Let’s Talk About Friendship

For the past few weeks, I’ve been pondering on why it’s so difficult to build true, soul relationships with other people. It’s difficult to start to begin with and eventually they become difficult to keep.

I’ve watched people come and go and I’ve watched friendships form and disintegrate. When I see this in my life and in the lives of the people around me, I can’t help but wonder why it has to be so hard. Why is there envy and strife even in friendships? Why do people gossip and take sides? Why can’t we all just love and support each other without turning it into a competition?

Is it even worth it to try anymore?

The Holy Spirit then started reminding me of certain memories.

Back in 2015, I was in Ilocos with my friends when the vacation turned into a battleground. I was prophesying over some and ended up being horrendously attacked by the enemy. When I was being beaten to the ground, the very friends I prayed for ended up being the ones covering for me.

When one of my friends confessed about being assaulted, in the midst of tears, pain and anger, we stood over her and bound everything that the enemy was bringing upon her. We ended the night singing songs of victory.

On one of our trips to Tagaytay, a birthday getaway turned into two straight nights of declaring healing over the lives of each other, bringing to light certain pains and hurts we have so long kept in the dark. Forgiveness was given and relationships were restored then and there.

Dozens of similar stories then started to pop in my head, because it was never just a one-time thing. This was something the fellowship lived and breathed and prayers were given without ever hesitating. These were friendships that went beyond shared hobbies and similar taste in music; these were friendships centered in Christ. We stood by each other through seasons and we fought for each other’s destinies and families.

When we said we had each other’s backs, we meant it life or death.

I see. That’s what makes it so difficult.

Because it was always powerful. Such relationships are powerful. It brings freedom and restoration and that is exactly why the enemy will do everything in his power to hinder and stop you from even wanting to try. He will have you turn on each other, get annoyed at one another, be too busy to even care. He will bring in doubt, impatience, slander, and anything else possible to break you apart. He will make you feel ignored, unwanted, dejected, and rejected so you keep your heart locked and safe, away from anyone who can make you feel the same again.

Look, it’s true that vulnerability is hard. It’s one thing to tell others how you are and it’s another to show your heart and open your life for them to see all the places you have yet to be holy. It’s absolutely frightening, especially for those that have experienced trusting others only to end up in betrayal and heartbreak.

And really, who hasn’t fought to open their heart up to someone only to find it pierced? Who hasn’t watched their friends turn into the mob and the jury, yelling accusations and demanding crucifixion?

Jesus Himself was betrayed by Judas after all.

But while the scars are bound to remind you to be careful next time, we are reminded that Jesus gained the scars in His hands while hanging naked on a cross – uncovered and unmasked.

Love doesn’t really get any more vulnerable than that.

And we were meant to live as Christ did after all.

“This is my command: Love each other as I have loved you.”
-John 15:12

It may be easier to hide your heart away, but we were never meant to live the easy way.

My relationship with my best friend Belle is probably the longest one I’ve managed to maintain that remains to be just as close, and when you view 7 years in comparison to those who have been BFFs since birth, it doesn’t really sound like it’s anything of a feat. But personally, the fact that it made 7 years even as we lived in different regions and now different nations is nothing short of a miracle.

We didn’t even really get along at the beginning. We just knew that God was calling us into the friendship. And I think that’s the only reason it lasted this long: because we fought for it. We have had the most horrible of fights and conflicts, but we also knew we had to fight against falling out. We understood that we were called into the commitment of covenant friendship and that we have to be deliberate about it.

And I thank God for all the friendships I’ve gained through the years after that were just a deliberate and just as true.

Community isn’t just suddenly found. Community is fought for and forged. We can’t keep on having superficial conversations and polite formalities. I don’t know about you, but I’m tired of shallow “how are yous.” It may mean that no one gets hurt, but no one gets set free either.

Look, it’s very possible to be part of a group of friends and yet not really be intimate with each other. It’s actually rather common to find a routine that keeps everyone from getting to that point of being close because eventually, no one would want to break the status quo. Spending a lot of time together does not mean truly knowing each other.

This is why we have to dust off our fears and swallow our pride. It’s okay to be the first one to express the desire to want to go deeper. It’s better to be the one who tries.

And we have to open our eyes to the people around us who are also trying.

Paul exhorts us in Ephesians 4 to bear with one another in love and to make every effort to maintain the unity in the Spirit. He wouldn’t have said that if it was easy. It will get messy – I can guarantee that. Such is what happens when imperfect people come together. But iron sharpens iron and it is only through such that our edges can smoothen out.

We are all works in progress. We are all going from glory to glory. And we are all here because of Christ and for Christ. That is enough to bind us together and to keep us holding on to each other.

