It’s easy to fall into a rut…..
The demands and pressures of daily life cause us to forget the joy and excitement of our first encounter with Jesus! If that has happened to you, don’t think that you are alone. Many believers go through periods in their lives when their relationship with Christ loses its energy, it may be caused by neglect, sin, or unforeseen life circumstances that temporarily pull our focus away from Jesus.
The real danger is becoming content with such a situation, or making excuses for our lack of concern for the Lord. Please understand that all Christians, whether they be preachers, elders, deacons, teachers, or anyone else, go through times in their Christian walk where they struggle in their walk with Christ.
The question is; what can we do about it? How can we restore the joy and excitement in our Christian life after it’s slipped away momentarily? I believe one of the most important things that we can do is remind ourselves of God’s GRACE.
The bible is constantly reminding us of the central role grace plays in our relationship with God.
“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith–and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God–not by works, so that no one can boast.” – Ephesians 2:8.9.
“We believe it is through the grace of our Lord Jesus that we are saved.” – Acts 15:11.
“For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor, so that you, through His poverty, might become rich.”– 2 Corinthians 8:9.
WOW!! Christ became poor so I might become rich in him.
Some have defined grace as God’s unmerited favor. That simply means that though we could do nothing ourselves to earn God’s favor, or demand God’s approval on our lives, God made a relationship possible through Christ.
That is why salvation or eternal life is described in the Bible as a gift. Paul says in Romans 6:23,
“For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus ourLord.”
So, we have received God’s favor (God smiling on us!) because of our trusting faith inwhat Christ has done for us. In fact, some have described grace using the following acrostic
The Bible describes this truth in so many ways. For example, we are told in John 3:16,
“God so loved the world that He gave His one and only son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life.”
And in Romans 5:6-8,
“You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possible dare to die. But God demonstrates His own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
Have you ever stopped to think about when Jesus died? He died before you were ever born! We did not ask Him to. We did not create the plan by which we could be saved. We did not offer Him a life that was pure, but a life that was tainted with sin. Even so, God offered us life through his son Jesus.
“But wait,” you might say, “When I was baptized into Christ for the forgiveness of my sins and the gift of the Holy Spirit, did I do something to earn my salvation?” That is a good question. Perhaps the gift of God’s GRACE could be compared to a present given to you by those who loved you very much. As they hand the present to you they say, “Open it.” Obviously, you have to do something for the gift to really be yours. You must take off the ribbon, take off the paper, and open the box. Does that mean that you earned their gift?
Of course not!
You simply accepted the gift as freely as it had been given. The same is true with baptism. Christ has done everything so that you and I can be saved. God, through Christ, offers us the gift of salvation. He says that by grace we can be made right with Him. Therefore, in faith, baptism is simply the means by which we take off the ribbon and wrapping paper. We accept God’s GRACE as freely as it has been given.
What should that do for us when we go through those rough spells in our lives? Just thinking about how great God’s love is for us will cause us to want to live, and love, and work for God and Christ as never before. That is certainly the way in which God’s grace affected the apostle Paul. He says in 1 Corinthians 15:10,
“But by the GRACE of God I am what I am, and His GRACE to me was not without effect. No, I worked harder than all . . . yet not I, but the GRACE of God that was with me.”
May the GRACE of God have the same uplifting and energizing effect on our lives!
QUESTIONS FOR REVIEW AND STUDY
1. Do you understand that all Christians have low points in their Christian lives?
2. According to Ephesians 2:8,9, Acts 15:11, and 2 Corinthians 8:9 what attribute of God allows us to be saved
3. How would you define Grace?
4. Fill in the following acrostic which can help us remember what grace is.
5. Is eternal life something we earn by our own effort, or is it something that is given to us by the grace of God according to Romans 6:23?
6. What does Romans 5:6-8 tell us about God and Christ?
7. What effect should God’s grace have upon us according to 1 Corinthians 15:10?