“One of the reasons I love the Bible is that the humans in the Bible are not very refined. They’re pretty goofy, if you want to know the whole truth about it…” (Rich Mullins)
As I read the stories of some people in the Bible, it makes me a little sad and frustrated.
Why didn’t they “get it”? Why didn’t they just follow God and believe? How much destruction might have been avoided if only selfishness and pride were cast aside in favor of humility and grace?
Well, I suppose they didn’t “get it,” because they are no different than me.
Sometimes, I just don’t “get it;” how God’s plan is better, how His ways are just, and how He is always good, no matter the circumstances I find myself in. And when I don’t understand, I often choose to go my own way; trusting my plans and ideas more than my Father’s perfect design. Now, I see how wrong I was when I chose my own way, so, today, I choose to step forward in faith, not allowing my past to haunt or define me, and allowing God to teach me and transform me. And a few lessons God seems to teach me through every sin, mistake, and hardship is that His grace is sufficient for me, to conquer my sin and weaknesses, and living a holy life is only possible through fixing my eyes on Him.
Jesus is the Author and Finisher of my faith, and what He has begun in me, through the indwelling of His Holy Spirit, He will complete. I live by God’s grace, but I am called to never use grace as an occasion for sin. There are some people who use grace as an excuse for sin and as a means to silence the truth. Those who proclaim to be followers of Jesus Christ, but use grace as a cloak for their sin, are goats among the flock and weeds among the wheat. They have held up a quarter to the Sun and proclaimed that the Sun is neither bright nor magnificent. Yet, if they would only remove the small and worthless things from in front of their eyes, they would see the wonder of God; how He is holy, just, and calls them to give their whole heart to Him and not just what they are comfortable with giving up… Apart from Christ, there is nothing good in me, and I would be no different than a goat or a weed, but with Christ in me, the impossible has been accomplished; I have been made righteous.
Faith in Jesus Christ was a choice I had to make for myself. And the choice to daily walk with Him is also a choice I have to make for myself. Though it saddens me when I see people in hopeless situations brought about by their sin, I cannot let even that bring me down, because I have to confess that they are just like me; they need Jesus, but only they can choose to follow Him, I can’t do it for them. I have no power to save a soul or to bring the dead back to life; only Jesus Christ can perform such miracles. I would be honored to be used as His messenger and as a living example of His grace and truth, but it will still be His power that saves, and not mine, so I must not take the burden of another’s salvation upon myself. It is a choice they must make, to walk in step with Jesus or not.
Wherefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. For it is God Who works in you; both to will and to do of His good pleasure. Philippians 2:12-13
No person, no matter how powerful or good, is beyond mistakes, and no person, no matter how weak and evil, is beyond the grace and redemptive power of Jesus Christ. It is by God’s grace that we are saved, so on Who could I cling and in Whom could I find rest except Jesus Christ?
God has used millions of unrefined, goofy people for the furtherance of His kingdom and the glory of His name. He did not require perfection before He called; He called and He perfected; that is the wonder of grace.
So, I choose to take every step in faith, trusting in Jesus, resting in His grace, and proclaiming His truth to anyone who has ears to hear.