There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death.
-- Romans 8:1-2 ESV
Recently, I returned from eleven days in Lancaster County Amish country. Once again, I was homesick even before I boarded the plane to fly back to Colorado, where my family and I now reside. A myriad of memories flitted across my mind while walking the back roads of Strasburg, Neffsville, and Ronks (near Paradise).
During that time, I also was given permission by the present owner of my childhood home to walk along the perimeter of the grove of tall Norway spruce my father planted when I was a mere fifth grader and just beginning to write my stories (and too shy to show anyone but my mother). A flood of emotions poured over me as I walked that ground, and I lingered longingly near the places where, all those years ago, I sat to write in my secret writing notebook.
And I wondered: Had I fulfilled the things I’d set out to do for God so energetically, so joyously?Even as a child, I was incredibly driven, motivated by an internal to-do list. Oh, the sometimes nearly never-ending lists of deeds I planned to accomplish! Goals centered in the heart of my newfound faith in Christ.
If I could talk to that young schoolgirl now—my preteen self—and tell her what I’ve learned about faith in God, I believe it would go something like this: Salvation is absolutely a gift from God. No amount of works or deeds can alter that fact. Yes, we are known by the fruit that is evidenced in our lives, but it is ultimately God’s work of grace in us that makes all the difference.
What is most important is to trust in the Lord...and not in ourselves. I’m thankful I had the opportunity to “grow up” in the ways of the Lord...and for parents who encouraged me in my jubilant, even zealous childlike faith in Christ. Walking the soil of Lancaster County was an inspiration for me in every way.
A blessed autumn—and Season of Thanks--to you, my dear reader-friend!