Monday, March 12, 2012

encouragement

What a great series we're in at Nativity -- highly favored is about the grace of God, his unmerited favor toward us. This weekend's message was about the commandments and grace. Our pastor showed us that God's law provides guidelines for a life of grace, and at the same time, the law is a reminder that we are sinners, that we've all fallen short of God. It's amazing how such a simple list of ten things can point out all our mistakes. Even if we stopped sinning today, right here and now, we'd have a whole history of sin up until this point in our lives. We are all in need of God's grace!

Whether you're a leader, a volunteer, someone thinking about going on a trip, or on staff at the church, it's very easy for thoughts like these to creep into your brain: because I have fallen short of God so many times, because I have screwed up and have no authority, because I have no experiences or qualifications, because I have made all these mistakes in my past...  God can't use me, God won't use me, God wouldn't dare to choose me to carry out his work.

Well, I have some news for you; God has already chosen you. You are his child; you didn't have to do anything to earn his approval; you are favored. Time and time again we see the God of the Scriptures pick unlikely candidates to do amazing things for his kingdom. St. Paul was a murderer of Christians, yet he tells us in 2 Corinthians 12 that God's grace is sufficient -- it's ample, enough, adequate to overcome all things. In that chapter of Scripture, Paul readily acknowledges his own weakness -- when we look at the commandments, we can readily acknowledge our own weakness. Yet Paul says he can boast, not about himself but about the power and grace of God -- we too can boast of God for using us and choosing us, the unlikeliest of candidates, to be his ambassadors.

"I will rather boast most gladly of my weaknesses, in order that the power of Christ may dwell with me... for when I am weak, then I am strong." 2 Corinthians 12:9-10

I pray that as we continue in this message series and this season of Lent, that God's Spirit would encourage you. That because of your weakness, you may draw closer to Christ, and may come to rely upon his grace more intimately. And that through that process God would continue to use you to influence the world for Christ.

2 comments:

  1. Terrific insights, Brian. While there are people doing great philanthropic work, I've learned the hard way that any type of service, especially to the poor, is only sustainable through God's grace. It's my natural inclination to try "do" charity on my own, which is guaranteed to end in frustration and burnout. Realizing that I am only the instrument through which God works requires constant reminders, but is the only way for me to persevere in service. A brief article on this is here relm.ag/x3720b

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  2. Great points. Good works without God are nothing more than good works (and they might not even be good, depending on the application and the motivation). This series has helped me understand a concept that I've struggled with. I've spent a good deal of my life trying to earn grace, not simply accept it. I sure see grace working in the lives of Nativity's missionaries.

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