Growing in the Eternal Grace of God.
As my world has grown, I no longer wish to satisfy my own selfish desires, but I wish to please and satisfy the one that controls me. I have a different set of goals. My intentions are no longer self-motivated. Having been warned or aggressively guided into accepting the ways of God was not criticism but sheer wealth. Accepting reality as a way of routine, is not survival, it is true victory. It is strange that by doing those things that cause those around me to be content, I also am made to gain. I begin to realize how really small my world was when I was always the only one being considered. My plans were very small, but now I have decided to enlarge them and include not just my family and community but the entire world. At first, I considered such a task to be impossible, but that was before I substituted my mind for the mind of Christ (Matthew 19:26; Mark 9:23, 10:27, 14:36). You see, in Christ, all things are not just possible, but are assured. What a powerful but loving God. Once you have accepted and understand Him you will soon learn that there is really nothing different or surprising about God’s grace. God has not changed; He is what He has always been. With God there is no negativity or hidden agenda, His promises are true and He will not err or wander away from that truth. Why should He change when He knows all, sees all, and can do all? How can you change something that is already perfect without changing it for something that is flawed? The ability or desire to change or become different is a human characteristic; humans are the only ones who can choose to be either good or evil. Humans are the only ones who have been given the right and responsibility of choice. Living in His grace, we are afforded many wonderful opportunities. We have been given the opportunity of accepting Him as our eternal future. Living on this earth is not what true living is all about. Our permanent home will become reality when we die physically, but, glory to God, we have been given the opportunity to choose His heaven as our eternal home.
If it were not for the grace of God, this world would be a miserable place and all the people who live on it would be just as miserable. The word grace, which has been defined as God’s Riches At Christ’s Expense, is where we obtain the hope of eternal life. Without the possibility or hope of living forever, where would we get the desire or the determination to live at all? It is this bit of knowledge that God has given us that has held back the total obliteration of all mankind. Without His grace we would be left wandering and unfulfilled. Errant man seeks to exchange God’s grace for selfishness and wanton greed, while through God’s mercy; we have been given His eternal promise. Sinful man looks at God not as one that is there to save and redeem, but as one who can fulfill their fleshly lusts. When He is not there to give them their earthly desires, they ridicule and scorn Him for being righteous and holy. Blasphemy is a reproach unto God and to take His name in vane will not gain you those things that are decent or profitable. Man’s ignorance has caused him to disbelieve, and through disbelief he is given unto riotous living. Through God’s mercy we are no longer without hope or the promise of obtaining His many blessings; we have been given the chance of a brighter home with Him.
Let’s suppose that we were born to live only the life that we are given while on this earth. Do you believe that life could possess the qualities of total peace and true satisfaction? If all the possessions we could possess were to be obtained in that short span of time, do you believe people would want to share? Would they be willing to share? If you believe that they would, then how do you explain the hoarding that goes on today? Why is it that we have this thing called social status that is ruled by millionaires and billionaires? Does wealth really determine a man’s value, his importance? Are we truly our brother’s keeper? There is a common link between all men. All humanity in the eyes of God are sisters and brothers. Does anyone really need all that much money, while a major percentage of this world starves? I have no intention of taking away from those who are considered successful, or to covet what they possess. God is truly in control of it all. Now imagine what it would be like if we did not have a God who loves us and wants to bless us through the gift of His marvelous grace? Realizing what God has given, and what He is now giving does not diminish the fact the He is in charge of it all. It is God’s grace that gives me cause to rejoice. When I compare His grace with the so-called treasures of this world, I find no true comparison. When in His grace I have lost all desires to sin. Coveting and lustful passions are diminished when I look at the true wealth of a gracious Lord. What can be more wonderful than the promise of eternal life, that blessed eternity in heaven with Him? To want anything more would be impractical, to want anything less would reveal the heart of a fool.
