Eph. 3:7 I became a servant of this gospel by the gift of God’s grace given me by the effective working of His power.”
I recently received a response from a person that happened to come across my Fresh Manna blog. He read what I had written about the love of Jesus Christ and responded in very negative way – in a way that I could not reprint here. He evidently had been raised in a Christian home but became hurt and discouraged and eventually very down on Christianity. I responded to him in this way:
Dear ____, You are loved of God and Jesus paid for my sins and yours. He still loves you and wants to draw you back to Him. I know deep down that though you may have been confused and disappointed somewhere about the Lord–maybe even hurt by Christians. Jesus didn’t hurt you. I just want you to know that I am not mad about what you said. I do not judge you. I love you in the Lord and I’ll pray for you. God bless you sincerely! Pastor Tim
I am thankful to the Lord that my response touched his heart. He sent back a letter of apology and explanation of why he initially responded the way he did. I was right. He had been hurt along the way and felt that he was a disappointment to God and didn’t measure up–that he’d never be good enough. He made this statement: “I don’t think I have what it takes to be a Christian.”
I am sure that there are many people who feel this way. It’s this very feeling that makes Christianity and what Jesus did such a powerful gift. We could never measure up; not one of us. The person that thinks he is good enough and lives so purely that he could earn his way into Heaven by being good enough–this person is steeped in self-righteousness and pride. The Bible says that not one of us could enter into His glory (into Heaven and His presence) on our own merit. We are to try to live our best before Him and seek the Lord’s help daily. But it is called a gift of salvation because that is what it is a gift! We can’t pay for it or earn it. Jesus paid for it and He is the one who made it a gift!
That leads me to the point I want to make today. This man said, “I don’t think I have what it takes to be a Christian.” The first and most important thing it takes to be a Christian is belief. What you believe affects everything in your life. Proverbs 23:7 says, “For as a man thinks in his heart, so is he…” What you think and what you believe about yourself and about what God has done in you will affect how you perceive others, how you love others, and how you will live out your life.
I knew that in my life, I had tried to make things work out my way. Do you remember times where people said, “If you believe it will come true, it will.” That’s been most often said to help people believe in themselves; that they can accomplish their dreams. There is partial truth only in that idea. Each of us has faced our own limitations that creates disappointment within us. Belief in yourself will only take you so far. Jesus offered us more than that.
When Jesus offered us Himself, He also offered us His Holy Spirit. When you receive Jesus you receive His Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is the power of God working in you. Now that is something to believe in! It means you are not limited to personal change and accomplishment in your own strength. It means you can “believe” in the power of God at work in you. Today’s Fresh Manna says, “Eph. 3:7 I became a servant of this gospel by the gift of God’s grace given me by the effective working of His power.”
What is Paul saying here? That it was the grace of God – God’s willingness to forgive and give him eternal life through Jesus Christ that allowed the Holy Spirit to come into his life. That is the grace of God. He goes on to say that this grace has “effective working power.”
Now when you believe this about yourself – that you have God’s effectual power working within you, then you will stop thinking, “I don’t have what it takes to be a Christian.” You’ll believe that Jesus made you worthy by His doing not yours. And then you can put your faith – not in yourself but in the power of the Holy Spirit living and working within you! You will have His effectual working power within you!
When you believe that and begin to think like that, that’s how you will be! Over time it will happen. You do have what it takes to change, to succeed, and to be more and more Christ-like over time. You have God’s effectual working power within you. Only believe!
Proverbs 23:7 says, “For as a man thinks in his heart, so is he…”
In His Love,
Pastor Tim Burt
Published by Pastor Tim Burt
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