Thursday, December 6, 2018
Ephesians 2:8 – 9 (NIV) 8For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9not by works, so that no one can boast.
I have a consistent and irritating flaw in my life – I don’t put things away after I’m done with them. I may put them out of the way, but I don’t usually put them back where they belong. My garage is a hodgepodge of scattered tools and hunting clothing. If I need a pair of pliers or a screwdriver, I must stop and think about the closest hiding place to the last job I did. It doesn’t pay to go look in the nice tool cabinet I have. Each drawer of the cabinet is neatly labeled with the type of tool that is supposed to be there – but the drawers are almost empty. The tools are wherever I put them after my last project.
Some of the most fulfilling days of my life are spent organizing my garage and putting everything away. I get such a sense of satisfaction from seeing it all organized and knowing where everything is. But it only stays that way for a short time. Every project is an opportunity for me to improve, but I don’t.
This flaw has caused another serious flaw – the inability to find things, even when they are right in front of me. It is so embarrassing to be looking in a drawer for a utensil or a tool and then, after asking my wife for help, to have her find it right where I had been looking. I have a huge blindness for the obvious. I waste more time looking for things because I didn’t put it back, and it has conditioned me to not see what is right in front of me.
Yesterday I failed to see the obvious as well. I gave you a list of 31 gifts that God gives us when we come to Him for salvation, and I failed to include in the list one of the most important and fundamental gifts of all – faith. Please change your lists and add #32. In all my research to find all of the gifts, I overlooked the one gift that is necessary for the receiving of all the others. Without faith it is impossible to please God and it is impossible to receive the grace of God. Faith is the gift God gives us that brings light to the darkness of our sinful flesh.
Helen Keller understood darkness, being blind to any and all physical light. But her faith gave her all the light she needed. These are her words – Dark as my path may seem to others, I carry a magic light in my heart. Faith, the spiritual strong searchlight, illumines the way, and although sinister doubts lurk in the shadow, I walk unafraid toward the enchanted wood where the foliage is always green, where joy abides, where nightingales nest and sing, and where life and death are one in the presence of the Lord.
We all at one time were stranded in the dark wilderness of sin. We were lost and without direction or hope. The vehicle of our life was without fuel and the battery was drained dead. But God reached down and gave us a fully charged portable GPS unit. (That’s Grace Providing Salvation unit) The destination already programmed into the unit is heaven, and the route we are to take has also been pre-programmed.
The first screen that appears instructs us to get out of our vehicle and walk in the direction of the light. We look around from our driver’s seat and don’t see any light. But the unit says to get out and we will see it. We open the door, step out into the darkness, and in faith close the door on our old life.
In that instant a light appears. Not just a light in the distance, but a light that illuminates everything in front of us. We turn to look back at the vehicle we exited, and we cannot see it, for the light does not illuminate behind us, only in front of us. There is no reason to go back. We can now clearly see the direction we should go. We have been saved from the darkness. We are no longer lost.
Now that we are in the light we look at the GPS unit and engraved into the top of it is the word FAITH. Scrolling across the screen are the words “Saved by faith, walk by faith.”
A map appears, and it gives us the directions for today’s leg of the journey. We try to advance the screen to see where tomorrow will take us, but nothing appears except the words “Do not worry about tomorrow. My grace is sufficient for today.”
We set out on the journey towards heaven, with our GPS unit in hand. So long as we follow the directions revealed to us on the screen we walk in the light and the One who gave us the gift of faith is more clearly and intimately revealed to us. Each day of the journey we discover more of the fullness and abundance of life that we long for, and each day our gift of faith gives us all the direction we need to stay on course.
What in incredible gift! I’m going to make sure I never misplace it again.