By Faith :: By John Lysaught

“I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me” (Galatians 2:20, KJV).

I love that verse from Galatians (I love a lot of verses). It sums it all up for me: I live by faith in Jesus. Jesus is an intricate part of my life now and I have no regrets of leaving the worldly ways behind me. In everything I do, I do with Jesus on my mind and in my heart. I have a strong desire to please Jesus and hope that the things I do for Him are of His will and pleasing to Him.

I feel inadequate at times about pleasing, Jesus. There is something missing in my heart regarding doing the works Christ wants me to do. I just can’t seem to put my finger on it. Maybe I should witness more, and maybe that is what I am lacking. Or maybe it’s getting more involved in church activities. I don’t know. But I do have faith the Holy Spirit will guide me to that “thing” in my heart that feels inadequate. I have to remember that Christ sacrificed Himself for me and He will guide me to the path I need to be on.

Nonetheless I am confident in my salvation, even though I feel I’m missing something. I am confident in Jesus running my life and leading me to where I need to be and to do what I need to do for Him. I just have to get over my own fears and stumbling blocks. But again, I’m confident that my salvation is sealed, I just have to work on what God wants of me as a disciple of Christ. I also know that today is another day to renew that relationship with Christ and continue to grow in the love, peace, and rest that is only found in Jesus.

“Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened” (Matthew 7:7-8, KJV).

If you’re not sure of your salvation, or you are ready to move forward in your relationship with Christ, that verse from Matthew makes it clear that if you honestly and truly want to improve and move forward in your relationship with Christ, all you have to do is knock, ask Him, and hold on for the ride of your life (heaven bound).

If your heart isn’t ready, then ask that your heart be opened to Christ and the guidance of the Holy Spirit within you for a renewed and better relationship with, Jesus. Jesus is always ready to welcome a new follower into His kingdom. He is of love, peace, and rest.

I find the peace and rest the best part of my relationship with Christ, when I ask for it. I sometimes forget to do this and try to work things out on my own─always a failure. When I reach my wits end and can’t find a resolution to my problems, I lay my burdens on Him and through the Holy Spirit, things always seem to get better and things work themselves out better than if I tried it on my own. I always ask myself why I didn’t go to God in the first place, but I guess that is just my being human. I know that whenever I knock on the door for guidance or direction, He is always there as an Advocate for me and to place my heart and mind at peace and gives me rest for my problems.

“That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.

For the scripture saith, whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed. For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved” (Romans 10:9-13, KJV).

You read that first part of the verse from Romans 9:13? “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.” This is so awesome and yet so simple. I sometimes forget the simplicity of my salvation. I sometimes get caught-up in trying to be perfect, or when I stumble I feel I am not deserving of his grace.

We all fall down and what is great is that if you allow Him to, Jesus is always there with His arm stretched out to help us back up to fellowship, with Him again. This isn’t a onetime thing, this is for every time we fall, or fail to live to the standards that we should when working on our relationship with Christ. It is the gift of God that we need to embrace in our daily walk with Jesus. No matter how bad things are, remember, that Christ is there for your salvation, to give you guidance, strength, peace, and the will to follow Him to the end, every day.

“For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God” (Ephesians 2:8, KJV).

It is by grace that I daily have Christ in my heart and that I am a saved sinner. What is grace? Grace is God doing good for us that we do not deserve. Grace is God giving His Son, Jesus as a sacrifice for us sinners─who do not deserve forgiveness─so that we may have a way to salvation, to live with Christ forever in heaven by faith in Him. I know I don’t deserve it, but grace was given for me, and you. It is by grace that if we accept Christ as our Savior and do his will, we will spend our eternity with Him because Christ Jesus died for the sins of the world so that all who accept Him as their Savior will not taste death but drink the eternal water with Him in love and fellowship with others that are saved.

“But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you” (John 14:26, KJV).

