I loved my new car. If you’ve ever bought a brand new car, you likely know the great feeling of stepping into a new vehicle. The seats are meticulously clean, the dashboard sparkles and the vents send in clean air. Everything is great, and you enjoy the ride home…quietly thinking you could enjoy this forever (or is that just me?)
Fast forward three years, and my car has since logged 40,000 miles of Mommy-errands, grocery shopping, school drop-offs, field trips, book reading, and snack eating. My toddler has taken his socks and shoes in the back seat about 20,000 times and my 6-year old has spilled apple sauce and ketchup on more than one occasion.
After all of this wear-and-tear, my car no longer gleams at first sight. Actually it rarely gleams at all. It’s not the vehicle that would cause your eyes to open wide with affection if you saw it in the lot, even if small cars are your thing.
I still love it, but it is no longer the shine that attracts me.
Much in the same way, I have fond memories of when I accepted Jesus Christ into my life. The date was Tuesday, August 4, 1992 and it was at my church’s summer camp. I attended the same church since birth and I knew about Christ but that day, I for the first time invited Christ into my life. I remember the moment I prayed the prayer of faith. I also remember how conscious of my actions I was afterwards. I prayed every day, often several times a day and I was extra kind to everyone. I did my chores with the least amount of complaining my dad had ever seen and I argued less with my sisters. I recall conversations around the house about the transformation every one could see in me, even at only ten years of age.
I often meet believers who have similar stories. They can recall the transformation that took place in their lives when they stepped from lostness into life.
If we could relive the moment of our salvation over and over, and the immediate days and weeks that followed, it would be splendid and living a life of holiness would be no challenge at all. But, time continues and we live on past the moment of salvation. And over time our new hearts no longer feel so new, vibrant and upbeat. Our old sins battle to take over our lives again, We encounter those who oppose and/or persecute us. We face hardships and we are presented with trials of various sorts.
And in the dullness of these moments, our hearts can feel heavy and burdened. We struggle to respond kindly to yet another hurt, fumble or exhaustion. We become tempted by the sins that surround us and we struggle to extend grace to others. We grow busy with our own pursuits and spend less time on our knees and we respond harshly to our loves ones.
We are not instantly transported into eternity when we accept Christ into our lives. Thus we keep living…and as we do, the true task is to live out the salvation that the Lord has worked in us.
The question is how do we do so when our hearts have logged thousands of miles?
By grace through faith alone.
The grace that bought our salvation is the same grace through which we must live the Christian life. At one point or another, in this journey, we are bound to grow weary. We will undoubtedly have moments that rob our zeal. We will have periods where we lag behind in our devotion, where our tears hide our joy; moments when it takes everything in us to stand in the faith.
And in those times, we have the assurance that Christ has conquered it all. He has overcome every trial that we will ever encounter. He faced temptation, yet He did not sin. He was tired. He was hurt. He felt loss. He was beaten. He was betrayed. He was crucified. He died.
Yet He was also resurrected. He was also blameless. He has been exhalted to the highest place and given the Highest Name.
So when our hearts feel the weight of the world and it bears heavy on our shoulders, we can take it to Him. He bore it victoriously. We can walk in obedience and trust Him to make things well. We can lean on Him for grace and peace; grace to endure and peace to know that He is in control.
When our hearts are no longer so new and they bleed of weariness, we can take them to God. He is the author and perfecter of our faith. He was there on that fateful day when we zealously and humbly proclaimed His Name and accepted His gift of salvation. He is there now. He stands near, armed with enough grace to get us through the pits, through the valleys and through the darkness.
Hang on to grace dear friends. His grace is sufficient.