May 15, 2009
“Let me put this question to you: How did your new life begin? Was it by working your heads off to please God? Or was it by responding to God’s Message to you? Are you going to continue this craziness? For only crazy people would think they could complete by their own efforts what was begun by God.” Galatians 3:2-3 The Message
How are you going to live today …?
… In your own strength … Out of your own self-effort … By sheer anxiety and constant fretting? God has a way of asking questions that cause us to stop from time to time and check what is going on inside our hearts. No one intentionally believes that faith is a “self-induced” .. “self-sustained” .. or a”self-fulfilling” purpose for today. We usually fade to our own strategies when believing and trusting seem impractical or time is running out. God has begun something in you that can only be explained as “God has started a work in me.” It didn’t happen because you were smart enough or bright enough or capable enough. It began when Jesus revealed himself to your heart. It began when God sent His Holy Spirit to seal His love in your new life and continues right up to this very moment. It doesn’t happen because you are really religious. It happens when you quit trying to build your life to look like Jesus and begin with the most profound simplicity of just trusting Jesus … what He has done on the Cross … who he has become now … and the life you live is no longer your own. Jesus isn’t trying to trick you … or punish you by shame … or cause you to work harder to make up for all you didn’t do in the past. He’s inviting you to speak and hear The Gospel fresh and simply follow where He would lead you: What actually took place is this: I tried keeping rules and working my head off to please God, and it didn’t work. So I quit being a “law man” so that I could be God’s man. Christ’s life showed me how, and enabled me to do it. I identified myself completely with him. Indeed, I have been crucified with Christ. My ego is no longer central. It is no longer important that I appear righteous before you or have your good opinion, and I am no longer driven to impress God. Christ lives in me. The life you see me living is not “mine,” but it is lived by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. I am not going to go back on that. (2:19-20) It only takes a moment .. no effort .. no striving .. no self-effort .. just a moment …
“Answer this question: Does the God who lavishly provides you with his own presence, his Holy Spirit, working things in your lives you could never do for yourselves, does he do these things because of your strenuous moral striving or because you trust him to do them in you?” Galatians 3:5-6 The Message
Ken Chester: Grace-Gripped is sent M-F to Christ Followers and friends of Priority One (firstname.lastname@example.org)