Do not be led astray by diverse and strange teachings, for it is good for the heart to be strengthened by grace… Hebrews 13:9
My last devotion was about not missing the grace of God because a root of bitterness springs up in you or someone around you. This root can pull you away with a stubborn and cold heart and produces poisonous and bitter fruit, as Deuteronomy 29:18 warns.
But today, let’s think about how to experience the grace of God and have it actually strengthen us. There are three things I can think of today that can pull someone away from grace. I’m sure there are dozens, but let’s start with three.
- Thinking that how I’m doing as a Christian is about my performance and measuring up. Christians my parents’ age seem to have been caught up in what looks good, whether it had meaning or not. You had to do the right thing, go to every event there was because it wouldn’t ‘look good’ if you didn’t. The Christian life was one of duty and striving to measure up. It ends up with a ‘see me’ mentality, because if I’m going to wear myself doing these things, I better get the credit for it somewhere.
- Strange and diverse teachings of today. There are so many rabbit trails out there that you can go down that might seem exciting or where it’s at, but don’t really bring you closer to Jesus and what He has for you. Some might be into the fulness of the Holy Spirit, others into end times, yet others into finding our Jewish roots, and on it goes.
- Getting defeated by sin, causing the Christian life to be an impossible roller coaster of some success, but more failure. The result here is guilt, shame, not even trying to measure up and then going back to your old life.
I won’t want to linger here, because I want to get to ways for your heart to be strengthened by grace. I’ll stick with three again.
- Get off of the performance leash. Don’t let others control you. Learn to play to the audience of One: Jesus. Learn to hear His voice and find confidence in letting what He’s directing you dictate what you get involved in, and where you go. What others think of you doesn’t matter really, it is what God thinks of you. If you are living in honest obedience to Him, then cut the leash.
- Just get hooked on Jesus. Take getaways with just your Bible and a notebook, maybe even no food so it doesn’t distract you. Don’t let up until you’ve gotten through all of the distractions to just be with the lover of your soul. In John 13:25 we see that John leaned against Jesus’ bosom. Get that close to Him that you can feel what He feels and you see yourself and others through His eyes.
- Understand that your salvation is by grace alone. It is a gift of God, meaning that you didn’t earn this salvation, God gave it to you. He took the scales off of your eyes. When you bring your sins to Him, He throws them as far away as the east is from the west. You can live in freedom and hold your head high. You don’t have to listen to the voice of the enemy that either speaks to your mind or through others’ lips. They are words like, “You’re no good,” “remember all of the rotten things you’ve done,” and “it’s all your fault.” You are loved, you are free, God has good plans for you and He is well pleased with you. He is doing a work in you that will sand off the rough edges, so let Him and it will be good.
Let your heart be strengthened today by God’s grace. Revel in what He has done for you, rest in His presence and lean up against Jesus’ bosom whenever you can. Grace to you!