It is very easy to see all the wrong in others. We try to blame anyone and everyone but ourselves. We even blame God to make ourselves feel a bit better. But it does not work in the long run. We don’t get any cleaner by taking mud baths.
Look! Listen! God’s arm is not amputated—he can still save.
God’s ears are not stopped up—he can still hear.
There’s nothing wrong with God; the wrong is in you.
Your wrongheaded lives caused the split between you and God.
Your sins got between you so that he doesn’t hear.
(Isaiah 59:1-2, MSG)
The only way to get cleansed inside out is through repentance and asking for forgiveness. Jesus is the only way to get back to God and Father is always waiting for us. We need to keep on returning because we are in continual need of grace. As Jerry Bridges has said it: “We are brought into God’s Kingdom by grace; we are sanctified by grace; we receive both temporal and spiritual blessings by grace; we are motivated to obedience by grace; we are called to serve and, finally, we are glorified by grace. The entire Christian life is lived under the reign of God’s grace.”
Living in grace is wonderful. That’s why need to keep company with Jesus. We need to stay in God’s presence and be motivated to obedience by grace. John Piper instructs us “Consider Jesus. Know Jesus. Learn what kind of Person it is you say you trust and love and worship. Soak in the shadow of Jesus. Saturate your soul with the ways of Jesus. Watch Him. Listen to Him. Stand in awe of Him. Let Him overwhelm you with the way He is.” Because that is how we stay committed to Christ.
Lately, I’ve grieved over friends (and everyone) who have once known the joy of salvation and then chosen to forsake Christ for the world. When I was younger it was great to fellowship with other young Christians. But the ranks have thinned out considerably. I used to wonder about the Harvest Story of Jesus. Who on earth would be the seeds fallen in the gravel or in the weeds? I don’t wonder any more. Sadly it’s all happening in the front of my eyes.
This is nothing new under the sun. The whole Bible talks about the same thing over and over. Chuck Swindoll points out: “More than once Jesus deliberately addressed certain issues that quickly diminished the number of onlookers…it was commitment that thinned the ranks”. That’s what God wants from us. God wants us to keep him number one in our lives. God wants to give us life and more life but we need to keep coming back for more. God gives his grace – that we all need so bad – freely if we just ask. But we need to keep on asking. Every day. There is no other way to stay faithful.
Because I need God’s grace so badly I choose to cling to Jesus. We need to choose Jesus day after day. Otherwise we will all slip away very easily. The world is full of traps, I’ve experienced the dangers of them myself. Even such a small thing than TV can lure you away from Jesus. Each and every one of us has different temptations. Bring them to Jesus. Don’t play with the fire. And if you do get burned, run back to Jesus.
A. B. Simpson has said “Christ is not a reservoir but a spring. His life is continual, active and ever passing on with an outflow as necessary as its inflow. If we do not perpetually draw the fresh supply from the living Fountain, we shall either grow stagnant or empty, It is, therefore, not so much a perpetual fullness as a perpetual filling.” This is what ‘flowing faith’ is all about. Faith is God’s gift for us. We need to keep it overflowing by coming to Christ, the living Fountain.
Then – by God’s grace – we can stay firm in our faith no matter what happens in our lives.
Then – by God’s grace – we can stay firm no matter what happens in the culture around us.
Then – by God’s grace – we can boldly confess our sins and beg for grace in the name of Jesus.
Because there really isn’t nothing wrong with God, the wrong is in us. Because in God we find everything we’ve been looking for. Because in God we have abundant life.
We come to you humbly asking for forgiveness.
We come to you asking for your grace.
Because we can’t save ourselves.
Because all the wrong is in us.
We bring our temptations to you.
Enable us to live in your grace.
Give us life and more life in you.
Fill our hearts with the joy of salvation.
Keep our faith flowing.
Help us to share our faith in such a manner
that people would be drawn to you.
Shine through us, work through us.
In Jesus’ name,
Q4U: How is the world tempting you? How do you deal with your temptations?
Be blessed, my fellow pilgrim, on your faith journey! Cling to Jesus! God’s grace is sufficient!
Photo courtesy of Evan Schneider