Monday, October 1, 2012

Time to Start

It is time to stop living comfortably. 
It is time to start living intentionally.

It is time to stop doing the minimum to get by.
It is time to start maximizing what little time I have.

It is time to stop taking the easy way out.
It is time to start stepping outside my comfort zone and serve.

It is time to stop wasting my life.
It is time to start making an eternal impact.

As I am adjusting to life at Calvary, I have found myself slipping back into an apathetic lifestyle. I've found my groove here; my comfort zone has been established. I love the life I'm living.

Yet something is missing.

"Do not be slothful in zeal; be fervent in Spirit; serve the Lord." [Romans 12:11]

Three short commands. One unified topic. Passionately serving our God. 

To me, I see a direct correlation between service and passion. When we are passionate about God, we will serve Him. When we serve God, it shows and grow our passion for Him. This is what is lacking in my life right now. I've figured out how to serve just enough to feel good about myself. But that's definitely not the life that I as a Christian and committed follower of Christ have been called too. Following Christ requires passion.  

So what does this service look like? For me, it's personal interaction with others. It's relationships that glorify God in every part, all the time. It's a heart of genuine, not-hypocritical love, a brotherly affection that delights in outdoing others in honor. It's a life that is presented to God as a holy and acceptable sacrifice. 

Ultimately, Paul says it best. "But I do not account my life as any value, nor as precious to myself, if only I may finish my course and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God." [Acts 20:24]

This is the heart I want to have. Thought it's incredibly hard, it's incredibly worth it. I will fight for this. Praise the Lord for the grace given to be convicted, be led by the Spirit, be changed. It's only because of Him that any life is in me at all. To God be the glory!

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Sufficient Grace

God has been teaching me a lot about His grace recently, and I knew He had something wonderful in store for me today when I woke up to a text of a Bible verse, reading:

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong. 
2 Corinthians 12:9-10

I decided to study out these verses for my devotions this morning, as this has always been a favorite passage of scripture and always a great reminder that feeling weak and empty isn't always a bad thing. When we focus on Christ and His strength in the midst of our weakness, I believe that's the best place to be! I'd even go as far as saying it's my favorite place to be.

But anyways, as I was studying these verses, I read Matthew Henry's commentary on them. I love the way he explains them and talks about them, so here it is below (I bolded a couple parts that were really significant to me.) Please read and marvel on the wonders of His grace!

"We have an account of the answer given to the apostle’s prayer, that, although the trouble was not removed, yet an equivalent should be granted: My grace is sufficient for thee
Note, (1.) Though God accepts the prayer of faith, yet he does not always answer it in the letter; as he sometimes grants in wrath, so he sometimes denies in love. (2.) When God does not remove our troubles and temptations, yet, if he gives us grace sufficient for us, we have no reason to complain, nor to say that he deals ill by us. It is a great comfort to us, whatever thorns in the flesh we are pained with, that God’s grace is sufficient for us. 
Grace signifies two things:—[1.] The good-will of God towards us, and this is enough to enlighten and enliven us, sufficient to strengthen and comfort us, to support our souls and cheer up our spirits, in all afflictions and distresses. [2.] The good work of God in us, the grace we receive from the fullness that is in Christ our head; and from him there shall be communicated that which is suitable and seasonable, and sufficient for his members. Christ Jesus understands our case, and knows our need, and will proportion the remedy to our malady, and not only strengthen us, but glorify himself. 
His strength is made perfect in our weakness. Thus his grace is manifested and magnified; he ordains his praise out of the mouths of babes and sucklings.

III. Here is the use which the apostle makes of this dispensation: He gloried in his infirmities (2 Cor. 12:9), and took pleasure in them, 2 Cor. 12:10. He does not mean his sinful infirmities (those we have reason to be ashamed of and grieved at), but he means his afflictions, his reproaches, necessities, persecutions, and distresses for Christ’s sake, 2 Cor. 12:10. And the reason of his glory and joy on account of these things was this—they were fair opportunities for Christ to manifest the power and sufficiency of his grace resting upon him, by which he had so much experience of the strength of divine grace that he could say, When I am weak, then am I strong. This is a Christian paradox: when we are weak in ourselves, then we are strong in the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ; when we see ourselves weak in ourselves, then we go out of ourselves to Christ, and are qualified to receive strength from him, and experience most of the supplies of divine strength and grace."