In our last blog, we talked about prayer as being a bridge to God’s heart. As we learn what it means to be personally revived by returning to the Lord, and being restored by His grace – one of the most important things to note is that Christianity is not only about myself, but about others. For instance, we are to be kind to one another (Ephesians 4:32), forgive one another (Colossians 3:13), and pray for one another (James 5:16)
The day continued to get darker; not only had Jesus struggled in prayer the entire evening, His enemies captured Him with weapons in the dead of night. Now with Christ under the arrest of the Romans, Peter had to come to grasps with the fact that His Lord had been detained and all the disciples had fled. Oh, how distant God must have seemed to Peter. What else should he have done but bring all his concerns to God in prayer?
While it was okay that Peter was following Jesus from afar on the night of His betrayal, it was a far cry from the “honey moon” type feelings he had for His Lord only hours before. Days previous, Peter said he would die for Jesus (Mark 14:31) and he demonstrated his commitment by cutting off the soldier’s ear who attempted to capture Him. (John 18:10) And while it was true Peter was physically walking from a distance from Jesus, we see that his "three times" denial of Christ demonstrated his heart was following from afar as well.
God’s grace will accompany us through our mental, physical, and spiritual lives. If we have filled our minds with junk, He can clean it out and fill it with the life giving power of His Word. If we find ourselves caught up in disobedience, He can help us to live in such a way that we always do the right thing with our only motive being His honor. And if we are having trouble walking in the path of purity, He can keep us aware that He is walking with us wherever we go.
While we don’t take a jar full of cookies, place them on the roof, and then tell our two year old they can have some if they can get one – apparently we live our lives as if God has taken His most precious riches, hidden them out of reach, and then asked us to get them so we can be free! While our faith is not necessarily effortless, it is neither tortuously difficult (1 John 5:3)
Everyday, grace can teach Christians how to act, what to believe, and how to serve. Required on our part is being teachable every day and always listening to God’s word so we can become more like Christ.
Grace is God’s undeserved favor working in people’s lives to save and redeem them. God asks nothing of the person He is helping through grace except faith; He simply asks us to recognize that we are sinners and that we need Christ Jesus as our Savior. (Ephesians 2:8-9) No further works like penance, rosary beads, or man made efforts are necessary.
Consider who our faithful, true Friend is so we do not become the spiritual adulterers James speaks of in James 4:4.When Jesus walked among the earth before His resurrection, He compared His love for us to a Jewish wedding, often
Watch your prayer life; observe the requests you have of God, why you are Him asking for it, and what items (if any) you are thanking Him for. The answers to these questions can help determine if you are desiring God’s heart, or have you become complacent. We can become complacent on spiritual matters because our focus is on our flesh’s goal; James tells us we can desire for things we cannot obtain. Perhaps we turn to God as a way to fulfill our fleshly wishes, but alas – “ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts.” (James 4:2-3)
While there is a place for larger ministries, Jesus often showed us that having a crowd was not as important to Him as selflessly serving individuals. While He was leaving Jericho, the multitude that had followed Him told a blind beggar not to shout out to Jesus “have mercy on me.” Instead of seeing blind Bartimaeus (Mark 10:46) as an impediment to His ministry, Jesus saw an individual to serve; Bartimaeus received His sight that day and became a Believer! What would have happened if Christ had decided to ignore believing Bartimaeus?