I think the hundreds and hundreds of pages I’ve been journaling over the years have become my biggest asset. I can learn a lot about myself and about what the Lord is doing in my life (or has already done!) I’m glad I have a record of it all. Sometimes I will read something I wrote a few years back and think to myself, wow, who the heck wrote that! She sounds really smart. Other times I think, wow, who the heck wrote that? She sounds like a total idiot.
Luckily today, when I read a journal entry from exactly five years ago, I was impressed and not mortified:
“Sometimes we act as though we’re going to earn God’s favor, or prove our faithfulness by depriving ourselves, or making bigger sacrifices, or praying, fasting, being healthier, giving more of my time, being more studious, etc. What I’ve come to realize though is that we can become a slave to those things, even though they are good on their own…and that’s a sin.
The Lord Loves us and has favor over us, and approves of us out of grace…because of Jesus, not because of anything we have done (or don’t do!)
Does that mean we should cease to seek wisdom and a contrite spirit, and right intention, and humility, and knowledge? Of course NOT! By doing these things we are living out our faith. But us becoming a slave to those things; us serving those things, is just as sinful as not doing them at all.
That’s why there needs to be a healthy balance between focusing so much on works that we push out grace, and becoming so comfortable with grace that no one can tell any difference between us and someone who has no concern for God at all.
And that is why James reminds us that our faith without any works is dead, while Paul reminds us that we cannot be saved by our works but only through grace”.
*See James 2: 19-26 and Ephesians 2:8-10