Most of us have been taught to work hard and earn whatever good things in life we can get. As a result, we developed the mindset that we were our own source. The problem with this kind of thinking is that it puts pressure on us to constantly perform through self-effort, and doesn’t take into account our human frailties and limitations. The antidote for this is to operate in God’s favor toward us, instead of according to the world’s expectations.
Under the Law of Moses, the people had to work to earn God’s blessings. This was difficult, and most of them failed. When Jesus came, He replaced the law with grace; He taught that faith in Him, not in ourselves and what we do, is the key to receiving blessings. Our faith in God’s gift of grace saves us from ourselves.
Religion teaches us we must have great faith, first, before we can receive anything from God. However, the size of our faith isn’t important, but rather how consistently we work it. When the disciples asked Jesus to increase their faith, He explained to them that all they needed was faith the size of a mustard seed. He told them to keep their faith working out in the field until they saw results.
Jesus’ blood sacrifice on the cross shifted the emphasis from working to believing in Him and what He did. During His ministry, the crowds who were amazed at His miracles asked what they could do to work the works of God. Jesus’ answer was to believe on Him whom God had sent. No more self-effort is needed, only faith.
Employing our faith can actually be hard work when the world constantly contradicts the Gospel of Grace. We must fight the good fight of faith and keep laboring until we enter that place of rest where we find peace of mind. Trusting in Christ teaches us the unforced rhythms of grace, and gives us His peace.
God, regardless of what the world says, we could never do enough good things to deserve blessings from You. Because of what Jesus did, we can now receive unearned, unmerited favor from You through our faith in Him. Thank You. In Jesus’ name, amen.
John 6:28, 29
1 Timothy 6:12
Matthew 11:28-30, MSG
For more on how we’re justified in God’s eyes by our trust in Jesus, not in our own works, click on the link for the minibook, Obtaining Grace Through Faith.