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Devotional: His Grace is Sufficient

His Grace is Sufficient Devo Pic

 

His Grace is Sufficient

The beginning of the new year is the perfect time for a resolution. We are presented with a fresh start as we enter into a year, untarnished by the stain and toil of years prior. People resolve to exercise, eat healthy, read more, spend more time with family, the list goes on. I would suppose that most of you reading this have some of your own new year’s resolutions you are working towards. In and of themselves, these resolutions are good. There is nothing wrong with actively working towards eating a healthier diet or being more intentional about spending time with our families. But as I have been faced with my own list of resolutions, I have found myself questioning the motivation behind these goals I have set for myself in 2022.

To provide you with some insight, one of the items on my resolution list is to establish a regular exercise routine this year. My favorite form of exercise is trail running. At times in the past, I have done it regularly, but within the past year and a half, I have found myself on the trails very little as my struggle with motivation and consistency has won out. As I was thinking over this resolution, I thought about ways that I could keep myself motivated to walk/run regularly. I decided that if I scoped out a 5k towards the end of the year and signed up now, it would hold me accountable to ensure that I was exercising to be able to complete it. Thinking through all of this led me to contemplate why I wanted to exercise more this year – what was the reason behind my desire to get fit? Was it something I was doing to glorify God? I argued that my body is a temple and that it is my responsibility to be a good steward of it; therefore, establishing an exercise routine is honoring the Lord. But in my heart, I knew that wasn’t the real reason. I wanted to do this for me – I want to feel in control of my health and exercising to get fit gives me the illusion of having that control. I want to feel better about my outward appearance and losing weight through exercise seems like it would help. I want to do this because I am trying desperately to find some way of satisfying myself apart from God.  

In his sermon on Sunday, Pastor Barry spoke about the letter from the Apostle Paul to the church in Corinth. He points out that in the beginning of his letter, Paul mentions letters of recommendation and how during this time, these were a necessity because there were so many false teachers and apostles claiming to be teachers of the word of God. A letter of recommendation ensured that a person was a legitimate teacher. Pastor Barry went on to explain that Paul’s legitimacy was brought into question by the church in Corinth when they falsely accused him of not being an apostle. We might assume that Paul’s response would be to defend his title – after all, he was a legitimate teacher and had gone to great lengths to share the gospel far and wide. But as Pastor Barry pointed out, Paul’s response does not focus on himself – he points the Corinthian church to Christ. In 2 Corinthians 3:4-6, Paul writes – “Such is the confidence that we have through Christ toward God. Not that we are sufficient in ourselves to claim anything as coming from us, but our sufficiency is from God, who has made us sufficient to be ministers of a new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit. For the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.” (ESV) Paul was not concerned with defending himself because Paul’s identity was not dependent upon his own glory – Paul’s identity rested in Christ, and we see that in his response. Paul is wholly dependent upon the Lord for his sufficiency and has the assurance that he IS sufficient; he does not need to defend himself because the Lord is his defense, and it is He who calls Paul worthy.  

My desire to gain control and to feel better about my physical appearance through exercising more is a symptom of the struggle within my heart – I am utterly resistant to resting in the sufficiency of Christ. I have been offered the grace of God and in my response, I said, “That’s not enough,” all the while, seeking my own path to righteousness. This path leads to death. No matter how hard I try to convince myself that I am in control, I never will be. And no matter how I change my physical appearance, that will never satisfy my heart. But praise be to God that the grace He offers is far greater than my sinfulness.  And in His grace, He pursues me, convicting me of my desire for myself and pointing me towards the grace and sufficiency that we have in Christ.

I believe that I have and will continue to struggle with the motivation regarding my new year’s resolutions. My desire for myself runs deep and has won out more often than not. But I am so very thankful to the Lord for making me aware of my desire to put myself above Him. Because of this awareness, I am able to seek the Lord in prayer, asking Him to guard my heart against the desires of my flesh while giving me a renewed desire for Him! This year, as we plan for 2022, join me in seeking the Lord to help discern whether our resolutions are focused on us, or focused on the Lord. And take heart, brothers and sisters, that no matter where our motivation lies, we have nothing to fear through seeking Him because His grace is sufficient and we have been made sufficient through Christ.