We remember that the Bible reinforces that we need to not give up on each other; that we have to keep on forgiving and keep on giving.

And we’re going to – even if others don’t.

Because the truth is, we all want to be fully known. We all want to be fully loved.

And beloved, it’s impossible to be fully loved if you are not fully known. In the same way, be wiling to fully love and fully know.

It doesn’t have to be with everyone you know. In fact, it shouldn’t be. This is a step done not just in faith, but also in wisdom. Ask the Lord who He has called you to, know the people you could walk with, and then build from there.

It may just be the first step, but it will be worth it.

“Now the full number of those who believed were of one heart and soul…”
-Acts 4:32

Fight for Your Heart

“Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.”
– Proverbs 4:23

This verse has been preached a thousand times in a thousand different ways. But such are the joys of the Bible being living and active – there’s always something new to get from it every time.

Allow me to tackle this today in a different way.

I have recently gone through a process with the Lord wherein He took me to different places in my memories – memories that I somehow managed to forget were there. At first, I was apprehensive and tried to run away. I wasn’t quite ready to face where I was being taken and wanted to protect myself from the hurt that I knew was coming.

The Lord then had to talk me through it. “I’m not trying to break your heart. I’m trying to bind up your broken heart.”

I was confused because I was at a perfectly good place. At least, I thought I was. The Holy Spirit then kindly made me understand that there were issues I buried from years ago that I thought were already dealt with but in fact still had roots, and it was time to deal with them before they come back up rearing their heads. I really didn’t quite think they were worth paying attention to because the blows I took were not as horrible as others have received. However, we all break differently and such comparison of brokenness doesn’t invalidate the trauma.

There started a process that was painful, to say the least, but was also enlightening. You see, I thought I was protecting my heart by putting up walls and keeping it safe, but the truth is I was actually killing it.

We’ve taught ourselves to not talk about things of the past; to not think about things that hurt. We say what’s done is done, but does that really make it over?

There is constant talk about how the love of the Lord is like a soothing balm over our injuries and yes, that’s true. However, His love is also like disinfectant fiery over our wounds because His hands need to take the bullet out and stitch up the holes.

It hurts, but it’s necessary if we want to live.

If we want to really protect our hearts, then we have to stare all the painful memories right in the face and not look at away. We have to go back to those moments and bring the Lord with us.

It gets scary because we do have questions and regrets. “Why did I do that, how could I have been so stupid?” “Why did the Lord allow that to happen to me?” “Why is life unfair?”

And so it’s important to hold the Holy Spirit’s hand through all of it; we need to be aware of what He is saying about all the things we went through. We also need to be reminded of the fact that the enemy comes to steal, to kill, and to destroy. He is actively working day in and day out to snuff out your hope and your spirit.

It might sound threatening but reality is, he’s threatened of you. He’s scared of all the things that you could become and is terrified of you reflecting all of God’s goodness and glory. Therefore, he has set up a thousand situations to take you out and has placed a million lies in your head, telling you you’re not good enough, that you’re unwanted and a burden, that it’s all your fault and that it happened because you had it coming anyway.

But one quick look at the Bible will tell you that even before the Lord formed you in your mother’s womb, He knew you. While you were still a sinner, He died for you. And His heart is to bless you, heal you, and give you life that is lived to the full.

You’ve probably heard of conspiracies regarding the Illuminati and that they make agreements with the devil so they can have the life that they want. Making such transactions with Satan is not the only way to have an agreement with him. Each and every time you agree with his lies towards you and even towards others, you are entering into an agreement with him.

We have to cut ties with those lies. This is not just about having low esteem. This is spiritual assault at its finest and this is why we have been implored to take captive every thought and make it obedient to Christ.

Notice the term “take captive.” It’s a term that belongs to the vocabulary of soldiers and the military. This is because we are in a fight and we have to understand that trying to ignore the battle or deny the war does not mean we will be spared from it.

One of the common translations for one of the names of God “Jehovah Sabaoth” is “The Lord of Hosts.” The literal translation for this name is “The Lord of Angel Armies” and I like that a lot better. The Lord has been constantly accused of being a bystander, but He has been anything but. In fact, He has always been the frontliner, going forward as the sacrifice for the rest of the people.

We look at all the defeating blows humanity has received and point fingers because we have bought into the idea that we don’t have to fight because we have Jesus, but that is heresy and just another lie the enemy has managed to infiltrate in our culture. It’s like someone from the Navy saying, “I don’t need to fight, the Commander will do all of the fighting.” We have been called to fight the good fight (1 Timothy 6:12) and to take up the full armor of God (Ephesians 6:10-18). We have to realize that we have been slated into this war and were never meant to play civilians; we were meant to be warriors.

