According to the Riches of His Grace

"In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, which he lavished upon us…" -Ephesians 1:7-8

Month: March, 2015

Baby Steps

footsteps1

There is a hard struggle in being a Christian. When you begin following Jesus, he forgives you of your sins and you begin a lifelong process of following him, in which he leads you away from sinful tendencies and makes you more holy. This process will not be completed until we either die or Jesus returns.

So, my struggle is that I want to be fully free from sin, but I still have a long way to go. It would be really nice if I could be free from sin and be finished with that process next week, but the reality is that if I live to be 70, I still have a nearly 50 year battle with my sin to go. My desire is to be fully like Jesus and with him, but I have a long time to go.

Just when I think I almost have my sin under control, the Lord exposes to me 10 other areas where I am not even close to overcoming. I may be doing really well at patience and then I’ll be in a group of people and make 3 or 4 comments that I really shouldn’t have, that were arrogant, rude, or discouraging. I may be doing well at not looking at women with lust, but then lose my temper. I may have my language under control, but then cut someone off in traffic for my own gain.

I am a sinner.

And I want to be free from this curse over my flesh. I am completely forgiven of it because of the cross of Christ, but may we never use that as an excuse to indulge in it. I don’t want it as a part of my character anymore. But it is. The Spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.

Maybe you feel this way. So what do you do?

I am a planner, so my one of my biggest thorns in the flesh is trying to think weeks, months, and even years out. There is value in not being content where you are in your walk with Christ, but there is also pain in fretting that you aren’t yet with Jesus where you won’t be for another 5 years. For whatever reason, God takes a lifetime to do a complete work in us and make us completely free from sin.

So instead of only focusing on the big picture, focus on today. Following Jesus and becoming more like him involves a lot of baby steps. We are never going to pole vault all the way through the Christian walk. It takes a lot of time. It is a battle. It is hard. Take it a day at a time and follow the Lord today. Keep the future in vision, so you know what you are aiming for, but don’t rush the sanctification process. Give everything you’ve got. When you give everything you’ve got and are fully surrendered to Jesus, you are in the appropriate posture at which he can do the most work in you.

“Oh that day when freed from sinning, I shall see thy lovely face

Full arrayed in bloodwashed linen, how I’ll sing thy sovereign grace

Come my Lord, no longer tarry. Bring thy promises to pass

For I know thy power will keep me til I’m home with thee at last.”

The Glory of God in the Snow

snow

It’s been covering the ground for over a week. It has been called many names.

Snowmageddon. The Snowpocalypse. The White Death.

And I have been right there among the complainers about it. I live in Louisville, KY and we got about a foot of it. For over a week, I was stuck on my seminary campus and couldn’t go anywhere. My vehicle is terrible in snow, so I don’t even want to risk it. I also lost a couple shifts at work, because if the seminary closes, my shifts are cancelled. This means that my paycheck is down and I need that income.

Now, there is a second one coming pretty soon. My hometown has already cancelled school for tomorrow because of its potential. Don’t get me wrong, I want spring to be here. I want to be able to spend time outside again. I want sunshine. I want to stop having to dress in 3 or 4 layers to stay warm.

But I pray that I won’t make the same mistake this time that I did last time.

In the previous snow storm, I spent a week complaining about it. Then I was in Job in my devotional time and I came to Job 37:5-7.

God’s voice is glorious in the thunder. We can’t even imagine the greatness of his power. He directs the snow to fall on the earth and tells the rain to pour down. Then everyone stops working so they can watch his power.”

It was like I had been smacked in the face. I missed about 7 hours of work and all I did was complain. But there was not a flake of snow that fell to the earth that God did not command to fall. “Then everyone stops working so they can watch his power.” I could have watched the power of God fall in the snow, yet all I did was complain.

So as the snow falls over the next couple of days, it will be cold. We will be cooped up inside. We may loose shifts at work that we need. We may not be able to drive our vehicles for a few days.

But let us watch the flakes fall from the sky and gaze on the glory and power of the God who caused it to fall.