May 17, 2011
“God, the Master, The Holy One of Israel, has this solemn counsel: Your salvation requires you to turn back to me and stop your silly efforts to save yourselves. Your strength will come from settling down in complete dependence on me — The very thing you’ve been unwilling to do. Isaiah 30:15 The Message
Can God make it any clearer …?
It takes us a long time to finally quit trying to change ourselves. We think that if we just try one more time .. a little more effort .. fill it in with good intentions .. that maybe .. just maybe .. God will accept “me” through all my flaws and shortcomings. Instead .. God opens His heart and holds His holy hands open wide inviting you to turn back. He’s not waiting for you to crawl in defeat. He already knows that all of your attempts to save yourself and make yourself presentable are wrapped in exhausting futility. He offers you strength as you find your “complete dependence” in Him. But you’ve got a built-in (or born-in) resistance to letting God have your complete dependence. We all do! We’ll give him most of it and try to convince ourselves that we have given “all” of it. Our faith ancestors and our present history share a common bond in trying “our” way first before seeking God’s open promise. God could have hidden His plan and longing for you. God could have made His help contingent on your acceptable efforts. But He didn’t. Instead .. He looks for every opening in your life to show you His grace .. to pour mercy into your heart .. and to do everything necessary to restore your life to Him. Jesus made the same offer to those who were tired .. worn out .. and burned out on religion (Mt. 11:28). He made the same offer: Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. He still does today. He’s seen our “silly efforts” firsthand: to make life work .. to end up on top .. and to finish first. And with indefatigable graciousness He offers over and over:” Come to me.” It doesn’t matter if you’ve walked with Him for a long time or you’re just beginning that journey. His offer is completely open to anyone who’s tired of trying to make life work in their own strength .. out of their own resources .. for their own end. He’s not finished with you. It only takes a moment …
“But God’s not finished. He’s waiting around to be gracious to you. He’s gathering strength to show mercy to you. God takes the time to do everything right — everything. Those who wait around for him are the lucky ones.” Isaiah 30:18 The Message
Ken Chester: Grace-Gripped is sent M-F to Lucky Ones following Jesus and friends of Priority One (firstname.lastname@example.org) ** Note: The use of “lucky one” is EP’s image of any man or woman who realizes how great and gracious God’s waiting love is for those who return.)