Sunday, July 17, 2016

God's Grace and The Irresistable Power of His Spirit

I witnessed the power of God's Spirit bring grace and healing to someone this morning in Sunday school. It was a beautiful thing. Many of us have walked alone with our burdens for a very long time and it is not easy to open up and talk about them or where we have been or what we have done or what we feel shame about.

For spiritual healing to become reality, we inevitably have to do this for ourselves and for those around us. The guilt must be removed or the healing process never completes itself. More importantly, our struggles are relevant for the healing and even instruction of others. We can go beyond sympathy to empathy in our spiritual battles. We relate. We have been there and we can help. God can and does forgive, but we have to forgive ourselves. Who are we not to forgive ourselves if God has forgiven us? Who are we to say that His grace is not sufficient? When we learn to forgive and love ourselves,  it's only then that we can learn to love others as Christ loves us.

Once accepted, God's grace is an amazing thing...just like the song. Often we think of His grace in terms of sin - the power of forgiveness or the power to resist. What I am coming to believe is that His grace is the power to be and do what He always wanted for us.

When the realization hits you that your sin is gone, your secrets are known and He and your brothers and sisters in Christ still love and accept you - the sky becomes the limit. You begin to break through to the other side and really live with and through Him. This is the sweet spot of faith. It is the place to be.

Paul put it this way in II Corinthians 12:7b-10

  Therefore, in order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. 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 about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 10 That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

We all have some kind of thorn in the flesh as Paul calls it; something we do not talk about, that we are not proud of or that may cause us all kinds of emotional and mental anguish or even very real physical pain. 

We need to take it to the Lord and to our brethren and share it. We need to let Him heal us. We need to accept the grace God gives us and move forward as His new creations becoming what He always wanted us to be. We need to love ourselves and each other as His body on earth. His children. This is where we start to become effective for His kingdom.   

There are many inside of church culture today that do not get this. They have led sheltered lives for the most part and cannot relate to some of the suffering the rest of us have to go through. They do not always understand or empathize. I envy them their sheltered lives in some respects, but I thank God for using the events of mine to teach me and enable me to help other wounded warriors. Some of us have been willfully rebellious and angry sinners. Others of us came to despair over things which we had no control. Still others of us experience a mix of both. I would ask our sheltered brethren, please bear with us as we grow into what came so naturally for you. Stand by and watch as the miracle of God's grace unfolds before your very eyes. There are many of us out there. I think we out number you now. God is turning us into His Church. Think about the future. We are it!

May His Spirit watch over us and empower us as we move on toward eternity.

I love you Lord. Thanks for today. It was perfect!   

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