As we grow up we get conflicting advice about ourselves, some say we should focus on our weaknesses and improve them, others would say we should focus on our strengths and enhance them. Culturally, we might tend towards one or the other. But I guess, after some hard knocks and small successes, I’ve found that we need to keep an eye on both but with appropriate emphasis.
For me, we need to focus on our strengths and not ignore our weaknesses. Notice, the emphasis. The overarching theme of Grace penetrates both aspects from a Christian point of view. As grace is not just relevant for us to start our walk with God, it’s also relevant throughout the whole journey with all it’s highs and lows, mundane and miraculous.
God works in our strengths, gifts, and uniqueness. God is also working on our weaknesses, inadequacies and sinfulness. It’s a TOTAL package. He loves us as we are, and he loves us so much that he won’t allow us to remain as we are … there’s room for growth! 🙂 Acceptance by grace is then married with living by grace and growing in grace …
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How often have you heard of someone struggling to find out or decide the exact direction for their life? How often are we in the same boat? Of course, most of the time, the struggle is more on details which God has given us much freedom to decide within the framework of our passion, faith and wisdom drawn from God and others.
But the challenge remains because while we are trying to avoid making mistakes, or wanting to make the best choice, we do so in isolation from the clear direction in which God calls us to follow laid our in the Scriptures. The psalmist talks about God directing our footsteps …yes, it involves being good people – if we define good as people who reflect God’s goodness and not just being socially moral people according to cultural norms. And he does so within a framework of faith in him – i.e. trust and risk, as well as obedience to him in the simple things in life – the basics, think 10 commandments.
That’s why I think Martin Luther is right to say for every newly baptized person they need to have at least three points to keep that faith framework always in our view – I already mentioned the 10 commandments – the law of love of God and neighbor, The Apostle’s Creed draws us again to go back to the Creator who created us uniquely and with purpose, the Redeemer – Jesus – who has not only modeled what it means to be God’s children, but he in face sets us fear from the powers of sin, death and the devil … whenever we forget that, we need to return to this truths again and again, and let’s not forget the life-giver the Holy Spirit – who’s lives and moves in us in our daily understanding of God’s way and God’s will applied to the specifics of our lives. This whole process is very dynamic. Thus, the 7 petitions of the Lord’s prayer keeps us anchored in a living relationship with God – with it’s walking, running, waiting and wresltling – and deeply connected with the realities of every day life.
It’s more than these three starting points, and points of reference of course, but they are crucial even before we begin asking for the details. MY guess is as we are so rooted in the law of love, the gracious acts of God in our lives and the ongoing obedient responses to him, we will have the maturity to walk rightly with no fear!
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These Harmonics vibrated from August 18 – August 19, 2008