“And I(Paul) am certain that God, who began a good work within you, will continue His work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.” Philippians 1:6 NLT
Last Friday I struggled through a strange day. I was out of sorts, and had a bad attitude on several levels. I was also in the midst of having to make several decisions that I didn’t want to make. I just wanted them to sort themselves out or go away. Life isn’t like that though, is it? So as I was “muddling through” I realized I needed to pause and ponder what was going on in me. So I did; all throughout the day I stopped to pray for God’s grace-to enable me to cooperate with the Holy Spirit about my attitude; to ask God to help me to cast my anxieties on Him and trust that He cares for me. Each time I talked to God, I prayed that these heart issues that were coming to the surface, would be used to train me in His grace. I repented to God where I sinned in my thoughts or actions. And as to the decisions I needed to make, I asked for God’s clarity and guidance.
God answered my prayers. He was training me with Christ’s redeeming love in action. It wasn’t fun. It wasn’t easy. But as the day wore on, my rebellious attitude began to be diffused as I surrendered my self-justification, self pity and entitlement issues at the cross. I began to see things more clearly. I was able to go ahead with decisions and ministry with God’s confidence in wobbly me. No second guessing if I got it right ……or wrong. I was given God’s peace in my messiness and in the ongoing, daily spirtual battle. I hate to think how the trajectory of this would have altered my life had I carried on in my own strength and sinful heart. Not a pretty picture– carnage of bitterness and pride overflowing into “the enemy’s deceitful foothold territory.” Yikes!
You see, we can accomplish nothing in “being and doing good” when it is detached from the DONE of the gospel. We will wear out and burn out and give up and give in to Satan’s deceptive lies. But God’s gospel grace gives us oxygen and space to breathe; the power to repent and obey.
Jared Wilson says it so well: “The Gospel is good news. The Holy Spirit of God living in us ensures it. We will bear good fruit. This doesn’t make us sinless. It DOES make us sure of spiritual growth and it DOES make us more conscious of and convicted over our sin.”
I think that is what I am learning more every day. God’s gospel grace that saved me will grow me and refine me into Christ’s likeness more and more. It is a daily process until I am with our Lord Jesus.
Praying that this will resonate with you, reader, as you consider the training of God’s grace in your life. This is Good News! God began His work in you when He saved you; and He will CONTINUE His work in you until it is finished. Be encouraged!