I was sitting today waiting on my car to be repaired and I begin thinking of all the times I had tried to run from God, always hiding thinking I was ducking and dodging Him by not attending worship services, bible studies, not reading His word. I was so tangled up in sin, so caught up in the glitter, glamour and gold of the world I simply stopped talking to God about anything. I thought maybe if I could just hide among the crowd and although He would see me there, He wouldn’t really pay any attention to me, I’d simply blend in fading into the background. In the midst of my mounting life problems instead of running to God I ran away from Him.
I don’t know what happened really. I guess maybe, I was just a young know it all if you will, one who had hit a rough patch. I got caught up in some mess, which I was trying to work through all the while making a bigger mess of my life and at times the lives of those around me as well. I would sit and think to myself “I know God isn’t happy with me, so I’m trying to get my life together before I go back to Him, I want to get my life right before I go to God.” The more I tried to get it right the worse things became.
Suddenly in the midst of my mess, in the thick of it all, when it had gotten to the point where it was seemingly just too much to bear, you know when it appeared like things just couldn’t get any worse. It was then when I recalled the passages of scripture from the book of Ephesians 2:1-10. I realized I can never do anything to earn my right standing with God. It has been given to me as a free gift. It is in and through Jesus only He has made me righteous, and I am only righteous by faith. That is why Jesus died for me. Even though I messed up, I am born again, and I am already right with God. He loves me in spite of, not because of and He isn’t mad at me. If I would only look to Jesus, He will help me out with my situation.
I was reminded of the fact that it is only through Jesus Christ that we are offered the free gift of grace. This is contrary to human nature, which in pride says I can do it all myself. Our position is, “my life is my own and I will do with it as I please.” Jesus says yes I gave you life and I gave you power to choose, it is your choice. So we choose love and give our life to Jesus and rest in Him, or we choose pride becoming God’s enemy, trying to work on our own and climb up to heaven another way other than through Jesus. In John 14:6 Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.
What God requires of us is that we abide in Him. The book of John 15:4-5 informs the believer “Remain in me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.” Without God we can do nothing, thus the fruits of being a Christian are a result of God’s work of grace in our lives, not by our efforts. What we are required to do is abide in Christ as a branch in a tree. The only work that a branch does is remain in the tree, then life giving sap and nutrients come up through the tree giving it life and producing fruit.
I realize I am not perfect although I strive to be, don’t you? After-all who wouldn’t want to be like their Father. Although I struggle at times I must always remember my failures and weakness are no match for God’s grace and love that He has for me. Reading 2 Corinthians 12:9-10 always helps me to remember … “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Through it all I know the closer I get to God one thing becomes more and more clear, All that I am, all that I ever have been, and all that I ever will be is totally one hundred percent a result of God’s awesome grace. Every failure I experience causes me to humbly become more dependent upon God’s grace, causing me to decrease and Jesus to increase in my life. All and every success I have is not mine but rather a result of God’s grace at work in me. Spiritual success has nothing to do with me or the things that I do or don’t do; except for the choice to both accept and live in grace, or reject the free gift by rejecting God and His Love. I can’t add anything to grace and I can’t take anything away from it.
Have you ever talked with God, I mean really spent time in conversation with Him? Have you asked Him to allow you to experience His presence in your life, in a very real way, by allowing His Love to flow through your heart and reach out to touch others. He is approachable and He understands what we deal with in this life, I know it because the writer of Hebrews 4:15-16 tells me “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are–yet was without sin. Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy (compassion) and find grace to help us in our time of need.