"The salvation of the righteous is from the LORD; he is their stronghold in the time of trouble." Psalm 37:39
For all I've talked about trusting God over the past four months, I still struggle with a lack of obedience to Christ in all things. I find myself striving, sprinting and struggling to provide my family all they need, as if I'm responsible to clothe them, feed them, and keep a roof over their heads (Matthew 6). Like most who claim to be a Christian, a Disciple or whatever us followers of Christ are now being referred to, my actions reveal a hidden belief that I can continue on in a life of stress even while I claim to be coming to the end of "me" for the sake of Christ. In other words, I constantly live in a lie because it's easier than trusting the truth. Of course, my own best thinking has only caused friction between my family and my friends, as well as causing an all out war between my flesh and my Spirit. As I ponder the reason that I've chosen to live in this ugly paradox of confessing Jesus with my lips, and trusting my heart to little "g" gods such as money, power, comfort, and good health; I came across today's passage of Scripture in Psalm 37 (fitting considering it's the second to last one in this series).
Psalm 37:39 is a blatant reminder to those who follow Christ and have accepted his gift of eternal salvation. What is the reminder you ask if it's supposed to be so blatant? It's that ALL of "the salvation of the righteous is from the Lord". Get that? ALL! So often we get wrapped up in God's grace only when we are feeling grateful for our gift of heaven (a good thing). But how many times have we received his salvation in the mundane things of life and have forgotten that "every good and perfect gift if from above"? (James 1:17)
The word salvation defined is: "the act of saving or protecting from harm, risk, loss, destruction, etc." Do you see where God is taking us with this passage? Every bill we make, every breath you take, He'll be saving you (tacky but couldn't help it, plus Sting and Puff Daddy gave me permission). But seriously, every breath is a part of His salvation for us. The gift that allowed you to pay your bills is part of his salvation. The love you receive from a complete stranger, or better yet your ability to show the love of Christ to one of your enemies is a part of your gift of salvation. Salvation is not just a one time thing when we die; salvation is an all the time thing we receive when we allow God's Spirit to live in us. Anything that is received in this life, is part of our salvation and a picture of God's amazing grace. The beauty of this salvation of course is that He gives it to us because of Jesus, we don't and can't earn it ourselves.
Can you trust God and his salvation for you? It's easy to freely give (especially when we refuse to be honest with ourselves that many times we give to feel better about ourselves or look good to others) but are you able to freely receive his saving grace. The end of the Psalm 37:39 says, "...he is their stronghold in the time of trouble". Do we really believe that the one who saves us, is the one who will keep on saving us? Do we believe that his love for us is unconditional? Do we believe that our God is all knowing, and knows what's best for us?
Freedom is not found in what we can do to get "more saved". Freedom is not found in being in the right Life Group, attending the right "church", having the right friends, taking the right trips, having the perfect job or "running a ministry". What I'm trying to say is that true freedom in this life is only found in coming to the end of ourselves, getting over our fears, our aspirations, and our shallow hopes in favor of trusting a God who gives salvation to those who ask and obey. A God who saves us in the biggest of things as well as the small ones. Quit treating God like He's just a "saving fairy" who gives you a cloud and a harp when you die. Just to be clear, he doesn't currently live where the Care Bears live or tickle you constantly so that you giggle your way through your toughest circumstances. He isn't a stork dropping off babies and He doesn't take you out to get ice cream while you walk your puppy together. God doesn't meet you at certain places more than others because you heard they are "holy". (hence the tearing of the veil) God is a God who is always with you, who desires to fill you and guide you, as well as love and protect you. Whether in the good times or in bad you have permanent access to God's salvation through Jesus. Sound a bit like wedding vows? Maybe that's why he offered us his hand in marriage.
The next time you use a debit card instead of a credit card be thankful that God has given you enough to pay your bills. The next time you are depressed, be thankful that God allows you to have feelings. The next time you question whether or not God loves you, envision Jesus dying on a cross. The next time you wonder if death is defeated, study the facts of the empty tomb and those eyewitnesses who saw our Lord. The next time you think you must save yourself, remember that without God you are walking dead. The next time you feel like you've "gotta make it happen", remember that there is another option, and that option is to trust and obey God with everything that he has already gracefully given you.