The salvation of the Lord is constant, never ceasing to be at work in us as we strive against the evil of this world and the temptations it offers us. Like Paul, it is a continuous battle of our fleshly desires and our cleansed and forgiven spirit, brought into unity with the Spirit of God by the shed blood of Jesus.
24 Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? 25 Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself serve the law of God with my mind, but with my flesh I serve the law of sin.
Each moment we exist we are blessed to feel the effects of Christ’s salvation. As we muddle through dilemmas of the flesh and mind, the Holy Spirit interacts with us, reminding us, delivering us, disciplining us, and reminding us of our Salvation through Christ.
Too often I think we are guilty of only looking to Jesus when we are desperate. Because we are taught (correctly) that ALL of our sins have been paid for on the cross by Christ, we don’t stop to experience His salvation acting out on us moment by moment. We forget to trust. We forget to stop and wait and watch.
“The Lord is my portion,” says my soul,
“therefore I will hope in him.”
25 The Lord is good to those who wait for him,
to the soul who seeks him.
26 It is good that one should wait quietly
for the salvation of the Lord.
In those moments when we have forgotten to trust Jesus for our problems or mistakes, we must make a conscious effort to listen and look for the salvation of the Lord in our life. As the Lord is always telling me, “There’s grace for that!” It’s His little reminder for me to look to Him for my salvation instead of trying to figure it all out on my own.
12 For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. 13 And no creature is hidden from his sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give account.
It’s just so darn easy to think God isn’t interested in my little problems, or that God might be too mad at me for some wretched thing I have done to save me from what I’ve done. But we’ve, been promised eternal salvation. Eternal. It is active and working in us on a daily basis. Jesus is our salvation. So, it isn’t like Jesus was our salvation and now He’s not. He is and always will be our salvation, working within us eternally, shining His salvation upon us as The Good Shepherd.
27 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. 28 I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. 29 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. 30 I and the Father are one.”
We can trust in the Salvation of the Lord because he promises it to us. And He has taught us to hear His voice, and obey His words. We’re safe with Him. There is never any reason to fear, because Jesus is faithful. His Salvation is constant and eternal.
6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
As hard as it may seem to be to believe, adversity brings intimacy with God. But it takes practice, trust, and faith. Throughout the Bible we are given a series of lessons regarding our response to suffering and adversity. God wants us to know the fruit of what adversity brings. He wants us to learn to look beyond ourselves and find the joy in looking only to the Lord Jesus.
When we catch glimpses of God’s plan to glorify Himself and us through our trials, we can see and experience the depth of trust and love we can have with Him. We aren’t promised a life free of struggles, but we are ensured that as we love Him and follow Him with our whole hearts, He will exchange beauty for ashes.
The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me,
because the Lord has anointed me
to bring good news to the poor;
he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
to proclaim liberty to the captives,
and the opening of the prison to those who are bound;
2 to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor,
and the day of vengeance of our God;
to comfort all who mourn;
3 to grant to those who mourn in Zion—
to give them a beautiful headdress instead of ashes,
the oil of gladness instead of mourning,
the garment of praise instead of a faint spirit;
that they may be called oaks of righteousness,
the planting of the Lord, that he may be glorified.
4 They shall build up the ancient ruins;
they shall raise up the former devastations;
they shall repair the ruined cities,
the devastations of many generations.
There’s no better way to experience and receive God’s offer of renewal and intimacy than through that passage of scripture. God has sent Jesus to restore all that has been lost and broken. He’s promised us that! He’s promised our trials and struggles will be repaired and restored. What a wonderful way to know God better, than to meditate on those promises, especially when we are in pain.
Adversity draws us closer and closer to God. So when we read in James about counting our sufferings as joy, we can remember why! The Lord will be glorified and we will be drawn near to Him, and become stronger in our understanding and intimacy with Jesus!
2 Count it all joy, my brothers,when you meet trials of various kinds,3 for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness.4 And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.
Lacking nothing! We lack nothing when we are within the shelter and comfort of the Lord. That’s the biggest, deepest intimacy there is! No wonder everywhere we look in scripture we are urged to trust in God, hide in the shadow of His wings, be protected in His fortress, and more! These are all a call to intimacy with Him! When we have faith in Him, we have hope in His promise of Salvation and Love.
Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. 2 Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. 3 Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, 4 and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, 5 and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.
There’s great comfort in those words. Not that we are to enjoy our adversity, but in that we can see what adversity brings us: intimacy with God. And what Christian doesn’t want that?
Here’s another look at building our intimacy with God.