"...and to the word of his grace which can build you up..."
Thoughts for Today:Understanding and accepting the blessing of God's grace: that's what can build us up -- not the things we do. In his letter to the Ephesians, Paul spends the first two chapters writing about all the things God has done for us (how we are blessed spiritually, and that by our belief and faith in and through Christ we have been both adopted and sanctified); then in chapter three, he goes on to explain how God affected and motivated his own actions ("For this reason I..."); and finally, in chapters four through six he describes how we as believers should behave based on all the foregoing. The beginning point is always what God did for us -- His grace, not our work.
My sister Susan related a witnessing experience she had while shopping. A woman confined to a wheelchair caught her eye and approached her. As they chatted, Susan was overcome with the Holy Spirit and became certain that she was supposed to witness to this woman about Jesus. After a bit of discomfort and internal debate, Susan finally asked her, "Do you know Jesus?" What followed was the Lord's hand at work. The woman answered, "I've been thinking a lot about the Bible recently and going to church, but before I do, I need help cleaning up some things in my own life first." How familiar is that statement? It is such a common misconception that a beginning point in our relationship with the Lord is based upon the work of scrubbing ourselves clean first -- as if that could ever be possible.
Questions to Ponder:A woman confined to a wheelchair, whose body has been ravaged for years by cancer and the effects of chemotherapy needed to hear that all she had to do was earnestly seek the Lord -- He has done the rest. The "word of His grace which can build us up" that Paul talks about is really very simple: All the work that will ever be needed has already been completed on the cross by Jesus. As a result through His love and sacrifice, and our belief and faith, we have been forgiven. We don't do anything to build ourselves up first -- we only need to accept the unwarranted gift of God's love and grace. How do you think the woman responded? My response is pure joy. What's yours? Who do you know that needs to hear this truth? Share it with them today!