Friday, March 7, 2008

Don't Waste His Grace

“In our work together with God, then, we beg you who have received God's grace not to let it be wasted.” 2 Corinthians 6:1 (Good News Translation)

If you believe that Jesus Christ is everything he said he is and have accepted the forgiveness and life he gave at the cross, you have received God’s grace. But what are you doing with that grace? Are you wasting it by not calling on God in time of need—large or small?

Verse four reads, “In everything we do we show that we are God’s servants by patiently enduring troubles, hardships, and difficulties.” And the following six verses list all the troubles, hardships and difficulties that Paul and his companions endured with patience: Beaten, jailed, mobbed, overworked, hungry, sleepless, disgraced, insulted, treated as liars and so on. How did they endure? By calling on God’s grace in time of need.

In verse two, Paul shows us what God’s grace to us is: “’When the time came for me to show you favour, I heard you; when the day arrived for me to save you, I helped you.’ Listen! This is the hour to receive God’s favour; today is the day to be saved.” Today. Right now. Did the dog just come into the house with muddy feet? God has grace for you. Did three different telemarketing calls come in a row just as you were sitting down for dinner? God has grace for you. Do you want to tell your co-worker that you’ll pray for her but are afraid of what she’ll say? God has grace for you. Is it Sunday morning and you just don’t want to get up and go to church? God has grace for you. Are you struggling with a sin in your life you can’t seem to get rid of? God has grace for you and that grace is now, at the moment of need—if we but ask and then receive. God’s grace enables us to go through all difficulties without being an embarrassment to him.

I think my difficulty in this, many times, is that I forget to ask. Sometimes God is the last one I call upon in time of need. Instead I go to friends or food or hide in bed or find some other way to deal with things. What can I do to ensure that God and his grace are my first line of defense instead of my last? I believe it is by laying a strong foundation of God being ever present in my life and thoughts.

Leanne Payne, a favourite author of mine, talks about “practicing the presence of God.” John Piper encourages his readers to pursue the pleasure of God. Tommy Tenney writes about chasing after God. When God and relationship with him is our goal, we will find more and more that he permeates all we think, say and do. When that is true, we won’t forget to call out to him because we’re doing it all the time—whether we are honoured or disgraced, insulted or praised, in sorrow or in joy, rich or poor (verses 8-10).

Father I don’t want to waste the grace you have given me. You delight to hear, show favour and save—from big things and small. Help me to so walk with you that you are my first thought in times of trouble and in times of joy.

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