Grace For The Journey
It would be a great disadvantage to see the Bible only as a book designed to bring constant comfort to the soul. Don’t get me wrong, this is one of the things the Word of God does in the lives of all those who read Scripture through the eyes of faith. But the prophet Jeremiah declared that the Bible also strikes a blow like a holy hammer, breaking a rock in pieces. The Bible says in Jeremiah 23:29, “’Is not My word like a hammer that breaks a rock in pieces?’ declares the Lord.” What is that “rock”? It is your rock-heart, and my rock-hard heart, with all its self-righteousness and sinful pride.
The problem in far too many pulpits today is that the preacher is more concerned with pleasing man than he is with pleasing God.
Messages designed to tickle the ears and minister
To felt needs dominate the theological landscape.
But when the whole counsel of God is preached, it wields a holy hammer that begins breaking away pieces of our pride and self-righteousness, for the purpose of exposing more and more of the image of our Lord Jesus Christ.
There are many false prophets who preach “Peace, peace,” but God would have us know there is no peace for those whose eyes are fixed on self, rather than the Savior.
The natural man craves this false peace,
For his greatest goal in this life is to be happy.
But God desires so much more for His people!
God’s perfect plan for our imperfect lives is holiness, not happiness.
This is the path God intends for us to travel. And the pathway leading to holiness is not lined with peace, but rather, persecution.
There is a phrase I learned many years ago that I committed to memory and on many occasions remind myself of:
As a minister of the Good News of Jesus Christ,
God has called me to comfort the afflicted
And to afflict the comfortable.
The Christian life is not designed to be lived within a “safe space” of comfort,
or a comfort zone is not conducive to conformity to Christ.
The Bible’s blow is the believer’s blessing.
Comfort must be mixed with challenge; Peace must be mixed with pain.
On more than one occasion, the apostle Paul used the athletic metaphor to describe the life of a disciple of Christ. One of those metaphors is that of a runner, who will never reach the goal of winning a race without developing the discipline required to push past the pain and discomfort of training.
We are not called to comfort;
We are called to Christlikeness.
The Word of God is designed to train us up in the way we should go, and that way is marked by discipline and struggle as much as, if not more than, by rejoicing.
The Bible says in Hebrews 4:12-13, “For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of Him to whom we must give account.”
When was the last time the Scriptures caused you to be uncomfortable? When was the last time you felt the Bible’s blow, hammering away at your old sin nature within, penetrating to the essence of your soul and laying bare that which is displeasing in God’s sight?
Remember . . . Jesus promised that the truth would set you free. The truth of God’s Word is designed to change you . . . To turn your life inside-out and upside-down as God reshapes and redesigns His image in you.
This is God Word … This is Grace for your Journey …
Rest and Rejoice in this eternal truth!
Ephesians 4:7 – “But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it.”
Hebrews 4:16 – “Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”