God gives

May 25, 2018

1Timothy 1:12-14…I thank Him who has given me strength, Jesus Christ our Lord, because he judged me faithful, appointing me to his service, though I formerly was a blasphemer, persecutor, and insolent opponent. But, I received mercy because I acted ignorantly in unbelief, and the grace of God overflowed for me with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus.

            Here, Paul gives the real reason he is an apostle. It is because of the mercy of God. We might hope to find something in his character that made him qualified but there was nothing in him; it was the love and grace of God, through Jesus Christ. Paul is not unique. We are all brought into his service by the grace of God and not by our accomplishments. Paul is an example for all of us.  One might say, “If God saved Paul, He can surely save me.” And that is the truth. Paul was murdering Christians for being disrespectful of God. God looked past his actions, into his heart. That is how important the condition of our heart is. We have a tendency to put attention on our actions as reason to be a servant of God; God looks past our actions and knows our hearts. Even your very best actions are but filthy rags in God’s sight, if they reveal a divided heart.

            On any given day, my faith-filled actions might be an interruption to my evil heart attitude. On the same day someone’s evil actions might be an interruption to one’s faithful heart attitude. All we see is the action so we judge accordingly. God does not judge according to actions; but, if our actions represent our heart attitude it might appear that God judges according to actions. He judges our hearts and sometimes our hearts are shown in our actions.  We can’t rely on our actions. Those will vary. We rely on God, in whom there is no variation or shadow of turning. (James 1:17)

            Feed your heart. For a heart to be healthy, it must be nourished. Feast on God’s word and pray for His direction in every circumstance.  Trust in Him, not in your faithfulness. He blesses us with His wisdom and favor. You need it and can’t earn it. It is a gift… just liked it was for Paul. God’s grace overflows for us with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. Even our faith is from Him. We try to claim something of value from us, but it doesn’t happen that way.