Friday, September 9, 2011

only by His grace...

inspiration: Jonny Sharp's message at theWell last night

"Am I taking God for granted?"
"Do I approach God with fear and reverence?"

Those two questions were ones that Jonny Sharp posed to us last night.
Two very tough questions.
Two questions that caused me to really stop.

...and think...

we read through Romans 3:9-20 last night, which really reveals the true heart of man.

we can live lives thinking we're "good" people.
never missing a Sunday service.
tithing ten percent.
serving with the kids ministry.
hoping that our good outweighs our bad.

...and don't get me wrong, surrounding ourselves with other believers, tithing, and serving are things we are called to do.
but the fact of the matter is, our good will never outweigh our bad.
we are evil by nature.

but doing these things do nothing for our salvation.

"None is righteous, no not one." (Romans 3:10)
"There is no fear of God before their eyes." (Romans 3:18)
"For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God." (Romans 3:23)

only by His grace have we been redeemed.

this is humbling.
we are to be humbled in our relationship with Him.
we are to approach Him with fear and reverence.

i know for me, it's easy (very easy, in fact) for me to forget that God is a God of justice.
i see the "God is love" and "God is mercy" image, forgetting that "Nikki is evil" and "Nikki is not righteous. at all. and never will be".

i like to see God's love and mercy as the result of my goodness, when in reality i am nothing of the sort.

i form the analogy: "Nikki loves God and does lots of good things, therefore God blesses her."
when in fact, it's "Nikki is evil and apart from God, but God loves her anyway; so much so that He sent Jesus to die for her. Therefore, Nikki is reconciled to God and is blessed because He wants her to glorify His name - not because she deserves salvation, but because He deserves honor and praise."

when we realize that it's not about us, our perspective changes.
when we realize that we are finite and God is infinite, our focus shifts.
we realize that the center of our lives should not be in something that is finite, like money, things, power, or ourselves - it should be something that is everlasting: God.

i haven't read The Knowledge of the Holy - i've read The Pursuit of God and therefore know how brilliant A.W. Tozer is - but i do want to read it! i know that my knowledge and understanding of who God REALLY is isn't where it should be. 

"Our understanding of who God is leads us to a fear and a reverence of him." -Jonny Sharp

coming to realize just how powerful He is in all his infiniteness and how we can never measure up to Him, our perspective changes. our hearts change. and our lives are ultimately changed as well.

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