luckily, in one moment, the Holy Spirit (that I didn't really know until two years ago) got through and said, "Duh, that is the point, you aren't good enough, but with Jesus your are - He makes you whole and complete and righteous." Well I guess I forgot that for the next 12 years or so.
The revelation of the Holy Spirit and who He is in my life has been transforming. I ask for His power daily, and I have even experienced moments where I could literally feel Him guiding me and helping me. You see, I am weak. I can do nothing on my own. Nothing right. My flesh will fail every time. But Jesus crucified my flesh on the cross. He killed it. He sees me as whole and blameless - He chose to do that for me. Let that sink in. He died for me! He killed the "law" under which I was still living (and feel like many Christians do to). I have freedom in Him. This is HUGE. This is everything! Studying the Bible, singing praise songs, ministry - those are all great and I like to do them too, but that isn't Faith. That comes after. All God asks of me is to love Him. To trust Him. To fear Him. I say "all" but there are days where that seems huge. I am still learning.
However, how do I bring Faith to life? I think there is only one way - to abide in Christ. Every second of every day. Again, let me say, I am still on this journey, but it is an amazing journey. If I abide in Christ every moment, then all that other stuff just comes. My fears go away. My worries, my anxieties - gone. My "to do" list is history. No guilt at the Cross. God forgave me. He doesn't condemn - He loves me unconditionally. When I abide in Him - I get to do it all of the time. While working, cleaning, driving - I don't have to "set aside" time for it. Now I do like to spend time focusing on just Him, but I don't have to feel guilty when that doesn't happen because I get to be in constant communion with Him. Sure, my flesh gets in the way, and I forget. But as soon as I remember, He is there waiting for me.
When I say all of the other stuff happens, I think about the Fruits of the Spirit. You see, under law instead of grace, this becomes a "to do" list. I think I have to figure out how to accomplish all of this:
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Galatians 5:22-23
That is all wrong. These are the Fruits of the SPIRIT - not Sassy Engineer. When I abide in Christ and don't get in the way of the Holy Spirit, the fruits are just there. They are from Him. If I try to achieve those on my own, I will ALWAYS fail. I can't do them. He does them in me. So for me, bringing faith to life is this: abide in Him.
If you want to read more on this I recommend the following books:
The Green Letters by Miles J. Stanford
Problems, God's Presence and Prayer by Michael Wells
Abiding in Christ by Andrew Murray
Also - if you want to read an AWESOME daily tidbit, I recommend Jesus Calling by Sarah Young. All of these are rocking or have rocked my world!
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