When it comes to God’s grace, there is no quick exercise. Grace is a gift bestowed upon us as children of God. Grace is not inexpensive; It is costly. Grace came at the cost of Jesus giving up His life for us. Grace is given freely to us, but we are not to take advantage of His grace. We ARE SAVED BY GRACE THROUGH FAITH not by works. Ephesians 2:8-9 states, “God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it.” We can NEVER boast about earning God’s grace because grace is a gift. Rewards/Awards are earned. Gifts are NOT earned; Gifts are given.
In 2 Corinthians 12:9 states, “Each time he said, ‘my grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness. So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me.” What does that tell you? That verse is telling you, you need God’s grace, and His grace is all your need. Basically, we can do ALL things through Christ which strengthens us (Philippians 4:13). No matter what situation or obstacle comes your way, you ARE victorious. Despite all these things–trials, heartache, pain, sorrow, tragedy, death, and the like–overwhelming victory is ours through Christ (Romans 8:37). You ARE an overcomer.
I’ve been hearing a lot of “I’m trying to obey God” or “I’m trying as hard as I can.”
THERE IS NO TRYING.
EITHER YOU OBEY
OR YOU DON’T.
Here is what the Word of God says in Deuteronomy 30:19, “Today I have given you the choice between life and death, between blessings and curses. Now I call on heaven and earth to witness the choice you make. Oh that you would choose life, so that you and your descendants might live!” Obedience is a choice, and as believers, we have the Holy Spirit who empowers us to live a holy and obedient life as commanded by God. You can choose life which includes blessing and being in right relationship with God and seeking after Him, or you can choose death which means you are out of right relationship with God, living for yourself. God is the One who sets the standard to live by, and His standard is holiness (1 Peter 1:16) “Be holy for I am holy.”
In John 14:15, Jesus said, “If you love me, obey my commandments,” and in in John 15:5, Jesus says, “Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. FOR APART FROM ME YOU CAN DO NOTHING.” If you rely on self-effort and self-reliance to try to obey God, that is all it will amount to. Trying to obey, anything based on man-made wisdom and understanding will collapse, amounting to absolutely nothing. We are also told in Proverbs 3:5-6, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take.”
The things of the Spirit are spiritually discerned. The bible is not something we read with our carnal understanding. As children of God, we have the mind of Christ, and we should be asking the Lord to help us to understand by leaning on the Holy Spirit who helps us to understand the truth of God’s Word as shown in John 16: 13 which states, “When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on his own but will tell you what he has heard. He will tell you about the future.” When the Holy Spirit helps us to understand the words in Scripture, we are getting understanding and wisdom from God. With the mind of Christ, we are able to understand the things of the Spirit. The Apostle Paul had this to say in his second letter to the Corinthians 2:13-16, “When we tell you these things, we do not use words that come from human wisdom. Instead, we speak words given to us by the Spirit, using the Spirit’s words to explain spiritual truths. But people who aren’t spiritual can’t receive these truths from God’s Spirit. It all sounds foolish to them and they can’t understand it, for only those who are spiritual can understand what the Spirit means. Those who are spiritual can evaluate all things, but they themselves cannot be evaluated by others. For, ‘Who can know the LORD’S thoughts? Who knows enough to teach him?’ But we understand these things, for we have the mind of Christ.”
God does NOT make suggestions. God gives commands, and His commands are clearly laid out in Scripture such as the Ten Commandments. When God says, “Don’t lie,” that’s a command. Make no mistake about it. The Creator of the Heavens and the Earth DOES make commands. You are merely the clay in the Potter’s hands. You don’t get to tell the Creator who created you what to do.
The Scriptures demand you make a choice. The Word is meant to be applied to our lives. Even King David the Psalmist recognized this as he meditated on the law of God day and night. King David understood God gave commands based on Psalm 119:32 which states, “I will pursue your command, for you expand my understanding.” Also King David understood the importance of believing in God’s commands. He states in Psalm 119:66, “I believe in your commands; now teach me good judgment and knowledge.” Understand and see God lays out His commands in Scriptures or not. However, when reading and studying God’s laws, His commands, His precepts, His demands, you are faced with having to make a decision. Will you or won’t you obey the commands of God? Choosing God’s way is choosing life. Choosing your way only leads down the broad road to death, hell, and destruction.
CHOOSE YOU THIS DAY WHOM YOU WILL SERVE!
The Creator has made Himself very clear. Now follow His laws and commands. For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Christ our Lord.
Second Corinthians 5:15 shows us, “He did for everyone so that those who receive his new life will no longer live for themselves. Instead, they will live for Christ, who died and was raised for them.” According to that verse, we, as children of God, do NOT live for ourselves because we are not your own, and we have been bought with a price. Christ Himself did the will of the Heavenly Father and stated why He had come, “For the Son of Man came here not to be served but to serve others and to give his life as a ransom for many” (Matthew 20:28, Mark 10:45).
Follow His example. See Jesus for whom He is (John 4:26), “I am the Messiah!” And we are to follow Him (John 8:12), “Jesus spoke to the people once more and said, ‘I am the light of the world. If you follow me, you won’t have to walk in darkness, because you will have the light that leads to life.”
Walking the narrow road takes our willingness. It’s not easy, but it is worth it all. Count the cost. Pick up your cross. Carry your cross. Follow HIM.
Linda A. Knowles
Executive Director, Thread of Hope, Inc.
“My old self has been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. So I live in this earthly body by trusting in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” Galatians 2:20