In the corporate world, why is the span between management and the common workforce increasingly widened? In many instances, the basic good of the employee has been put on hold so the upper echelon can be unfairly rewarded. As a Christian, whom do you depend upon for your daily needs, God or your employer? As a Christian employer, do you depend upon God to provide your substance? Do you realize that He is the rewarder of those who love Him and thank Him for it? Do you treat your employees with the same love and respect that God has given you? You no longer hear, “One for all,” but, “Get it while you can.” The idea of the common good is all but unheard of, but Jesus died for all mankind. We all have a common enemy, Satan, a fact that should cause us to be united. Without love, the giver of God’s grace, there will be no solutions for the problems of this world, no attempt to help meet the needs of a poor brother or sister. How do we expect to receive grace from a loving Savior and not be willing to show that same love and respect in the community in which we live? The notion that we are all in this together has become antiquated and rejected. Truthfully, we are all in this together, whether we have chosen to be or not; and God will hold everyone accountable for their actions, good or bad. The spiritual side of your life is more important than the physical, but in reality, you cannot separate the two. Your moral or spiritual beliefs will determine or govern your physical actions. If you are willing to give in to your physical cravings, then your spiritual life will suffer. If you are sincerely devoted to moral beliefs and doctrines, then you will want to live them in your everyday life. Self-justification is a ploy of Satan and will in no way bring up an honest, justifiable result. There is no such thing as half-truths, and the act of using such a tactic does not only deceive and confuse the one it is being used on but the one that has consented to employ it. The only true power is of God and is controlled by God. Those whom He places in positions of power will be held accountable for how they choose to administer that power. “For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required: and to whom men have committed much, of him they will ask the more” (Luke 12:48b). Power that is properly granted is never self-bestowed and in the hands of the unworthy will come to no good end. God fights the battles of a Christian, and a wise man will depend upon God for all his vengeance.
As a side note, how is it that those in business consider their own value system more profitable than God’s? Do not all blessings in this world come from God? Is it not wise to consider that God will honor those that are honest and principled? When is it never profitable to do what is right and honorable? How do we justify the accumulation of profit over that of honest transactions? To sacrifice moral principle for worldly gain is never justifiable or morally profitable. Thinking that your immoral actions are justified in the securing of your future will release you from God’s infinite protection. God will not honor those who seek worldly sanctuary in the wealth of this world. Do you doubt God’s ability to provide, His ability to maintain? In the business world, how do we consider the importance of friendship of less significance than that of making a larger profit or increasing the bottom line? Are we not to be a friend to everyone? If so, then why not those whom we have in our employment? How is it that we justify making a larger profit at the expense of moral values, just good business practice? Do you think that God is impressed when He looks at our bank account? If so, do you think that anyone that is considered poor will ever make it into heaven? As an employee, how do we consider that we have given a fair day’s work if we have not given it our best? If we were knowingly to live for only a short time, would we be willing to give up many of our so-called “rights” and sacrifice them for the good of humanity, or would it be every man for himself? Right now, in this great country of ours, there are groups and organizations that consider themselves supreme and superior. It is their intention and desire to destroy everyone that cannot, in their opinion, measure up. Our great, democratic form of government has those who encourage and favor the elimination of all whom they consider unproductive or unbeneficial. It is true that God has richly blessed this country, but His blessings are actually on those people who, because of their willingness and desire to put Him in that place where He belongs, live here. If this country, or any country, wants to be blessed, then it must first give allegiance and honor to the One who is in total control. If you want a loaf of bread, go to the baker. Everything that we have must come from somewhere, and the only true provider is the Lord. We should learn to be thankful to those who share with us and learn to do likewise.
As we consider the true blessing of God’s grace, we must acknowledge that we to are responsible for sharing our abundance with those that are less fortunate. God is our example and in all things we are to be like Him. Taking credit for something that you did not do has little or no reward or satisfaction, but when you do something that you know is pleasing to God, it will not be important who knows that it was you that did it. God is the true rewarder, not man. In my life, when I know God is pleased, I am content; all’s right in my world. True joy and satisfaction come from the heart and cannot be tampered with or destroyed by the misgivings of an evil world (Psalm 112:5-8). Life is our most precious possession, and when that life has been given back to the One who gave it, then it truly becomes rewarding and fulfilled. Sometimes, we are forced to endure the un-desirable, but when we have given everything to Him, we have nothing to fear. There are times in our lives when it takes negative circumstances to stimulate positive growth. If we are children of God, then He has promised to meet our needs, and He will never renege on a promise. As the Bible states, He is God and He cannot lie. It does not say that He will not but that He cannot lie (Titus 1:2). Every good gift that we have is made available to us by a loving God and is intended for our good purpose. How could we ever be suspicious of a God who loves us that much? How can we impugn someone who has given so much that is meant for our protection and deliverance? There is no lie that is more devious and insidious than the lie that is meant to hurt and destroy. We know that we have arrived when we can thank God for those questionable, un-desirable occurrences as well as those welcomed blessings. It is His grace that has brought us from a place of total depravity and unto that place of complete rest.
