J. Gordon Duncan

Culture, Business, Fitness, Etc.

Grace and Change

grace3Motivation for Gospel work unfortunately rises and falls for every Christian over the course of time.  Causes for such dips in enthusiasm range from unconfessed sin, blindness to pride, distance from the word, unresolved bitterness, disappointment, physical fatigue, and on and on.  Finding one’s way back to eagerness in the proclamation of Jesus Christ can appear so insurmountable that many never dare start the journey.  What remains is a platoon of mildly disinterested believers in Christ riddled with guilt and anger.

 

Every relationship for the child of God has at least two agenda points:  proclaiming the grace of Jesus and the power to change.  The call of the Great Commission is to proclaim the good news of Jesus Christ to hurting and dying world, and there is grace and forgiveness which is so badly needed for the hardened, sinful heart.  The relationship between sinful humanity and God can be repaired, so new grace and hope is the call of the Gospel.

 

The response of the call of grace is faith in God and is evidenced by repentance of sin and the walking in new life.  The unstoppable, pervasive power of the Gospel changes lives so that lies, lust, and every other manner of sin become truth, fidelity, and love.  These changes are not instantaneous, meaning every sin does not instantly turn into every possible obedience, but the conviction of sin and the power of the Holy Spirit to overcome them immediately reign in the heart of the believer.

 

Because of this, every relationship of the Christian should seek to display and proclaim grace and change.

 

Here is how those things can lead to the unfortunate fall of enthusiasm for the work of Christ.  Many who seek to proclaim grace and the power of change do so enthusiastically.  They themselves have seen Christ do great work in their own lives.  So massive amounts of time and effort are invested in people’s lives (this is a good thing) with the hope that others will find the grace of Jesus and the power to overcome sin real in their lives.  But so often, people abuse grace and don’t change.  No matter the time or effort, some people never change.  Then the Christian is left disillusioned, discouraged, and might even completely pull out of their relationships with others in need.

 

But the grace of Jesus and the power of God have not failed.  One has to remember that the truest agenda is God’s.  Yet believers still becomes discouraged or even hostile towards those that refuse to change because the believer so often does not know what to do.  Here is my advice:

 

The enthusiasm for Gospel work is solely for the glory of Christ.  If people do not change, grow no less enthused for the work of the Gospel or the work of Christ in their lives.  More times than not, our discouragement is because we have an agenda apart from Christ’s and we just flat out grow impatient.  Our call is to proclaim Christ and the power of God into people’s lives.  If that proclamation and call go unheard, that is not your worry.

 

We fight off the growing cynicism and bitterness of our heart when we work faithfully for the Kingdom knowing the result, the power therein, and the work are all Christ’s.  We are called to be faithful to that in which we have been called.  We are not called to chalk up totals on a scoreboard.

 

If we can’t enthusiastically love someone with the same fervor when they don’t change as we did when we hoped they would, then our personal agendas become exposed.  Find your agenda that is apart from God’s and then repent knowing you need the same grace and power to change that everyone else does as well.

This article also appears at the Raleigh Examiner. Click the link and help me earn a penny.

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November 12, 2009 - Posted by | Uncategorized | ,

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