A verse that I commonly hear being quoted completely on its own is Exodus 14:14. “The Lord will fight for you, you need only to be still” as Moses told the people of Israel. What people fail to pay attention to is the context of the verse, because in the next verse, the Lord told Moses “Why do you cry to Me? Tell the people of Israel to go forward.”

You have a part to play. You have to keep moving forward. Don’t allow the enemy to belittle the things that the Lord has placed in your heart. Remember that Satan does not want you stepping into all that the Lord created you to be and will do anything to prevent that. He will try to break you down, discourage you, meet you with failure and dishearten you.

Wonder, love, grace, joy – the world wants to take it all away from you. Hell will fight you over what heaven has called you.

There will be doubts. You may be fronted with shame and judgment. Satan may even use people to mock you and look down on you, but don’t lose heart. Think of Joseph’s brothers and how they were so threatened of Joseph that they plotted to kill him. If you’re in that situation, know that it only cements the fact that there is a good future waiting for you and that if you push through, there is glory to come.

“So, it becomes the devils business to keep the Christian’s spirit imprisoned. He knows that the believing and justified Christian has been raised up out of the grave of his sins and trespasses. From that point on, Satan works that much harder to keep us bound and gagged, actually imprisoned in our own grave clothes. He knows that if we continue in this kind of bondage, we will never be able to claim our rightful spiritual heritage. He knows also that while we continue bound in this kind of enslavement we are not much better off than when we were spiritually dead.
We must face up to the issues and attitudes and doubts which constitute our fears, that keep us from being happy and victorious Christians with the true liberty of the children of God. We seem to quake about many things. In the first place, are you still afraid of your past sins? God knows that sin is a terrible thing?and the devil knows it, too. So he follows us around and as long as we will permit it, he will taunt us about our past sins.”
-A. W. Tozer

This also helps us be sensitive to the fact that everyone has their own battles. So be kind, be gracious, and love one another as Christ has loved you. Stand together in prayer and hold the ropes for each other. The Lord knows we all need it.

Don’t be afraid to bring to light all that you’ve hidden in the shadows. Don’t put your heart under a shade and hide it away. Don’t buy into the lies of false humility and shame.

Allow everything in your heart to shine and break through. If we truly want to protect our hearts, then we fight to keep them the way the Lord designed them to be – loving, selfless, brave, and free.

“As for myself, I have learned to talk back to him on this score. I say, “Yes, Devil, sin is terrible-but I remind you that I got it from you! And I remind you, Devil, that everything good -forgiveness and cleansing and blessing- everything that is good I have freely received from Jesus Christ!” Everything that is bad and that is against me I got from the devil -so why should he have the effrontery and the brass to argue with me about it? Yet he will do it because he is the devil, and he is committed to keeping God’s children shut up in a little cage, their wings clipped so that they can never fly!”
-A. W. Tozer

This Is Who You Are

Take a long look in the mirror right now and tell me what you see.

Hips too thin, waist too fat, arms too flabby.

Look closer. Tell me what you see.

Eyes too far apart, nose too flat, acne scars too deep.

Closer. Look deeper. Don’t you see what I see?

There, right there, swimming in your eyes, reflecting the very depths of your soul.

Beautiful. Breathtaking. The image of the Maker.

You are not an accident. You are not a mistake. God did not create you for the sake of creating. God did not create you out of boredom.

Nothing could come to being out of boredom.

No, like a masterpiece in the hands of an Artist, you were created out of inspiration and love and color bursting. He picked you up and held you close. Face-to-face, nose-to-nose, He breathed life into you. Air from His lungs flow in yours.

Fearfully and wonderfully made – this is who you are.

But maybe you could no longer recognize the face in the mirror. Maybe you’ve hidden behind layers of makeup and clothes and success, afraid that your flaws may be seen; playing your part well, thinking that if you can convince other people that everything is okay, you’ll believe it too. You’ve labored away, hammering walls to keep discerning eyes out and building shiny Christian-dreams of perfection only to find yourself hitting the glass.

Have you shattered?

Love, He does not mind picking up the pieces. He can deal with your mess. Christ didn’t come for those who have it all together; He came for those who don’t. You can let Him hold you together. Your jagged edges and broken fragments won’t stop Him from keeping you close.

The scars in His hands ought to be enough proof of that: He loves you just as you are, not as you should be. There’s no longer anything to prove, because the cross has already declared:

Broken, yet chosen – this is who you are.

The world can try to tell you that you are not enough; that you are hopeless and horrible and shameful. But there is only One righteous to judge and in all His blinding glory and holy, He has His arms wide open waiting for you.

No condemnation. Just forgiveness.

He does not cower from the skeletons in your closet. He is not put off by the darkness of your past. His love is far brighter than that. His sacrifice is enough.