God’s eternal grace has been given to us not only for our eternal preservation but as our example to follow. True grace is not corralled; there are no fences to deny its true benefits (Ephesians 2:8). The grace of God is the sharing of all His treasures, the highest being His only Son. Being disobedient and sinful, man, the highest of God’s creations, was hopeless in his fallen condition, worthless and dying without a Savior. Jesus, the righteous Son of God, willingly went where no man could go. Jesus, the spotless Lamb of God, made a way for all who are willing to hear and repent. Man was without God, unable to save himself or to gain any form of victory or reprieve. God, in His love and mercy, showing compassion for man, offered His only Son as a sacrifice upon the cross. The grace of God could only be obtained by the sacrifice of Jesus His only begotten Son. For it to be grace it had to be a gift. God said there is no greater love than dying for a friend. (John 15:13) The marvelous grace of God required that His Son would die. God’s grace was to become His greatest gift; He would die so that man could gain the treasures of heaven. The price that God was willing to pay is only indicative of His exalted love for us. If God had not willingly paid such a price, would we believe that He really loved us? There was nothing that He could give but His only Son. He loved us all but He did not have to make such a sacrifice. By His willingness to give, we obtain the true and undeniable definition of the word grace. How could anything so priceless and so costly be just given away? Such a thought should not cause us to doubt but should cause us to humbly give all our love unto Him. When you are given a gift here on earth, it is proper and desirable to present the giver with an equal or better gift. How could we ever give God such a gift? God does not expect that from us, but when He looks at our hearts, He wants to see that desire and love there where it should be. The older I get, the closer I get to God and the more I expect temptation to flee from me. The more I want to share with my Lord, the more I am drawn to succeed and the more I am made aware of my imperfections. When I allow that light of God to shine upon me, I am made to see my corruption. The more dedicated I become, the more my flesh wars against me. I am made to doubt my abilities and my potential. It is God who wants to use me, but the devil is not pleased, and he will not let me alone. I am constantly reminded of my fears and inadequacies. My past sins, which God has forgiven, cause me to doubt my worthiness and my sincerity. Without the grace of God, I would be defeated; but God is not done with me and He will not leave me alone. Many times, I despair for my life, but I am comforted with this fact. I am in His up-raised hands, and nothing can take me away; no one can take me away from my Savior ( John 10:28). Through His marvelous grace I am given the protection of a million faultless promises; and, as I rely upon Him, I am assured that I have nothing to fear. Even though the devil would like to destroy me, he cannot; God will not allow it. Through all the storms and difficult times, God is perfecting His image in my life. As each storm appears, I am allowed to see Him at work; I am made to feel His closeness. Knowing the promises of God and actually seeing them materialize or come to pass can only cause my faith to grow and my love and devotion to mature. What a magnificent revelation; what an unmatchable feeling.
God will honor His Word. His promises can never be erased. It is up to me to see that I am blessed by them. If I am willing to take Him at His Word and do those things that He has commanded me to do, everything will be as God wants it. I said as God wants it; because I have reached the point in my life where I know that for me to have the very best, it must be how God wants it, not I. By my knowing what God desires is more important; I have learned that He is more knowledgeable and caring. He cares enough about me to see that I am given the very best. I don’t have to make any decision but that of trusting Him; He is responsible for all the rest. By His being responsible does not make Him my slave but my very best friend. By my giving Him the very little He has asked of me, I am able to take of all the many blessings that He has to offer. God has so much; He owns it all, and He will give it to those who serve Him. He does not give His gifts as payments or bribes but out of His love to show that love. True gifts are not given to insure or maintain loyalty but only in expressions of love to meet the needs of those who are loved. The true gift is that of being loved unconditionally.
