by Linda Troxell
It is so comforting to know that no matter what we do or what we say, what may happen in the world, what we think, or what others tell us, if we are saved, we will be with God in eternity. That leaves us free to concentrate on this life. To decide how we want to spend our time on earth. Do we want to spend it trying to control things only God can control? Or do we want to spend it showing God how much we love and trust Him? Do we want to make this life about us, focusing on what we want, what we think, and what we feel? Or do we want to make this life about glorifying God, focusing on what He wants from us, what He thinks of us, and how our behavior makes Him feel? 1 Corinthians 10:31 tell us, “…whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.”
On the other hand, when things around us are in chaos, and we feel broken, rejected, and out of control, it can feel like a burden knowing that no matter what we may do, no matter what may happen in our lives, we will be with God in eternity. Most of us have days, sometimes much longer, when we just don’t feel like putting in the effort to be a “good Christian.” We don’t feel like caring about others or doing good works; we don’t care about much of anything. On those days, knowing that we are saved no matter what happens can actually make our life more difficult.
In those days, we must rely on our Christian maturity and commitment to God to do the right thing. If we can’t depend on guilt or shame, or the fear of going to hell to keep us in line, then we have only our own integrity to get us up and going. We have only our commitment to God and our maturity as Christians to help us let go of our depression or laziness so that we can do what God wants us to do. Thankfully, as we become stronger in our faith and our relationship with God deepens, we will have fewer and fewer days when we become mired in our own misery and wallow in our own feelings. Meanwhile, on those days, knowing it is all on us to do the right thing can be pretty intimidating.
But wait, is anything ever all on us? Do we, as Christians, ever have to rely solely on ourselves? When we are feeling alone and burdened, it is then that we most need to remember who our Lord is and who we are in Christ. We must remember that we cannot be alone because we cannot be separated from God. When it seems God is nowhere to be found and we feel we are doing it all by ourselves, that is when we need to remember what the Bible tells us in Romans 8:39; “There is nothing in all creation that will ever be able to separate us from the love of God which is ours through Christ Jesus our Lord.”
When we question our faith and God seems to have disappeared, we need to praise Him, whether we feel it or not, whether we believe it or not. Because it is only through praising God that we can enter into His presence. It is only through worshipping God, whether we mean it right then or not, that we begin to remember and then to feel and finally recognize that God is with us, and never again will we have to do anything alone.
It is vitally important that we understand clearly, in the good times when we feel His presence, just who God is. So that in the bad times, we can remember that He wants to be part of our entire lives. He wants to be part of everything. Not only the celebrations but the mourning too; not only in our happiness, but in our sadness and depression. God wants to be with us when we can worship and thank Him, but even more so when we feel deserted and alone and have lost track of our thankfulness.
We need to be clear when we feel close to God, who He is and how much He loves us. Only then can we, in the bad times when we are not even sure he actually exists, still call on Him and allow Him to comfort us. If we know who God is in the good times, then in the bad times, we will be able to remember, “He is the one you praise; He is your God, who performed for you those great and awesome wonders you saw with your own eyes.”-Deuteronomy 10:21
Yes, it’s essential to be sure that no matter what happens in our lives, we are saved and will never be alone because our God is faithful and loves us unconditionally. Because knowing those things allows us to understand that no matter what we do, how we think or feel or treat others, whether we glorify God in our words and deeds or keep His light under a bush, we will spend eternity with God. That knowledge can take so much pressure off of our day-to-day lives. It eliminates the preoccupation with how many good works it might take to get to heaven. It alleviates our fear of whether or not we are “good enough” to go to heaven. It relieves the insecurity about the future and our salvation. Leaving us free to worship God, not fearfully, but because we love Him and are thankful.
In turn, we are set free to do good works because we are concerned about our fellows. Free to express the Spirit of God as the Spirit leads us. It leaves us free to worship God and glorify Him from our hearts, not our fear. But, if we are not mindful and still maturing in our walk with the Lord, it can free us from the preoccupation with our salvation, leaving us free to pursue our own fame and glory, to get lost in worldly things and earthly pleasures. It can free us to leave God behind and indulge our basest desires. Nevertheless, we are saved either way, so the choice is entirely a matter of free will.
So, what will you do with your free will today?
Linda Troxell is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist who lives in a small town in Southern California where she writes devotionals and poetry to post on her personal blog. For over twenty years, she worked to help men and women struggling with substance abuse and adolescent boys in group homes struggling with family difficulties. She is now retired and spends most of her time doing what she loves best, writing about the Lord, and spending time with her grandchildren.