devotional

23JUN
2013

Weak for a Reason

 

There are what we call, “Means of grace” available to every believer. One of the greatest mysteries to me regarding my faith is just how this sanctification exactly works. Whenever I enter into contemplation on the idea I must confess an overwhelming sense of loss of any ability to comprehend it. How far can one go in grace? No one can do anything unless it comes from above, John 3:27. No man just takes honor upon himself in Christ. None of the first disciples, or any other today for that matter, chose to be a disciple, John 15:16. Yet I’m taught to study (2 Timothy 2:15) and to work out my own salvation, Philippians 2:12. I’m commanded to press into Christ and to seek Him diligently in many places and ways, Matthew 6:33. I’m no fatalist. Yet at the same time my works, Scripture says, were prepared for me to perform from eternity, Ephesians 2:10. I do not believe that the works of St. Paul were prepared for just anyone, Ephesians 1:4. I believe they were prepared for him. It’s not that no one else could be Paul; it’s that God was going to use only Paul. Similarly, the works of John the Baptist were wholly designed for him and him alone, Luke 1:17. So were Judas’, John 17:12. It’s all predestined, so, how do I fulfill a calling? What role do I play in its joy, intensity or extent? Is it of my diligence in service or God’s design? I don’t know exactly where to draw what line. I think the brilliance of God is that Scripture tells me to do all that lays before me to the glory of God, not to worry about the particulars, and that God’s will is revealed in that work in a hundred ways along the path. I’m to be about study, prayer and godly counsel in my decisions and I cannot ever miss the will of God…guaranteed! 

     What makes us weak along that way, however, is not so much of a mystery I think. It’s neglect. Neglect of the means of grace makes us weak. If you’re weak in your faith it shouldn’t be a mystery to you. Discipleship makes all the difference. Each avenue for grace’s growth also works like a gauge or warning light on a dashboard to indicate a malfunction in our lives if one’s present. Means of grace are the very things Scripture says we should be about as Christians. They're a packaged deal, but they also stand alone in many ways. Things like prayer, Bible study, church ordinances, evangelism, fellowship, and giving ourselves personally or financially to the body of Christ, etc., are those means. Peter says we’re to be about godliness. He tells us: “…giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness, to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love. For if these things are yours and abound, you will be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ,” 2 Peter 1:5-8. These things imply time and process. They lead to godliness! This is what we want. Fruitfulness in Christ is growth, and growth is strength. Strength and fruitfulness bring glory to God. John 15:8. That’s ultimately what we were made for. 

     You will sin as a Christian. This is not a state of mind. Anyone who claims a sinless perfectionism is not very close to God in truth. Sin cannot lord itself over a person who walks after the spirit, however. Romans 8:5 teaches us to walk, “According to the Spirit.” Are you doing that daily through the practices and means God has put in place to build you up in your most holy faith? If not, you will be weak and easily defeated by doubts, worries and the arguments of devils. Be strong in the Lord. Seek Him through the means He’s ordained in His word. It’s not magic; it’s how He does things. If He’s saved you then I guarantee you, a disciplined life according to the Scriptures is the key to a vibrant, growing, blessed faith with your Savior.

     1 John is an excellent book for testing ourselves in such ways. Todd Friel also preached a pivotal sermon in my own life years ago called, “Are You Really a Christian.” Excellent!

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