The road to a better life begins by acknowledging where one stands.
The truth is that for those of us who seek to follow Christ, there is a certain disappointment in how well we are living with Christ. We don’t measure up to what we hoped when we started the faith journey.
Hannah Whitall Smith said this about the Christian life:
“Your victories have been few and brief, your defeats many and disastrous. You have not lived as you feel children of God ought to live. You have had, perhaps, a clear understanding of doctrinal truths, but you have not come into possession of their life and power. You have rejoiced in your knowledge of the things revealed in the Scriptures, but have not had a living realization of the things themselves, consciously felt in the soul.”
If she was writing this today, maybe she would have begun with, “Let’s get real.” I think anyone who really desires to follow Christ will feel, at least at times, the truth of Smith’s words. (Those who just wanted a ticket out of Hell may not understand it, but that is another issue.)
I especially like Smith’s sentence, “You have had, perhaps, a clear understanding of doctrinal truths, but you have not come into possession of their life and power.”
We act as if the correctness of our doctrine is what saves us. We don’t say that, but it’s kind of lingering in the background. Of course, that doctrine differs widely when you get into the weeds, even among committed Christians. We, with our varied theologies, cannot all be right.
Which gets us to what the New Testament says is the key to life with God in Christ — grace and faith and love and hope. We keep it simple or we get it wrong.
As I have written multiple times, we are not saved by correct theology, we are saved by God’s grace through our faith.
The grace-faith life leads to love-hope.
Back to Smith:
“Christ is believed in, talked about, and served. However, He is not known as the very life of the soul, abiding there forever, and revealing Himself there continually in His beauty.”
Today’s is my birthday. My birthday wish for us all is that we would all grow in the “life of the soul.” That grace-faith will lead us to love-hope.
My family and friends, I love you because God first loved me. Thanks for enriching my life.