April 28, 2017


Deuteronomy 9:6 Understand, then, that it is not because of your righteousness that the Lord your God is giving you this good land to possess, for you are a stiff-necked people.

God’s blessings are grace, and we had better not forget it. Jesus’ biggest opposition came from hypocritical self-righteous people who thought they had earned right standing with God. We aren’t to wallow in sin, certainly, but we must never think that we have arrived, that God has perfected us. Paul wrote memorably on this subject in Philippians 3:7-14, and followed it up with a note of caution: “Only let us live up to what we have already attained.” (Philippians 4:16) It’s not that God hasn’t done good stuff in us, or that we aren’t in far better shape than we once were. We certainly don’t need to be paralyzed by self doubt. However, to again quote Paul, “Such confidence as this is ours through Christ before God. Not that we are competent in ourselves to claim anything for ourselves, but our competence comes from God. He has made us competent as ministers of a new covenant—not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.” (2 Corinthians 3:4-6) Our confidence, our assurance, is not to be in ourselves but in the One who created, saved, called, and sends us. We are to rejoice in all that He does for, in, and through us, but we are not for a moment to think that we earned it by being so wonderful. That’s what Moses is saying here.

I have fought with conceit for most of my life. God has been extremely gracious to me, and there have been times when I have forgotten where it all came from. I well remember the liberation that came when I finally got it straight, down to the core of my being, that God’s smart and I’m not. There is a sharp irony in my not being able to figure that out for so long! Realizing that has made me much better able to take advice, which is certainly a valuable trait. I feel like God is about to pour out incredible things on me and on this church. When that happens, I’ve got to keep the reality that it’s all grace in sharp focus. If I take any of the glory for myself, I will lose the benefit of what He is doing, and He will have to use someone else. I don’t want that! I have no room for personal pride in what He has done to this point, and I will have no room for such pride in the future. I am to keep myself open and humble before Him, for Him to do in and through me whatever He desires, for His glory.

Father, thank You for this reminder. Help me not hold back from anything You are doing, but grasp Your vision and run with it in Your strength, so that Your name may be acknowledged as holy and Your kingdom come as Your will is done, for Your glory. Thank You. Hallelujah!

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About jgarrott

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