I try to start my days in quiet time with God, using the stop, look, listen, respond format taught to me by my Navigators coach, Bill Mowry. I explain this way of spending time with God and listening to His Word here.
On one recent morning, I spent time hearing what God had to tell me in Ephesians 2:6-10. Below, nearly verbatim, is what I journaled on the passage. I hope that it helps you as much as it helped me. On this particular morning, I felt drawn to use the English Standard Version (ESV) translation of the Bible.
Look: God raised up all who trust in Jesus and "seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus." (Ephesians 2:6-7)
This blows me away! God showed us grace and kindness in Christ, we're told, so that He can show us more of His grace and kindness, given in Christ, "in the coming ages."
We who are saved by grace through faith in Christ, have an eternity of grace and favor yet to experience, not because of our good works (Ephesians 2:9)--so bragging is out--but because of our grace-showering God!
What is there left for us to do--if we don't have to work to prove ourselves and can't brag about our status as children of God, which is God's gift to us for trusting God's grace and kindness in forgiving and making us new through Christ?
Just this: To walk in the new life and the good works that Christ has created for us to do. He even has those all planned out. All we do is "walk in them" by following Him. (Ephesians 2:9-10)
Listen: This is what I sensed God telling me, individually.
"No more performance stuff, Mark! Your performances always come up shy when you depend on yourself.
"And no more taking My grace for granted. You always veer off into sin and away from Me when you do that. Focus on Me. I saved you. I'm saving you. You can't do one thing to make yourself save-able, salvageable. You're only save-worthy by the mercies of My grace given to those who turn from sin and trust in My Son Jesus.
"Put down your dukes. Repent--truly repent--for your sins. Let Me love you. Let Me direct you. Follow Me and I will shower you with grace and kindness. And you'll know that grace and kindness whatever the world may think of you, no matter how fat or slim your wallet may be, no matter how healthy or unhealthy you get to be. And if you keep following Me, you'll know that grace and kindness in greater and greater measure in eternally."
Respond: What can I say, Lord, except today, help me to dare to follow You. In Jesus' name I pray. Amen
[Blogger Mark Daniels is the pastor of Living Water Lutheran Church, Centerville, Ohio.]