Bible.com Keep The Feast, day 17
For am I now seeking the approval of man, or God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ.
Passages like this always feel like a particular challenge to me. I want, oh so desperately, to be liked. To be admired. Even when I am acting seemingly contrary to the opinion of those around me, I feel in my heart I am doing it because it will result in someone's opinion of me increasing. I cannot imagine a way to not want people to like me. I know that all things are possible with God; I also know that God works as He wills and not always in a way that makes sense to us in the moment.
For much of my life, God surrounded me with people who would only like and admire a godly man. He used my weakness to glorify himself. I pray he continues to do so — I seek out people who will expect that I worship Christ, follow Him, and serve God in my daily life. I also pray God gives me strength to be His and not of this world when I need to do so.
And they glorified God because of me.
Whoa. What a statement. What an epithet to declare for yourself! I want people to say this about me, to put it in my obituary, to mark it on my tombstone. How glorious, that someone glorified God because of me! Because of you! Who will glorify God because of you today?
[Y]et we know that a person is not justified by works of the law but through faith in Jesus Christ, so we also have believed in Christ Jesus, in order to be justified by faith in Christ and not by works of the law, because by works of the law no one will be justified.
We are not justified by works of the law, but by faith. Yet our faith is completed by our works (James 2:22). By the works of our faith we are saved. Not by the works, and not by the law, but by the faith from which our works spring.
Let me ask you only this: Did you receive the Spirit by works of the law or by hearing with faith?
It is not by our own works that we hear. It is not by our own works that we receive the Spirit. It is not by our own works that we are saved.
[M]y little children, for whom I am again in the anguish of childbirth until Christ is formed in you!
I cannot know the anguish of childbirth, but I know the anguish of being a parent. It is utter despair at the certain knowledge that I cannot assure my children's salvation. This is the hardest thing I have ever done as a Christian parent, to trust God with my children's souls — as if I could do otherwise. There is nothing I can do. Simultaneously I am safe and comforted in the knowledge that God works as He wills, and He will be glorified, and also I am terrified that they may not come to know Christ as I do.