Statement of Belief #6 - Christian Family Solutions

Statement of Belief #6


Statement of Belief #6:

We believe that by the working of the Holy Spirit through the Means of Grace that people receive faith in Jesus as their Lord and Savior. The Holy Spirit gives believers the wisdom and strength to walk according to His will.

There are a lot of people out there who make a lot of promises? They promise the perfect path to life or the perfect plan for life. “Do this; don’t do that! Take this pill. Follow this diet. Read this book.” On and on. It seems we will stop at nothing to try to feel endlessly good.

What if your path or practice doesn’t leave you feeling better about yourself, but worse?

Well, all these people who make all these promises will leave you with one alternative. There is one answer to your question; one cure for your anxiety; your moodiness; your foundering faith; your dysfunction. The answer is two, simple words: “Stop it!” It sounds logical. It makes good sense to our brains. What if, however, your feelings have betrayed you or destructive coping skills have sabotaged you? Then “Stop it!” isn’t enough. That’s when we need more. We need Jesus’ promises. And he promises peace. Instead of the command: “Stop it!” Jesus offers this encouragement: “Be still!”

Now, there’s a message for us as we face the struggles, temptations, failures, and mistakes in our own lives. Jesus does not simply say: “Stop it!” He doesn’t tell us to just dig deep inside and find the inner strength within to overcome our troubles or our struggles. He doesn’t even tell us to read a book or follow a diet or take a pill to avoid or overcome our problems. Instead, he tells us to lean into them.

Our Savior calls us to face our struggles. We do this when we admit we have struggles. In this life, we will try really hard to cope with the bad things that happen to us, but we will not always succeed. Even our good attempts to undo past hurts can cause damage. We need Jesus’ peace.

If peace is the absence of struggle, then what is the peace Jesus gives? It is the end of the inner conflict. It is the absence of the spiritual turmoil that forever asks: “Am I good enough?” Am I loved enough?” It’s the end of pushing against things and the beginning of leaning towards things. That’s because Jesus doesn’t command, “Stop it!” Instead, he calls us to “Be still!” “Be still and know that I am God! I am with you.”

So, can you be a Christian and have a bad day? Can you be a believer in Christ and be caught in bad coping patterns, addictive behavior, acting out, and destructive conduct? Can you still be loved by God even there? Or does he demand you to “Stop it!” before he will love you again? The inherent shame we have on account of the fall into sin has tainted each of us with unrealistic expectations of ourselves and even of Christ. God says, “You’re not good enough without me.” And humanity responds: “What must we do to be good enough without you?”

Jesus says that isn’t even the right question. Instead, he calls us to lean into our “not-good-enough-ness;” to lean into our imperfections, to accept them as realities, to admit them. “Lean into them. Confess them,” Jesus says, “and there you will find me.” That’s where Christ meets us with his peace.

We Lutheran Christians call it “the means of grace.” That is a term to describe how the gospel of Jesus is at work through the Bible and the Sacraments. These have often been called the marks of the Church or the tools of the Holy Spirit. Wherever the gospel is proclaimed in truth, the Bible, Baptism, and the Lord’s Supper will also be there.

The peace of Christ is the presence of Christ who meets us where we are and who loves us where we are. He meets us at the baptismal font in a splash of water with his Word as we are joined with him into his death and resurrection. Jesus meets us at his table. He offers his very body and blood for us to eat and drink in Holy Communion as we are nourished and strengthened in the promise of forgiveness. Jesus teaches and encourages us every time his Word is taught and proclaimed.

Yes, Jesus meets us where we are. He also loves us so much that he won’t leave us where he finds us. He loves you enough to change you so that you will never ever be the same person. It’s true. We are struggling saints. But we struggle towards glory. We struggle towards victory. And the victory is the fact that we who once were lost have been found!

The victory is not so much that I overcome this life, but that I have Christ with me in this life. That’s because he has overcome the world. He provides us with the strength to carry on as well as the promise of an eternal home – a home free from all depression, addiction, anxiety, fear, marital strife, fibromyalgia, coronavirus, heart disease, cancer, and death. We will also be free from all unrest of the soul; doubt, grief, guilt, and shame.

To keep us hopeful, what does Jesus do? He promises the Holy Spirit. That means we have the eternal presence of the Almighty God among us right now. The Holy Spirit is the One who gives us counsel, encouragement, guidance, and strength as he leads us back to the promises revealed to us in Word and Sacrament. And right there, Jesus continues to keep his promise: “Never will I leave you.”

And so, we find peace in his presence. This same Jesus who meets us also promises to go with us as we meet others in his Name. And there he is with us. He is with us in the counseling office or the classroom. He is with us in the group sessions. He is with us in the nursing home or care center. He goes with us as we meet others in their dysfunction, acting out, rationalizing, or minimizing of wrong.

He meets us all at the cross and the empty tomb. And he says, “My peace I give you,” which is his very presence. That’s because Jesus lives. One day, we will meet our risen Lord in the glory of heaven. And there we will bask in unending peace in the eternal presence of Christ. And he will say yet again, “Be still. And know that I am God.” That is far, far better than, “Stop it!”

Pastor Edward Frey

Questions to Ponder:

1. Describe a time when the peace of Jesus held you together even as you felt like you were falling to pieces.

2. Jesus meets us where we are but he never leaves us where he finds us. How does that statement apply to the Means of Grace?


Prince of Peace, my words cannot express how precious your grace is to me. I thank you that you found me. You purchased me as your own. You promise to never leave me. What peace I find in you. Holy Spirit, ever keep me strong in the faith you have created in me. I ask this for Jesus’ sake. Amen.

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