One of the biggest lies Satan ever convinced me to believe is this: I didn’t believe enough to be saved, and I had to. I wrestled this for years, in different ways, often shattering because I couldn’t “fix” it. I couldn’t believe enough, I couldn’t completely banish doubt, I wasn’t totally convinced that heaven was real (and therefore wouldn’t be let in). I’d made an idol of faith. And idols always leave us broken.
The core idea of this lie is that God’s love has to be earned. As a human being, not to mention an enneagram type two, it’s easy for me to believe that you have to earn love: you have to give something to get something. In order to be loved, you have to act a certain way, do certain things… Right?
No, dear, no. Love should never be earned, and God’s love cannot. “Oh, but it must,” my heart whispers. Oh, but it must not. You will never be able to earn God’s love, because enough is always out of reach. Trust me, I’ve tried.
And moreover, you don’t have to. He already loves you beyond comprehension. He created you individually, knitting you inside your mother’s womb (Psalm 139:13). If He didn’t love you, He wouldn’t have created you.
Secondly, while we were still sinners, Christ died for us (Romans 5:8). Before we even wanted to earn God’s love, while we were basically trying to earn God’s wrath, He sent His Son to die for our sins and live a perfect life for us.
This doesn’t change when we become believers. As one of my old pastors said once, “there’s nothing you can do to make God love you any more than He already does, and there’s nothing you can do to make Him love you any less.” Our acts of obedience and service should come from love, not in an attempt to earn it. Listen to the wording of Romans 6:23 (NIV, emphasis added):
For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus.
Wages have to be earned: you have to work in order to receive them, gifts do not. And the gift here is eternal life. Heaven is already ours – we do not have to earn it. Christ bought our place there, paying the price with His blood.
Faith is not the loophole out of this. Your amount of faith does not determine how much God loves you. Faith as small as a mustard seed is enough (Luke 17:6). If He loved you when you had absolutely no faith, why would He not love you now, even if your faith is tiny and fragile?
Faith itself is a gift (Ephesians 2:8), not something that must be earned. And Christ is “the author and perfecter of our faith” (Hebrews 12:2, ASV), not us. He will see it to completion.
I mentioned earlier that I’d made an idol of faith. Faith is important, but it’s not what saves us, Christ does. I was so focused on how much I did or didn’t believe that I lost sight of my savior and was essentially trying to save myself. And that, my dear, is an impossible task.
Faith is turning to Christ to save us, despite our struggling belief. It’s praying “I do believe, help me overcome my unbelief!” (Mark 9:24). Let go of believing “enough” – simply fix your eyes on Jesus. He loves you.
The end of the story is this: God loves you, so very much, but not because of what you have done, period. Faith is His work, not yours. You are a deeply loved child of God who is forgiven because of what Christ has done. Trust in Him.
Rebekkah Waner is a Jesus freak, Hufflepuff, foodie, music lover, and college freshman. She blogs at the The Blue Pail about random awesomeness, and spends too much time procrastinating by playing on Pinterest.