ver felt the feelings of shame, disbelief, anger, frustration after a major screw up? Made a choice or a mistake that you “shouldn’t make?” I know the answer is yes, so I will go ahead and ask the follow up question: How did you respond? Did you jump right up and run back to the huddle, or did you send your helmet soaring?
What is the grace of God about? In Luke 15, Jesus shares the story of the prodigal son, in which we learn a great deal about the heart of our Father and the nature of His mercy and grace toward His children. And there is much more to this grace than you might think!
Unfortunately, mercy is one of those words that most Christ followers have heard so often that it has become a bit tired & cliché. But when we understand the full reality of God’s mercy and our desperate need for it, our hearts cannot help but grow in love for Jesus. Here we examine the “parable of the prodigal son” and discover life-altering lessons about God’s merciful heart!
In serving others, we choose to invest our time and energy, assets that could be used to further our own interests, in God’s purposes and Kingdom. Time that we might otherwise use for earning income, networking, socializing or being entertained is poured out on others as an expression of love for both Jesus and the ones we serve. And as with most things in God’s economy, the rewards far outweigh the sacrifice.
In short, to be “poor in spirit” means to see ourselves as we really are before God. It is a recognition that we inherently have nothing that would commend us to Him, that we are spiritually bankrupt and destitute. We have no claim on His mercy. He owes us nothing. We deserve nothing but hell, and we can’t do anything about that reality on our own. And Jesus says we are “blessed” when we realize that fact.
For years, the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7) was one of the most difficult passages of Scripture for me to read. The reason had nothing to do with an inability to understand the message that Jesus is sharing. His words are quite clear. No, my issue had everything to do with being completely overwhelmed by His teachings and feeling condemned to failure before I even started.
Without faith, we cannot please God (Hebrews 11:6) and we cannot experience grace. However, it is grace that ultimately saves us, not faith. Faith just leads us to grace. Or better yet, it leads us to the Source of all grace. In short, faith leads us to encounter.
If you embrace the idea that your faith can positively impact the world and then consistently see things change for the better when you pray, then that would be a pretty awesome experience, right? Well, what if you pray with every bit of faith you can muster and nothing happens?
Since all of the professionals have told me that you should always begin a blog post with a brief summary statement of your topic, here ya go: Without faith it is impossible to please God, but without consistent, meaningful encounters with God, it is impossible to keep the faith.
In the midst of my weakness and struggle, I’m leaning on the gentle Savior and trusting Him for the strength necessary to keep His commandment. But in reality, that’s pretty much always the case, to one degree or another. And I’m becoming more and more convinced that this is a good place to be.