So often, it feels as though the faith of many, myself included, can become a part of a compartmentalized approach to our lives. Rather than being something that guides, and forms, and defines the way in which we live, the gospel becomes part of an elaborate system in which we do “just enough” (attend church service, give money to the church, throw up a prayer every now and then) in order to feel as though we are justified. And yet, that view of faith doesn’t align with what the Scriptures teach us. That view of faith, a faith based on works that we accomplish or achieve, appears to be more at odds with the biblical view of faith than it does representing it. Thank goodness we have a loving Savior who meets us where we are at, is overflowing in His graciousness, and who restores us when we falter.
There’s a snapshot in John’s gospel that is quick to remind us of this. Peter sees the risen Lord, he has jumped out of a boat and swam to shore, and after eating breakfast with Him, he must respond to Jesus’s question. “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” Three times Jesus asks Peter this question as He calls on the disciple to feed and tend for the sheep. And while the sheer repetition may have been something to cause Peter to doubt his standing, Jesus is gracious in calling him to care for others and to follow Him. The call that Jesus has for each of us, as Pastor Jeff reminded this past Sunday, is a call for personal and complete devotion. We each need to go before the Lord reflecting on whether we are following Jesus wholly and completely. But in doing so, it’s important for us to understand that this is not a negative experience. Though Peter may have felt uncomfortable, exasperated, or even hurt it ultimately propelled him on to a life of discipleship and kingdom multiplication. The experience wasn’t a shameful or guilt-ridden one but a learning experience that ultimately led to living out his faith.
We have had passionate desires that compete and ultimately take away from having our whole hearts consumed by the love of Jesus Christ. We have settled for a measure of His grace rather than embracing the fullness of the gospel. The call of Christ is not a call to perfection but a call to sanctification; a call in which we are, step by step and day by day, being renewed in the ways of Jesus. This week, may nothing come between us casting our eyes in wonder and awe upon Jesus Christ. May nothing hinder us from living a life completely sold out for Him. May sin be put to death, temptations trampled afoot, and hope reign as we rejoice in the One who purchased us, not partially but completely, by His blood.