It is interesting how Satan mimics God but cannot ever come to His supreme majesty or completeness. He, Satan is a fraud and only attempts to be someone and something he will never become. Do you think that Satan knows the perfection of God and wishes to surpass it? It is surprising but sad how so many are drawn to this swindler, this copycat, when they could, by the asking, have the real thing. They wantonly accept someone who does not love them and would never sacrifice anything for them, especially his life, someone who, in essence, has really nothing to give them, nothing but death and eternal separation from the One who truly loves them. They give their lives to and for his deception. In truth, they are the ones who are called upon to make the sacrifice; they are the ones being deceived. It is hard for me to believe that anyone can be so deceived, but until you have truly tasted of the goodness of Jesus, our blessed Savior, you are without understanding. By the grace of God we are given the hope of eternal life. By His ardent mercy we are made to see the pleasant reward of His matchless grace. Jesus invites all to, “Come and see.” “O taste and see that the Lord is good: blessed is the man that trusteth in him” (Psalm 34:8). Satan promises everyone the world, as he promised Jesus (Matthew 4:8-9). Satan has said, “If you fall down and worship me, I will give you the world,” but if that were true, what good would it be to you if he could not first give you life? The devil has casinos; the Lord has a storehouse. The devil promises possibilities that he cannot deliver. Such promises are to be considered lies. Everything that Satan gives has strings attached while what God gives comes without exception. What God gives are only blessings while what Satan gives can only be considered as curses. The things that you gain in this world or that Satan gives you will be taken away; there is no security in the empty promises of an evil adversary. The things that God gives you are yours; they can never be destroyed or taken away. It is somewhat amazing that even as I write the words that God gives me to say, Satan is there to whisk them away. If there is anything admirable to be said of Satan, it is that he is undaunted; even though he has already lost, he will never surrender.
No matter how many people Satan is able to draw away from God, he is not appeased, he is not satisfied. Satan’s true desire is not to destroy man but to destroy and rule over God. He has desired the impossible, and knowingly so. That is what causes his incessant anger. The Bible speaks of how God knows us, even the number of hairs that are on our head (Matthew 10:30). To Satan, you are only a soul that he has managed to steal from God who truly loves you. You are only a pointless victory. As you view the similarities between God and his adversary, Satan, you began to realize they are diametric. What one is the other is not. This would cause you to think their being so different would make an individual’s choice one of elementary simplicity. Who would want to serve someone with the characteristics of Satan? If you listen how people speak of their bosses today, even the most ruthless could never match up to Satan. While here on earth, you might have that same boss for fifteen to twenty years, Satan you will have for eternity if you do not choose to give your life to God. While in the business world, you do not always have the opportunity to choose the one for whom you will work, the choice between your eternal supervisors has been left up to you. The more you examine the truths that are available to us; God’s matchless grace will become more evident and desirable to you. Without ever applying any of God’s merciful gifts or promises in your life, it is not difficult to see that you would be wise to choose His way. That proposes this question. Why are so many reluctant to choose the gift of life that God has offered to all? I am sure that this is a topic that could never be completely researched or totally solved no matter how much time is spent on it. The heart of a fool is not something that can be readily understood; the only truly evident fact is that he is, indeed, a fool. God’s way does not make allowances for the unwise. True repentance is only found in the humble. Love cannot be forced to accept those who are indifferent and unconcerned. Only those who are truly repentant and faithful can obtain eternal life. Once you have accepted God’s grace and that seed is planted, it will begin to grow and bless the ground that it has been planted in. As a Christian, the way we turn away from habitual sinning is by getting tuned into and turned on to those things that are righteous and holy. God will not bless those things that we do that are evil. If we seek His will and are open to His direction, the unheard-of is bound to happen. In our lives, blessings will flourish when we allow Him to control. God is not about the ordinary; everything that He does is a miracle. How we allow ourselves to perceive Him is how we will respect and worship Him. God is not an entertainer or performer; He is God. God does not work magic; He works miracles. Magic is only the perception of accomplishing something thought impossible. With God, miracles are doing what is impossible. Why should we be more impressed by the illusion of the impossible than by the reality of it? Why should we worship the deceiver and not the true God? Many are being deceived into believing what will not happen instead of what will. Truly reality can be its own nightmare. As we age, our only true benefit is to gain in the wisdom and knowledge of our loving Lord. Growing in the eternal grace of God will not only enrich your life but will lead those that know you to desire Him. What better definition could you put upon success, or what better way could you gain total peace and maturity?