Today we will continue our series entitled “God’s Grace & Our Faith.” For the past few days, we looked at John 1:14&17 and Galatians 5:6. I shared messages about how faith works by love. We will continue to flow in that same vein again today.
(John 1:14 NIV)
The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.
(John 1:17 NIV)
For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.
(Galatians 5:6 KJV)
For in Jesus Christ neither circumcision availeth anything, nor uncircumcision; but faith which worketh by love.
So what does this mean for you today? A few things:
1. God’s love keeps you in the space between the promise and the performance.
Every once in a while, God promises you something, and it shows up immediately. Those times are great. But for the most part, there is a space between the promise and the performance. In that space, the devil attempts to stir up problems. There is a space between the confession and the completion. In that space, the devil tries to stir up confusion. Anyone can get excited when you receive a Word from God. It’s easy to get fired up when you are in a church service or a conference, and the atmosphere is high, and you hear from God. But the challenge comes in the days, weeks, months, and sometimes years after you received that PROMISE! It is in this space that you must continue to believe God.
While you are “in the space” between the promise God gave you and the timing of His performance of it, you will inevitably do something wrong. Once you do, the devil will tell you that you have disqualified yourself. The devil will tell you that you “almost” had it, but you messed up and blew it. This is where the love of God comes in. When you are convinced that God loves you and that He will do what He said He would do because He loves you (and not because you are perfect), you will be able to resist the devil’s condemnation and continue to believe God for the manifestation of His promise.
2. Your focus needs to be on God and NOT you!
— You are human and flawed. God is divine and flawless.
— God gives you promises, and your job is to believe them and then live by faith long enough for God’s timing to come to pass, so you can receive them.
— Once you get past the initial shock of how BIG God’s promise was, and you remind yourself that faith works by love, so you OPEN your heart wide enough to believe what God believes about you, you then still have to remain in faith long enough to see it come to pass. You must add patience to your faith. It is through faith and patience that we inherit the promises of God (Hebrews 6:12).
— Since your humanity is flawed, you will invariably either make a mistake while you are waiting on God, which will lead to thoughts that you have disqualified yourself. Or, you will be trying so hard to work with God to make it happen, only to experience failure after failure, and you will feel like you will never be good enough. In both cases, the devil will use negative thoughts to try to get you to STOP believing God.
— If the devil can get you to feel like you have disqualified yourself, then you will stop believing God, and you run the risk of missing out on God’s best. The problem with the devil’s logic is that you never qualified in the first place. God called you by grace, not your performance. So how can you disqualify yourself from something that was never based on your qualifications? In this case, you have to get past your “feelings” of failure long enough to remind yourself that faith works by God’s endless love and unearned grace, not your performance. God is going to do it, not becuase you are good, but because He is!
— If the devil can get you to feel like you will never be good enough to do what God expects of you, then you will buckle under the pressure to perform. This is common because God calls us to do things that FAR exceed our power, ability, and strength. He gives us a picture, in our hearts, of what it is going to look like in the end. The Holy Spirit paints a picture of the end state, and the end looks like a great success. However, the Holy Spirit conveniently leaves out all the challenges, obstacles, and failures you must endure and overcome along the way.
God gave Joseph a dream. In the dream, his brothers and father were bowing down to him. That was the end state. But God did not show Joseph the pit phase, the Potiphar phase, or the prison phase he would have to endure before he got to the palace phase. God won’t show you those things because if He did, you would RUN the other way. What He does is show you the end of a thing. And as you go, you will have to overcome dumb things you did and attacks the devil brought. In both cases, you may feel like it is never going to happen, and you are just not good enough. This is where the love of God comes in. You must keep reminding yourself that God does what He does by grace and love, NOT your performance. God’s love is perfect, even when you are not. God’s love never fails, even though you will fail more times than you want to remember. Faith works by love. So if you keep your eyes and heart set on God’s love, your faith will be strong. If you keep it focused on your performance, your faith will be shaky at best becuase you are not that good. Get over yourself. Rest in God’s love. God did not bring you this far to fail!
3. God is in the business of using imperfect people.
a) Abraham was not perfect, but God used him anyway.
Abraham made many mistakes while he was attempting to walk with God. He lied about his wife being his sister. His son Isaac made the same lie. Abraham got tired of waiting on God for the promised child, so after 13 years, he slept with his servant and had a son. This caused a rift between his wife and his servant. He wound up kicking the boy and his mother out of the family. That boy, Ishmael, went on to become the father of Islam. The promised child, who was born 12 years later, Isaac, went on to extend the bloodline that would lead to the Israelites.
Abraham was imperfect. However, when he is mentioned in the New Testament, none of his flaws are brought up. This is how it is with God. Just like you brag about your children, and you don’t publicly bring up their shortcomings, God does the same with you as his son/daughter. God loves you so much that He looks past your flaws and uses you anyway. He knew all the mistakes you were going to make, and He called you to His purpose anyway. That, my friends, is called GRACE!
b) David was not perfect.
David was flawed. He made mistakes. After going through all that he went through to inherit God’s promise and become the King of Israel, David got too comfortable in his assignment. During the time when he was supposed to go out with His army, he stayed home. Since he was out of place, he messed up. David committed adultery. He got a married woman pregnant. If that were not bad enough, he then had the woman’s husband killed.
God later sent a prophet to expose David’s sin. David was crushed. He thought he had derailed himself from his destiny becuase his eyes were ON HIM and what he did. But God had to minister to him and remind him that He was still in HIS HANDS. David repented of his sin, he allowed God to wash the guilt, shame, and condemnation off of him and his confidence in God was restored.
In the New Testament, when David is mentioned, God honors him. Not because of his sin and not because he later did everything. But simply because of God’s love and grace. Remember, He is not looking to use you because you are so good, He is looking to use you because He is so good.
c) Peter was not perfect. He always spoke out of turn and he denied God three times. I could give you many examples from Peter and the lives of others. But I believe I have made my point. God is in the business of making holy garments from flawed material. So please don’t think God can’t or won’t use you!
4. God’s love takes the focus and pressure off of you.
I keep saying this because the Lord wants you to get this down in your heart. God wants to bless you because He loves you, not because you are perfect. Not because you earned it. Not because you deserve it. When you settle the issue of God’s love in your heart, you will be able to take the focus off of you, your ability, and your performance, and then shift your focus to God, His ability, and His performance. Once the burden is off of you, you are able to freely receive everything God wants to do in your life. Because you know He loves you, and He wants to bless you richly by His unearned grace. If you ever get to this point, your faith will be strong. Faith works by love. You will have the faith to access God’s grace because you are convinced that God loves you, and you know you don’t have to be perfect to be blessed!
I have more to say about this, but I will stop here for today.
Declaration of Faith:
Father, I thank You for teaching me about Your love and grace. I am learning to take the pressure OFF of me. From this day forward, I will keep my eyes and my heart fixed and focused on YOU, and Your finished work in my life. My life is no longer about me, my selfish desires, or my flawed performance. You looked past my faults, flaws, and failures, and You called me by Your grace. I accept the call. I know my calling is calling me and I shall answer the call by faith. No matter how long it takes, no matter how big the space is between the promise and the performance, I will never give up, cave in, or quit. I keep believing because my confidence is not in me. Even when I mess up and the devil tells me that I have disqualified myself, I tell the devil that I cannot be disqualified from what Jesus qualified me for. My faith works because I am convinced You love me! And since I meditate on Your love every day, I know GREATER IS COMING FOR ME! I declare this by faith. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
This is Today’s Word! Apply it and Prosper.