Listen to this devotional:
Listen while you read: "The Little Brown Church In The Vale"1 (Lyrics)
James 4:7-8 – Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. (ESV)
When push comes to shove, I'd prefer a life without the growing of pearls around my grit. I'd just like the grit to be gone so that I can rest a while without looking for what is next.
My conscience is the place where there is nearly always a debate starting, wanting to drop in a little more grit. It tends to happen when I am driving, when I am waking up or going to sleep, or when my brain is just ticking over. I find myself being reminded of all my past embarrassments and failures, and I squirm a little whilst being momentarily distracted, reflecting on them. Figuratively, a driveway could be paved with all the grit that has passed through my life.
Why do we find ourselves sliding backwards now and again, in disregard of God's grace that has been given us to lift us up out of the mire in the first place? We listen to the revelation of the grit.
Why do we listen to the unscrupulous even for a moment, when we can abide and trust in the efficacy of Jesus' love and forgiveness that God provides daily?
In Jesus, God really, really does love us, as we reach out for Him to be our Saviour, for us to be accepted, cherished — yes, even me.
That is what the messiahship of Jesus is all about: reconnecting humanity with God.
In a fallen world, we can expect opposition from evil, whether or not we are intent in making a difference by snatching burning sticks from the fire of hell. Often, it will be when we are those who gossip the gospel, who are role models at work, who stand in the gap in prayer, or who are ministering His love for the innocent, elderly, and vulnerable. Be open to allowing God's Sonlight to overcome the darkness.
I have learnt over the decades that it is good to listen and obey the influences of God in my life. These can come through the Bible, other agencies of God, or just my thought processes and godly memories.
Reading the Bible, we get to recognize the nature of God and the good, in contrast to the unhelpful that tries to undo the good. It takes effort and determination, but we are not without a Helper. I have to speak into in the debate going on in my mind, whatever the origin: "Yep, you are absolutely right: guilty. I messed up big time …"
"… and God loves me!"
I have learned that God's love for us is even greater than our past errors. We need Jesus alongside us when at the end of the rope, or on the edge, as we invoke His name in authority over the negative influence for ourselves or for others, standing in the gap.
As we reach out to Jesus, by the presence of the Holy Spirit, He rushes in.
Prayer: Lord, the world would say, "Thanks, but no thanks," as they collect more grit and get weighed down. We say, "Jesus, have it all, every last speck." As we draw near to You, let Your light shine. Empower us today, so that we can run forward, sword in hand, with fireproof gloves, snatching sticks from the fire, and rejoicing in Your love for us all. In Jesus' name, we pray. Amen.