Imagine that you are an apprentice in a certain field, and the industry’s expert has offered to train you in all he or she knows about this particular field. You immediately say, oh that sounds wonderful but there is no way I could ever afford such training. But the expert insists that this training is free to you if you agree to commit yourself to him or her and do exactly as your taught. Would it be foolish to pass up such an offer?
Christians do this every day. We have at our disposal God’s divine grace to teach us daily how to live our lives for Him. Through the indwelling Holy Spirit we are given complete access to the Divine Teacher. Through God’s holy Word we are given the instruction manual on exactly how we are to live this Christian life. And yet we either ignore or neglect both.
Oh but Brother Dave, there must be some mistake. While yes I may at times neglect to read my Bible I can tell you that knowing how to live this Christian life is my greatest challenge. I just haven’t got to that level of spirituality yet. The Apostle Peter would have something to say to that way of thinking:
“Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord, as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue, by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.” (2 Peter 1:2-4)
If you or I are missing on this wonderful gift of grace from our Lord Jesus Christ, then what is it that is making us miss these glorious riches? Simply, it is our disobedience that deflects God’s grace from enriching our lives. We do not hold up our end of the bargain:
“For the Lord God is a sun and shield; the Lord will give grace and glory; no good thing will He withhold from those who walk uprightly. O Lord of hosts, blessed is the man who trusts in You!” (Psalm 84:11-12)
If I feel as though God is withholding His grace from me, then I must search my heart for sin. Often times it is the sin of apprehension, meaning I allow my doubts to overtake my faith and I end up trusting in my own strength and forsaking that of Jesus. When I find myself in this self-perpetuated situation, I must hurriedly return to the Lord through repentance.
“Let us know, let us pursue the knowledge of the Lord. His going forth is established as the morning; He will come to us like the rain, like the latter and former rain to the earth.” (Hosea 6:3)
There are fewer things more pathetic than the Christian who lives like a spiritual pauper when all the while he or she has always had heaven’s riches at their disposal. Oswald Chambers describes it as the habit of wealth:
It is ungovernably bad taste to talk about money in the natural domain, and so it is spiritually, and yet we talk as if our Heavenly Father had cut us off with a shilling! We think it a sign of real modesty to say at the end of a day – “Oh, well, I have just got through, but it has been a severe tussle.” And all the Almighty God is ours in the Lord Jesus! And He will tax the last grain of sand and the remotest star to bless us if we will obey Him. What does it matter if external circumstances are hard? Why should they not be! If we give way to self-pity and indulge in the luxury of misery, we banish God’s riches from our own lives and hinder others from entering into His provision. No sin is worse than the sin of self-pity, because it obliterates God and puts self-interest upon the throne.
Instead of living habitually wealthy spiritual lives, we banish God’s riches through our delinquency and disobedience to learning and obeying God’s Word. We prefer to stay spiritual apprentices and avoid growing into Christian perfection, that is completeness, because we are unwilling to let go of this world.
Outside of Jesus Christ, no one worked harder for the kingdom of God than the Apostle Paul. Admitting that he was the least of the apostles, Paul worked harder to allow God’s grace to abundantly enrich his life and the lives of those with whom he came in contact. Paul wrote to the Corinthian church:
“For I am the least of the apostles, who am not worthy to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me was not in vain; but I labored more abundantly than they all, yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me.” (1 Corinthians 15:9-10)
If God’s grace is in vain in my life, it is because of the scarcity of my labor. I’m a spiritual sloth, too lazy to feed upon the Bread of Life and allow God’s riches to pour into my life.
Is there anything more pathetic than that?
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Copyright © 2013 David Jeffers