“And without faith, it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to Him must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who earnestly seek Him.” Hebrews 11:6
As a child, I lived in constant fear that I would “lose my salvation”. I know that might sound silly to you, but it’s true. Every night before I went to sleep, I would lie in my bed saying my prayers, which would always include my requests for God to forgive my sins that I had committed that day and that Jesus would “come into my heart”. Despite the fact that I had prayed that very same prayer the night before, I feared for some reason that my moral failures from that day had cost me my “saved” status with Jesus. That childhood rhyme “Now I lay me down to sleep, I pray the Lord my soul to keep. If I die before I wake, I pray the Lord my soul to take”…well, I really took that seriously. If I didn’t wake the next morning, I had to be certain that Heaven would be my fate, not Hell.
I’m not completely sure how I gained such a skewed understanding of God, His love, and forgiveness, but it wasn’t until years later that I would sincerely embrace faith in Jesus Christ. I was bound by the false belief that it was my good deeds that would earn me good standing and favor with God, and every time I messed up, I would have to start over again back at square one. It was a never-ending, vicious cycle that I couldn’t possibly keep up with. Like a hamster on a wheel, I exhausted myself desperately trying to please God by what I was able to accomplish or restrain myself from, but it never seemed to measure up.
And then it hit me like a ton of bricks. Good standing before God has nothing to do with what I can do, but rather everything to do with what Jesus has already done. When Jesus uttered His final words while hanging on that cross, “It is finished”, the fight was over. The war ended. It is neither my good deeds nor lack of bad deeds that please God. Faith pleases God. In fact, without faith, Scripture tells us that it is IMPOSSIBLE to please God. In other words, we cannot please God if we do not have faith in Him. This ushers such tremendous freedom into our lives as we can now dispense with the notion that we could ever earn grace. Because grace is a gift of God, it’s freely given, not earned.
Perhaps you need to hear this truth today. Maybe it will set you free just as it did for me. It is not your striving for perfection that pleases God. Faith pleases God, and faith connects you to the promise of His blessings. He rewards faith in us. Are you without faith today? Know this, my friend, that God responds favorably every time to the heart that comes to Him asking for faith…every time! Ask Him to give you faith. If you have faith but it’s weak, ask Him today to increase it. Believe that He exists and know that He always rewards those who seek Him. Be found on your knees at His feet in passionate pursuit of Him.