Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Devotional - Stop Denying It and Simply Embrace It

Good morning mt friends. I pray you are receiving some rest this summer. Do not forget that rest is also something God created because we need it. We are continuing with 1 Corinthians 15.

It is amazing how strongly we feel and believe that we have a right to our own life. I think it is a carry-over from our former lives, an attitude that has not yet been transformed because we are not eager to let it go. We want to do whatever we feel like doing. But that is something we gave up when we died and then were raised to live in Jesus. We gave up any right to do what we want to do and instead we should now have the attitude, as Jesus did, that we want what the Father wants.

Sometimes this means that we can end up in a place we had not planned to be. Perhaps it is a thing that we consider beneath us and some times it is a thing we consider beyond us. Nonetheless, it is what the Father wanted. We are not the first to feel this way:

For I am the least of the apostles and do not even deserve to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace to me was not without effect. No, I worked harder than all of them—yet not I, but the grace of God that was with me. vv. 9-10

The Apostle Paul did not want this because he had caused such pain to the Church. It was forgiven but Paul still carried that painful memory. I wonder how many people he came across reminded him of this fact. It is thought that the problems he had in Galatia were caused by this. What most of us do all our lives is avoid the things that remind us of our guilt, but that is the difference between the great and the common. Paul did not fight against his calling but instead he embraced it: "But by the grace of God I am what I am."

Does this attitude sound familiar?

Who, being in very nature God,
did not consider equality with God something to be grasped,
but made himself nothing,
taking the very nature of a servant,
being made in human likeness.
And being found in appearance as a man,
he humbled himself
and became obedient to death—
even death on a cross! vv. 6-8

The problem comes when we fail to consider God's grace and we continue to judge our worthiness by our past. After God has forgiven us we keep judging ourselves. We never allow ourselves to get to that point: "But by the grace of God I am what I am." We fail to walk the path chosen for us. Yes that is right, the path chosen for us. It is not us who get to choose. We just read how deep that truth goes:

All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he gives them to each one, just as he determines. (1 Corinthians 12:11)

But in fact God has arranged the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. (1 Corinthians 12:18)

God chooses everything for us, our gifts and our path. We are not efficient and productive in our calling because we are too much in denial concerning it. The best way we can live a life to the glory of Jesus is to embrace the life we have been called to. We must do everything believing that God provides for those he has called. Peter tried to find the words to express this attitude:

Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God's grace in its various forms. If anyone speaks, he should do it as one speaking the very words of God. If anyone serves, he should do it with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen. (1 Peter 4:10-11)

This attitude is only possible when we realize that our calling is not about us. We did not choose it. We do not merit it. It is by God's grace that we have received it. Leave your guilt in the past and simply dive in head first and do what you have been called to do with all that you have to do it. Then we will understand what Paul meant:

But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace to me was not without effect.

The realization of God's grace will change you. It's reality will compel you to do your very best but that is also when you discover that God's grace even covers you when your best is not good enough:

But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace to me was not without effect. No, I worked harder than all of them—yet not I, but the grace of God that was with me.

So stop sitting on the fence and get to it. Stop denying it but instead embrace it. You are called exactly as you are. The Father knows his children, he knows who he has called and he knows their weaknesses. You just do what you have been called to do, desire the best and allow him to transform your weaknesses to strengths. Don't ever second guess what the Father is doing; he knows better than we do.

No comments: