I used to stare at the ceiling, sleepless, night after night. "I never knew you...depart from Me"—nothing terrified me more than those words.
Were your motives completely pure when you said you "trusted" Jesus for the first time? How do you know if you've truly repented? First John says that a lifestyle of sin is proof that you don't know God; how much sin does it take to cross into that "habitual" category? What if you're just psyching yourself into belief because you're afraid?
I don't know you, and I can't answer all those questions for you. But if you're wondering about the quality of your faith, let's clear this out of the way first:
Your faith is imperfect and faltering. You're halfway right; if strength of faith is the requirement, yours can never save you. You feel uncertain when you look at yourself for good reason.
It reminds me of babies.
I've held laughing babies, hungry babies, and tired babies; brief meltdowns are routine. I remember one little guy in particular...
He was wailing at the top of his lungs, arching his back, and occasionally pelting me with his little fists while he shouted for his mom. I walked around the room talking calmly to him, and after about ten minutes he started to lose his voice. His chubby fingers grabbed my shirt as if he were drowning, and he started to cry in earnest—not angrily this time, but out of exhaustion and real sadness. Sway, speak gentle words, hum, sway ... his fists began to relax, and I felt his breathing even out. Soon I was smiling and he was asleep—one tiny hand still wrapped in my tear-drenched shirt.
When a baby clings to you with little fingers, is it his hands that keep him from falling? When she wails and hits, don't you only hold her tighter to make sure she won't fall?
The Father knows that our fingers are small and weak. He knows how we flail around and fall asleep with one hand loosely hanging onto Him. Sometimes we arch our backs and fall back on His shoulder crying in exhaustion. His patience is unending and His grip never wavers.
In John 10:27–30, Jesus promised, "My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father's hand. I and the Father are one."
Your salvation doesn't depend on the strength of your faith; it depends on the strength of God's faithfulness to His promises. In your best moments and your worst, your hands aren't keeping you from falling. That's His concern—and His hands are more than capable.
Now to HIM who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy, to the only God, our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen (Jude 1:24–25).
Written by Lindsey Wagstaffe