Jay Finlayson may be the most respectful individual I have ever met. He started calling me Mrs. Jones as a Covenant student and continues to do so as a post grad North Florida farmer and appraiser in training. He is the epitome of chivalry and respect. Jay’s a thinker. A deep thinker. A percolating, verbal processing, deep thinker. Jay preached at his church last Sunday and was kind enough to share with me his sermon notes. This blog take over is a small portion of those notes. I’ve made a few adjustments for brevity and readability but these are his thoughts.

It also bears mentioning, that in the midst of putting these thoughts to paper, Jay’s mom was diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma. After you read about God’s faithfulness in the midst of struggle maybe you can take a moment and pray for Mary Beth Finlayson, the wonderful woman who raised their author.


“Each and every single one of us have things that we have to surrender to the Lord. But surrender is not easy for me. It is a brutal fight for me to try to deny myself and surrender my goals, my ambitions, my desires to God. Hard though it may be, we have to take our pride and lay it down in order to experience the fullness of God’s grace. That is the beauty of it all, it is a gift. It isn’t something to be earned by toiling and fighting. Like John 3:30 says, we must decrease in order that God can increase. We have to fight to surrender. That is what we are called to, trust God through the battle’s worst raging.

On the cross Jesus declared over everything that it is finished. You see, God has won the war. I once heard a speaker at chapel in college talk about the Gospel Waltz: Believe, Repent, Fight. A lot of Christians like to do more of a two step, and pick two of the three. I’m a fighter. I can’t help it, I just want to fight and win at everything I do. Fighting to surrender sounds counter intuitive to me, but God’s power is perfected in weakness. Death is the greatest physical weakness we can know, but Jesus conquered it through the most powerful act of all time. I’m not saying that we shouldn’t try to grow closer to God in our faith, I’m just hoping that our striving will always start from a place of abiding.

Grace invites us to rest from our striving after a gift that has always been free because God has already won the war. While 2 Chronicles describes Abijah and his army responding beautifully, it pales in comparison to the response of God the father. God gives them victory because they humbled themselves and turned towards Him, and trusted Him with the outcome. When we are trusting and resting in the truths of the Gospel we are able to hope in all circumstances. The more I think about being battle ready, the more I think about how little I know about what it is to be battle ready, and the more I know about the only one who is battle tested, the one who has won the war.

To anyone who feels like they are too messed up for the cross, just know you don’t have the power to undo the work of the cross. Jesus didn’t come, live, and die in order that we might have a more convenient life. Jesus didn’t die so that we would be blessed financially, have nice houses, picturesque families, get into the college we want. Jesus came, lived and died so that we could be cleansed from all unrighteousness and live with him for all eternity. The law was never about a set of rules for us to work our way to God, it was to point us to our need for a savior. We can be blessed in our battles as we feel the aches and pains of this world when we remember not only that God has won the war, but when we take time to remember the God who has won the war. When we steadily focus on the attributes of God and who He is in the midst of trials we can begin to find peace in our tribulation.”