My dad taught me that being faithful to God is difficult when literally everything in the world pulls us in the opposite direction. That pull that draws us away from silence and stillness. That pull that makes us obsess about the next meal or cup of coffee. That pull that replaces rest with restlessness. That decision that compromises our integrity. That email that replaces face to face interaction. That absorption with media and content that replaces the true study of God’s Word.
My dad taught me that many other pulls would come. The ceaseless and distracting demands of parenting. The choking hours of a rising career path. The idolatry of the “work hard-party hard” never-ending cycle. The skin deep friendships that replace the authentic “soul care” relationships. The small talk that replaces gospel conversations. The entertainment drug that strips away being present in the moment. The various good endeavors that open the door to bad things. The various side roads that can turn into harmful addictions…
Psalm 37:39-40 says, “The salvation of the righteous comes from the Lord; He is their stronghold in time of trouble. The Lord helps them and delivers them; He delivers them from the wicked and saves them, because they take refuge in Him.” My dad taught me the truth of this scripture. Oswald Chambers, in his book MY UTMOST FOR HIS HIGHEST (June 16), said “Salvation is easy for us, because it cost God so much. But the exhibiting of salvation in my life is difficult.” My dad showed me that exhibiting salvation is a lifelong challenge.
I see that taking refuge in God (Psalm 37:39-40) is the key to exhibiting our salvation. All the flawed heroes of faith mentioned in Hebrews 11 were known by their faith, were declared righteous by their faith, were long remembered for their faith. Because, even at times of weak faith, they still had faith.
My dad taught me that the difficulty of exhibiting salvation in my life is tremendously eased when I turn my heart and affections to Jesus Christ, Who is the only One Who can deliver me from the forces that pull me in the opposite direction of the world. He taught me that prayer is the cord that connects me to Jesus and expresses my desire to be delivered. Sometimes it is half-hearted. No matter. It still expresses my faith, little as it might be.
I don’t grieve about the difficulty of exhibiting salvation in my life. I know it’s difficult. Tremendously difficult. But, I do appreciate that it needs to be exhibited in some increasing and obvious measure. The salvation that cost God so much simply cannot be hidden if it is real in my life. Thankfully, God’s Holy Spirit provides the help we need to be overcomers, exhibitors of salvation.
My dad is still showing me this!