‘Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of such things God’s wrath comes on those who are disobedient. Therefore do not be partners with them.’ (vv6–7) Ephesians 5:3–13
The Bible sets high standards (vv3–4). I’ve spoken empty words far too often. Knowing where my mind has taken me, and where I’ve let myself down under peer pressure and personal preference, it is grace alone on which I remain totally dependent.
It is impossible to live the Christian life by force of will. To do so is to draw on my own strength, the very opposite of what Jesus instructs us to do in trusting Him (Mark 5:36). Christianity is not an outward mask, but an inner conviction. Yes, it can and will produce changes, but it also invites us to become aware of our corruption (1 Cor. 15:42–44).
Sanctification is a painful process. As I draw nearer to God, I become increasingly aware of my mortal corruption. With the best will in the world, I cannot please God but can accept His generous gift of grace, acceptance and salvation.
Then I choose the degree to which I want to develop that friendship with God. In the myriad opportunities that life affords, where will I invest my time and energy? I only began heavily investing in God from my mid-forties. Up to then, although a Christian in ministry, I played far too fast and loose with God’s kindness.
Now I am conscious of how ‘the things of earth’ grow ‘strangely dim in the light of [God’s] glory and grace’. A song I sang so often as a young Christian is now my heart’s deep desire, and my life’s refrain.
SCRIPTURE TO CONSIDER: Gen. 50:15–26; Ezek. 36:33–38; Matt. 10:26–33; Eph. 4:1–16.
AN ACTION TO TAKE: When we fail, it’s an opportunity to return to God’s grace to request and receive God’s forgiveness. Do you want to live by and grow in God’s grace?
A PRAYER TO MAKE: ‘Lord, when I’m weary and troubled and can see no light in the darkness, may I embrace Your grace. Amen.’
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