Friday, January 12, 2018

Another grace moment awaits

11 For the free gift of eternal salvation is now being offered to everyone; 12 and along with this gift comes the realization that God wants us to turn from godless living and sinful pleasures and to live good, God-fearing lives day after day, 13 looking forward to that wonderful time we’ve been expecting, when his glory shall be seen—the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ. (Titus 2:11-13 TLB)

Have you watched one of those "infomercials" on TV and heard their hard-sell pitches to get you to buy their product? It isn't enough we get one of those non-stick magic pans for the low, low price of $29.99 - hold your hat - we get two (for an additional shipping and handling charge which is equal to almost as much as the cost of another pan). They show you ten meals in less than one minute, dazzling you will the hype of how this will make your life so much easier, while giving you the healthiest meal possible since God created the first apple tree! Life offers us the "hard sell" on a whole lot of stuff - God offers us the "soft sell" when it comes to our salvation. The gift is ours - there are no gimmicks or "fast-pitch" tactics to rope us in. It is truly the gift that keeps on giving, but it is also the gift we can enjoy time after time again - never really growing tired of ALL that the gift accomplishes in our lives!

God doesn't need the "hard sell" because what he offers is the genuine deal! There is no substitute "on the market" for what grace affords in our lives. We can try a whole lot of other "marketed" lifestyle changes, but the true change happens only once we receive the gift of grace. Grace brings us to the realization of needing to embrace a new way of living - it helps us to recognize our choices haven't been all that God-honoring, and maybe even a little bit "self-centered". In turn, that initial gift of grace brings us into a daily "inflow" of godliness - changing us day after day until we become more and more "models" of God's goodness.

Grace may not seem to make our lives "easier" because there is some degree of "work" involved in "maintaining" this gift - the connection we must maintain is oftentimes harder than we imagined, but the "dividends" of grace are multiplied multi-fold each day we work on that connection with God's grace! Each new moment of connection with his grace brings us to the realization change is likely necessary - though not easy. God doesn't "spruce up" this day-to-day walk requirement by telling us it is the best thing since sliced bread. He doesn't promise a two-for-one deal in order to "win us over". What he does is offer us genuine change - through grace - and then he asks us to walk out that change by taking daily and consistent steps of obedience. 

At this time of the year, many of us are already beginning to wane in commitment when it comes to our "resolutions". The exercise program is just proving to be too hard, or more difficult to "fit into our schedule" than we might have originally thought. The "healthy eating" program we launched is just way "too healthy" for us! The promise to spend more "quality time" with the family begins to get a little complicated when we realize it actually requires "time"! God's not going to let us get away with "waning" grace moments for very long, though. When we said "yes" to Jesus, he opened up a whole bunch of grace moments to us - now he expects us to actually walk in those moments. 

That means consistent obedience to the principles he teaches us through his Word, good pastoral teaching, and solid biblical advice from other believers. As we engage in those consistent steps of obedience, those "grace moments" become more and more fulfilling. Those moments may not seem like much when taken one by one, but as they all add up, there are huge dividends that come from those consistent moments with Jesus! Just sayin!