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Thursday, October 11, 2018

Five Ways to Relax in God’s Grace

In review of Hebrews 12:15a it says, ”Be careful that no one fails to receive God’s grace” (NCV).

Today’s verse is from Hebrews 12:14-17, where Paul tells me to work toward living in peace with everyone, and work toward living a holy life (a life set apart for His use), for those who are not holy will not see the Lord. I am to look after others so that no one fails to receive the grace of God. Watch out that no poisonous root of bitterness grows up to trouble me, corrupting many. Make sure that no one is immoral or godless like Esau, who traded his birthright as the firstborn son for a single meal. Afterward, when he wanted his father's blessing, he was rejected. It was too late for repentance, even though he begged with bitter tears.

Unconfessed sin in my life will always block my vision of God; so if I want to see God, I must abandon sin and obey him. Holiness on my part will always be coupled with living in peace. And a right relationship with God leads to a right relationship with others. Although I may not always feel loving toward others, I must pursue peace as I work toward becoming more Christlike.

Like a small root that grows into a great tree, bitterness can spring up in my heart and overshadow even my deepest relationships. A "poisonous root of bitterness" comes when I allow disappointment to grow into resentment, or when I nurse grudges over past hurts. Unfortunately bitterness brings with it jealousy, dissension, and immorality. When I allow the Holy Spirit to fill me, he can help heal the hurt that causes bitterness.

Esau's story reminds me how mistakes and sins sometimes have lasting consequences. Even repentance and forgiveness will not always eliminate sin's consequences. I need to consider how often I make decisions based on what I want now, rather than on what I need in the long run? I need to learn to evaluate the long-range effects of my decisions and actions.

To help myself learn how to relax in the liberating grace of God, I can, “R.E.L.A.X”:

R—Realize nobody’s perfect. Psalm 119:96 is a verse directed toward God, and it declares, “Nothing is perfect except your words” (TLB). What society tells me isn’t perfect. What popular opinion tells me isn’t perfect. What I learned growing up isn’t perfect. But God’s Word is perfect. When I get in the Bible and build my life on it, I will have a perfect foundation to build from.

E—Enjoy God’s unconditional love. The Bible says, “See how very much our heavenly Father loves us, for he allows us to be called his children—think of it—and we really are!” (1 John 3:1 TLB) When I become a follower of Christ, I’m not just a servant of God anymore. I’m a child of the King. A servant is accepted on the basis of what they do; a child is accepted on the basis of who he is. A servant starts the day anxious and worried that their work will please their master; a child rests in the secure love of their family. A servant is accepted because of their workmanship; a child is accepted because of their relationship.

L—Let God handle things. What do I do about the uncontrollable things in life? “Cast all your anxiety on [God] because he cares for you” (1 Peter 5:7 NIV). When fishing and casting a line, there comes a point where I have to take my finger off the button and let it go. Just like the essence of casting is letting go, to overcome perfectionism I have to let go and let God do his work.

A—Act in faith, not fear. Remember how I got into God’s family in the first place. Ephesians 2:8 says, “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith.There’s no other way to get into heaven except by grace. I’ll never be good enough, and I can’t buy my way in. It’s a free gift from God.

X—Exchange my perfectionism for God’s peace. Perfectionism destroys peace. Jesus says in Matthew 11:28-29, “Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest . . . Learn the unforced rhythms of grace” (The Message). What a deal!

I need to realize that I’m going to fail a lot in life. But I don’t have to worry about it if I’ve received God’s grace. In fact, there’s only one failure I ever need to worry about: “Be careful that no one fails to receive God’s grace” (Hebrews 12:15 NCV). Receive it right now, and then relax!

Bottom Line:
Make sure that no one misses out on God’s wonderful kindness and grace.

What this means to me:
I am to look after others so that not one will fail to find God’s best blessings and grace.

In summary, work toward living in peace with everyone and living a life that is set apart for His use. I need to look after others, so that they don't fail to receive God's grace as well. Be careful that bitterness doesn't take root. Be careful on making decisions for the short term, consider the long term effect. Unconfessed sin will block my view of God  Having a right relationship with God will lead to having right relationships with others. In order to relax in God's grace; realize that nobody's perfect, God's love is unconditional, let go and let God do his work, act in faith and not fear, and exchange my perfectionism for God's peace. I will fail a lot, but because of God grace I don't have to worry. My goal should be to help others receive God's grace as well.

Today Father you have reminded me that I should be working toward living in peace with everyone. Don’t let bitterness take root. Make decisions based in the long term. Just relax in you grace, and learn to help others receive this same grace in their lives. This morning I pray Father that you help remind me in my interactions that I do and say should be couched in the grace you give me. Give me the wisdom and guidance I need to lead my team, participate in helping to accomplish goals and to relate in a loving, kind and helpful manner to others. These things I pray in Jesus name, Amen!

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