One of the devotions I read this week by David Platt said, “Ask the Lord to give you the grace to follow Him in faith and in glad obedience.”
Grace – The free and unmerited favor of God, as manifested in the salvation of sinners and the bestowal of blessings.” A divinely given talent or blessing.
Following God on my own in faith and obedience is hard. Not just hard but impossible. I will follow for awhile but eventually I will fail, I will fall. So often for me, that is the problem. I try to do it on my own power. This says, ask the Lord to give you the grace to follow. And grace says a divine given talent or blessing. Meaning it comes from the power of God, not my power. My power will fail.
With His power we will have the endurance that Paul talks about. The endurance of someone running a race. I have a friend, Candy, who runs 50 and 100 mile races. She does Iron Man competitions. I am amazed by her endurance to do these things. To push herself to those extremes. I have run a couple of 5K’s and I know the endurance it took for me just to complete those, but those are nothing compared to a 50 or 100 mile race.
Me running a 5K can compare to me trying to follow and be obedient to Christ on my own. I can do it for a little bit. I can push myself. But me following Christ for a life time is what it would be like for me to run a 100 mile race. I can not do it on my own strength. I need a divine intervention to complete it.
I think as Christians we feel like failures in saying that, I do anyway. Saying I don’t have the will power or desire to constantly follow you on my own. It feels like letting Him down. But isn’t that what God wants? He wants me to depend on his strength and not my own.
My thoughts on endurance are beginning to change. For so long I felt like endurance in my Christian walk was just for the hard times, the times of loss, of despair, of fear, and doubt, when I could not go alone. Just for the 5Ks.
I am beginning to see that endurance is also for the daily walk. Those small things. Like tonight in CR I caught myself judging someone. Then God stopped me and said you have no idea what this person is going through. So instead of judging I prayed God let me give this person a genuine smile, a sincere, heart felt, I am glad you are here. At work, I am kind of first point of contact. There are days I don’t feel like talking or smiling, but maybe that is what the person walking in the door needs. There are times when Brett and I both feel we are right about something, some days being right isn’t the most important thing. Instead of being frustrated, showing patience. A kind word in place of a curt answer. An encouraging word instead of a negative response.
When you can’t say another nice word, or give another smile, listen to another story, hold your tongue, CYF, on your own power. When you ask the Lord to give you the grace to follow Him in faith and in glad obedience. That’s the 100 mile endurance.
God, like Paul let me run the race with endurance that comes from you.