Monday, June 23, 2014
THE IDOL OF SELF-EFFORT
We recently moved to sunny AZ to our new home in Chandler. I very quickly found the paths in the park next to us where I can do my daily walk with our pup Molly. Twice now I have passed a sweet young woman that walks towards me with a pronounced limp. Her left arm hangs by her side like dead wood and her leg is wrapped from her ankle to her knee. I am not sure whether she got into an accident or was she born that way, but seeing her struggle, while I am able to walk effortlessly past her has made me examine myself and HIS grace just for me. This morning I heard HIM say to me: see MY grace for you! And my tears came and I asked why? Why am I so fortunate? And in that moment HE humbled me.
You see, we all seem to think that with our self-effort and all our workings for the LORD will somehow get us into HIS good graces. But our self-effort falls flat when you study HIS grace in your life. Why does someone else carry more of a burden than I do? Why not me? We cannot understand GOD, but we can choose to trust HIS good that HE sustains us with.
And HIS grace for us is a holy gift.....a gift we are not to take lightly. My sweet Daddy used to say all the time when he would see someone with heath issues or a disability that "for the grace of GOD, there go I." Never before until today has that phrase of his meant so much to me. My Dad not only knew of GOD'S grace, but he realized how blessed he was every day to just be able to get out of bed, healthy and happy.
If you truly have accepted CHRIST as the LORD of your life then your devotion and love for HIM should not be a result of self-effort. It should come as natural as breathing for you. And the more time spent with HIM and in HIS word, you come to realize that your self-effort means nothing to HIM. HE says just to "believe" and to "trust". As our Heavenly Father, HE knows best and says "stop trying to do it all on your own.....your self-effort never works because then it is about you and not about ME." HIS grace is sufficient for us in all our circumstances.
With this clear picture now I ask HIM for forgiveness..... my self-effort in my life seems sinful, somehow dirty at best. And I turn to my GOD and reach for HIM, realizing that HE is the ONE who reaches down to me and when HE does, I praise HIM with a humbled heart filled with much thankfulness and love.
PSALM 103: 13-14 "As a father has compassion on his children, so the LORD has compassion on those who fear HIM; for HE knows how we are formed, HE remembers that we are dust."