Living in God’s Grace; October 19, 2021

Philippians 1:7 It is right for me to feel this way about all of you, since I have you in my heart; for whether I am in chains or defending and confirming the gospel, all of you share in God’s grace with me.

Philippians is the warmest of Paul’s letters to churches. That’s probably related to the very dramatic way the church was started, as recorded in Acts 16, but clearly the people of that church felt very warmly about Paul as well. The verse ahead of this, about being confident that God would complete His work in the believers, is a very famous one that I frequently write on the flyleaf of Bibles I give to people when they are baptized, but this verse caught my eye for a different reason. We sometimes separate our lives into different categories, such as “serving God” and “taking care of business.” Paul here mentions being imprisoned, where he could do very little, and proclaiming the Gospel as a bold witness, and clearly lumps both together as instances of God’s grace. I think we need to realize that every facet of our lives is included in God’s plan for us, and is an opportunity for Him to work in and through us. It was precisely when Paul was imprisoned, greatly limited in his activities, that he wrote most of the letters that form so much of the New Testament. It is risky for us to exclude any part of our lives from our active dependence on and obedience to God. Psychologically speaking, men tend to be more likely to compartmentalize their lives than women are. Sometimes it can be very helpful to “leave work at work” in order to relax and relate will to your family at home, but taken too far, it can blind us to all sorts of things. We need to remember that we belong to God, and He loves us as His children, all the time, and not just when we are “doing something religious.”

I have known this as objective fact for a long time, but I still tend to grade myself as to whether a particular activity is “spiritual.” The thing is, I am a spiritual being inhabiting a body, so everything I do is spiritual, in one way or another. Getting a good night’s sleep is as important as standing in the pulpit. I do a wide variety of things, giving some people the impression that I am terribly busy, but I actually have less rigidity to my schedule than most people, I think. That makes it all the more important that I submit every part of my schedule to the Lord, for Him to use me as He sees fit. Since I live in the church building all sorts of lines tend to get blurred, but I need to keep the awareness that every moment of my life is at God’s service, and a demonstration of His grace.

Father, thank You for Your amazing grace that indeed touches every moment of my life, every part of my being. Help me be active in allowing that grace to flow through me whatever I am doing, even if it looks like I am doing nothing! May I be a good servant, a child who does exactly as You desire, for the blessing of all I touch and for Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!

About jgarrott

Born and raised in Japan of missionary parents. Have been here as an adult missionary since 1981.
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