As I said yesterday on the VLOG, Jesus assures us that if we practice the means of grace in such a way as to honor God alone, God will reward us. These rewards may very well best be seen in Paul’s writing in 1 Corinthians 13 as FAITH, HOPE and LOVE. Today we explore how faith grows as a result of our practicing spiritual disciplines.
Hebrews 12:2 (NLT) says that,
2 We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith. Because of the joy awaiting him, he endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Now he is seated in the place of honor beside God’s throne. (italics mine)
It is no secret that ours is a revealed faith. We do not find God but rather God finds us. We receive righteousness not by what we do but what God does. And it is in this that Hebrews rightly states that Jesus is the one who begins and finished our faith.
But just because Jesus is the author of our faith doesn’t mean we are exempted from doing anything. Christ acts unilaterally and yet only in partnership. John Wesley said that “God does nothing but in response to prayer” which is to say that God respects us and invites us to participate.
Faith is the “assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” Hebrews 11:1 (NRSV)
Faith is the gas in the engine that moves us forward. Faith is belief in action. Whatever we refuse to act upon is simply an idea in our head but not a belief in our heart – faith.
One of the rewards God gives for participating in the means of grace is that our faith grows (our gas tank is filled in other words.) Our willingness to act upon what we believe blooms. Rather than being stuck in our heads with ideas and thoughts and possibilities, faith in Christ puts action into our lives.
Therefore, anytime we take up a time of intentional focus on the means of grace, such as Lent, we can rest assured that God grows our faith. Sometimes it is by leaps and bounds other time by immeasurably small amount. Often it is only noticeable as we gain distance and perspective from the time. But rest assured that what God promises is always fulfilled.
So then let us keep our eyes on Jesus – the champion who initiates and perfects our faith. Knowing that the changes that are taking place are not only good for us but good for all.