1 Corinthians 15:10 But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace to me has not been in vain. In fact, I worked harder than all of them â€“ yet not I, but the grace of God with me.
Blackaby started today’s study with a strange verse. Is it God that molds us? Or is it the works that we do? Interesting.
Philippians 2:12-13 So then, my dear friends, just as you have always obeyed, not only in my presence but even more in my absence, continue working out your salvation with awe and reverence,ï»¿ for the one bringing forth in you both the desire and the effort â€“ for the sake of his good pleasure â€“ is God.
Paul says that it is God, who gives us the desire to put forth the effort to become the man that he wants. The more I study, the more I realize how far down the list of things important that I have put the “expressions” of my faith, the works. I’m beginning to get a rudimentary understanding of how this maturity in the faith is supposed to work.
It isn’t an adversarial relationship, grace vs. works. It is by grace that our works refine us. In Phi 2:12 above, Paul says to continue to work out. How many people go to a gym but not Bible Study? How many people will swim laps but won’t go to the nursing home to hold an elderly person’s hand? How many people will train to run a marathon but refuse to open their homes or pocketbooks to a stranger?
Blackaby has a quick discussion about integrity and the price at which we give it away sometimes. A little thing here, a little thing there, no one will notice. No one. Except you. And God.
Hebrews 4:13 And no creature is hidden from God,ï»¿ï»¿ but everything is naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must render an account.
Nothing is hidden from either God or your inner self. That is what leads to such self-destructive behavior. We know the “real” us. If we cannot open ourselves up to God, why do we think he will reveal more of Himself to us?
He ends the day with Isaiah 59: 1-4.
Look, the Lord’s hand is not too weakï»¿ï»¿ to deliver you;
his ear is not too deaf to hear you.ï»¿ï»¿
But your sinful acts have alienated you from your God;
your sins have caused him to reject you and not listen to your prayers.ï»¿
For your hands are stained with blood
and your fingers with sin;
your lips speak lies,
your tongue utters malicious words.
No one is concerned about justice;ï»¿
no one sets forth his case truthfully.
They depend on false wordsï»¿ and tell lies;
they conceive of oppressionï»¿6ï»¿
and give birth to sin.
Isaiah could have lived in 2008.
Blackaby closes the study with an agree/disagree statement:
Not doing the right thing is as wrong as doing the wrong thing.
Stated another way, is a sin of “omission ” as wrong as a sin of “commission? Yes, indeed. This one is very, very hard for me. Too often I look the other way because I don’t want to cause trouble.
As I sit here typing this tonight, there is a young man in jail in Jena, Louisiana because of the color of his skin. There are five more young black males facing trumped up charges because they of the color of their skin. What am I doing about it?
My prayer is that I continue to learn what God wants from me, not what I think other people expect from me. And that I not only apply that which God teaches me, but that God teaches me through application. A paradox.
Isaiah 1:15-20 When you spread out your hands in prayer,
I look the other way;ï»¿
when you offer your many prayers,
I do not listen,
because your hands are covered with blood.ï»¿
Wash! Cleanse yourselves!
Remove your sinful deedsï»¿
from my sight.
Learn to do what is right!
Give the oppressed reason to celebrate!ï»¿
Take up the cause of the orphan!
Defend the rights of the widow!ï»¿
Come, let’s consider your options,”ï»¿ says the Lord.
“Though your sins have stained you like the color red,
you can becomeï»¿ white like snow;
though they are as easy to see as the color scarlet,
you can becomeï»¿ï»¿ white like wool.ï»¿
If you have a willing attitude and obey,ï»¿
then you will again eat the good crops of the land.
But if you refuse and rebel,
you will be devouredï»¿ by the sword.”
Know for certain that the Lord has spoken.ï»¿