The Holy Spirit works in me every moment of my life. Without Him I would be lost and would be like a leaf in the wind, going to and fro without any direction. The Holy Spirit is my compass that points me always to Jesus, His ways and wants for me, my salvation as well as what works He wants me to do. The Holy Spirit is there to guide me and to help me understand the gospel as I read and study. The Holy Spirit is in us believers so that we have a guide that keeps us on the straight and narrow path to heaven and helps us to do the will of Christ. The Holy Spirit helps us renew our relationship with Christ daily and puts on our hearts the desires that Christ has and wants from and for us.

Being led by the Holy Spirit took me some time to figure out. In my Christian infancy, I didn’t hone in on the Holy Spirit speaking to me and as a result I made a lot of mistakes in my beginning walk with Christ. Yet, as I delved into the Word and prayed, and as my understanding of the Bible grew, I could hear the voice of the Holy Spirit in me all the time. The Holy Spirit works in me by putting strong desires in my heart and speaks to my mind with ideas and inspirations. I now can discern the voice of the Holy Spirit and when I listen and follow, blessings come forth for me and I am led to act in ways I would have never had done before I honed in to the Holy Spirit’s impressions on me.

An example of the Holy Spirit working in me was with my tax return. I was fantasizing in January of what I could do with my tax return, assuming I got one this year. I could pay off that credit card, buy some things the family wanted like another computer or television to go into my bedroom. Suddenly, I felt in my heart very clearly that I needed to give my tax refund to the church’s compassion ministry that helps feed people through a food bank or helps needy people with their utility bills so they won’t freeze in the winter. At the time, I didn’t even do my taxes and didn’t know what I would get back. Once I finished my taxes, my refund was just under $6000.00.

I gladly gave my refund to the church because that was what the Holy Spirit directed me to do. I challenged all in the congregation to give up their tax refund to help with various ministries within the church. I don’t know if anyone else followed my example, but I testified to the congregation what the Holy Spirit had put on my heart and how it was important to listen to the voice of the Holy Spirit. I told them it wasn’t the amount that was important but the obedience to what God wanted me to do that was important.

“And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful” (Colossians 3:15, KJV).

I am so very thankful for Jesus and the Holy Spirit. Without either I would be a lost soul. I look back on my life before I had Jesus and the Holy Spirit and wonder how I ever survived. I am thankful that I survived long enough to be where I am now: with Jesus in my heart. I’m so thankful for the sacrifice God made by giving his only Son for us sinners, that we can have a way to heaven through the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross. I thank God everyday for the opportunity to be alive, to speak to others about the Lord, and to write as I am now, that I may touch just one person to turn to or back to Jesus.

I’m also very grateful that the peace of Christ rules my heart. Sometimes people look at me weird at work when things get crazy and chaotic. I have peace and most of the unsaved I work with just don’t get it. They get all stressed out for the large and smallest things that go wrong. Me, I don’t, because I have the peace of Christ in my heart. I have that peace because I know God is in control. No matter what happens in the world at large, or in my small realm of my life, my heart is at peace because I have Christ in my life and the Holy Spirit leads me, as I need to be led.

If you don’t have Christ in your life, I’m not going to miss the opportunity to let you know that God loves you, and He wants you to accept Christ as your Lord and Savior. God gave his only Son so that you can choose eternity with Christ. Christ died as atonement for your sins, no matter how small or big those sins are or will occur. Think of the most unimaginable sin that you can commit or have committed. Guess what; if you accept Christ as your Savior, then those sins are washed clean. You will begin to live a life of love and peace as led by the Holy Spirit and will work to live a sin free life. Know that you will fail to be sin free but it is not the end for you. Repent daily and do the Lord’s will for you.

Think you are too bad? You aren’t. Think you are undeserving? You are, but Christ died to make a way for you to spend eternity with him. Don’t miss this chance for eternity with Christ. Take a moment to reflect on Jesus and pray for understanding and confirmation that he is real. Accept that Christ died for all your sins and was raised from the dead and ascended to heaven to return one day (soon). This is an important decision to accept Christ. If you accept Christ as your Savior then you are saved and will spend eternity with Him. If you deny Christ in your life, then eternity is not with Jesus, but in hell, separated from the love and peace offered by Jesus. Choose eternal life with Christ.

John Lysaught