Grace.

…Not according to worldly wisdom but according to God’s grace.
2 Corinthians 1:12

When I get going, I can be pretty straight-talking and candid sometimes. Looking back over my last post I can see I was fired up about pretenders and I hope that it may have helped to stir you up too. But I believe there’s more that needs to be said. On it’s own, that post could have sounded quite militant and me-based, instead being God-based. Instead of, “try harder, be stronger,” we must remember the amazing grace of God; the grace that enables us to do all that we strive to do.

We do need to take up our crosses and deny ourselves, but we can only do that by the grace of God. There are plenty of people around now and from history who have been willing to die for a cause – whether it be war, a religion or protest. So on its own being willing to die for something doesn’t give the cause any particular honour – it shows the loyalty and devotion of the martyr – but not necessarily the value or worthiness of the cause.

So why should anyone be willing to lose everything (in this life) for the sake of our God and Saviour? How do they do that and what makes denying yourself for Jesus any different to doing it for anything else?

Well for one – and it must the primary reason – we have a God who did the same for us. He first denied himself, by clothing himself in frail skin and bones, and then giving his life over to the very people he loved and made, so that they would beat, abuse, whip, spit on, torment, ridicule, batter, mock, torture, pierce and murder him. He says:

“Follow me.”

And the mystery of it all is that while we choose to follow him, somehow it works out that actually he chose us first! God’s grace. That distinctive yet inexplicable phenomenon!

It’s only by his grace that we can choose to die for him, by living holy lives today. Pray for his grace to enable you to stand for him today, for there’s no other way it can be done. No human invention, muscle building program, faith increasing formula or stamina & determination will work.

Grace.

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