Fully known, truly forgiven – this is who you are.

No more striving to find a place in this world. No more fighting for approval. God has written this story and has put a period to your happy ever after; you know how this tale ends.

Beloved, allow yourself to be loved.

Because the truth is, it’s not about who you are; it’s about who He is. It’s not about what you do or don’t do; it’s about what He has done.

Accept it.

Irrevocably, wildly, unconditionally loved – this is who you are.

The Father’s love reveals who you are.

His.

You are His.

Do you now see?

The World Is Hurting And I Don’t Know What To Do About It

My thoughts and emotions are still hazy as I type this. I have barely uttered a word to anyone the past 3 hours, still unable to process the news about the Bastille Day attack where a man went behind the wheels of a truck and plowed through the sea of people watching a fireworks display, deliberately running over every person that he could for 2 kilometers. Just last week I texted my best friend at 4 in the morning, crying and unable to sleep because for weeks there have been more and more news of terrorist attacks and murders as compared to the previous months. Since I couldn’t do anything, because it wasn’t like there was need for relief goods, I just asked God to relieve their hearts and to relieve mine. I prayed.

At least that’s something, right?

For years, I have searched the net at least once a week for updates on killings and wars all around the world knowing full well that some events, no matter how serious, do not go viral. I list down the countries and incidents down on a sheet of paper then find out more about the victims and people involved in desire to see them beyond the statistics.

I have signed a petition calling the President of Malawi to pay attention to the fact that albinos all over the nation were being murdered and decapitated because their body parts were believed to have magical properties. I have donated to the UN Refugee Agency when the Syrian crisis got worse. I have prayed.

That’s got to be something, right?

Even so, I have always felt frustrated at myself that I couldn’t do more, that I couldn’t be halfway across the world being there in the frontlines, actually doing something active to help. So I just pray.

It’s the least I could do.

Some time ago, I had visions of wars, dreams of deaths, and I wrote them down on a journal. Then I prayed until the relief came. I prayed until I stopped crying. I prayed until I no longer had images of red in my head. I waited until God gave me the bigger picture, the image of redemption after the pain.

But today, the visions came in photos of reality. And too blinded by grief, I have no clear image of restoration. I don’t see flashes of rebuilding. I don’t see the bigger picture.

Is there still anything?

Yes, His promise.

“It isn’t over yet.”

My vision starts to clear.

I see Him who is bigger than the crisis. I see Him who wipes away every falling tear. I see Him who holds together that which is broken.

In the crippling dark, He is blinding light.

I was never the answer. He is.

So I pray. I’m not sure if I can move earth with my words but I can try and move heaven.

It’s the most I could do.

For love is greater than hate and faith is greater than fear.

That means something.

Photo grabbed from Independent UK article

Confessions Of A Practicing Christian

I am flawed, so very flawed. When confronted with the holiness of God, all I can do is tremble and be struck by how stark we are in contrast. Even as a Christian who truly loves God, I still struggle with sin every so often. I’m not exaggerating when I say that I battle with pride each and every day. There is always a trigger: a compliment, a desire not to apologize, a need to show that I am right. It is something I constantly lay down before God, for I know full well that it is not innate in me to be humble. I continuously ask for His grace to transform me and make me Christ-like, because it is certainly something I cannot do on my own.

However, I have encountered far too many people who claim to be Christians but there is no sense of struggling with sin in their lives – only because they have become numb to it and consider it normal. I have heard so much the term “non-practicing Christians.” They consider themselves part of the church, they like the perks of salvation, but they refuse to submit to Lordship.

Now please, there is no judgment here, for I personally grew up part of a Christian family and yet it took me years until I actually understood the magnitude of salvation. I thank God that we are justified by faith – it is a biblical doctrine and it frees us from the snares of legalism. But I still think this is something all people who claim to be Christians need to ponder on.

I have noticed that a lot of times, people package Christ into something that caters to people’s needs and wants. A dangerous tendency we can do is lean our theology so much on God’s love that we fail to recognize that He is justice and jealous and righteous.

Don’t get me wrong; I drown so much in God’s grace. I think in today’s world, it is something we definitely need. But we have to be careful not to bank so much on it that we forget the other attributes of God. God is love, as He is mercy, as He is grace. He is equally justice and holy as well. These aren’t just traits He embodies; they are who He is. A theologian I look up to and whose works I study, A. W. Tozer explored in so many of his books and sermons that we have to recognize that there are many sides to God, all of which are so completely and equally Him, and we shouldn’t confine who He is to the box of who we want Him to be. We should continue exploring God for who He truly is – long after we have understood His love.

In one of his books, he explicitly stated, and I quote, “a lot of people have gone too far and have written books and poetry that gets everybody believing that God is so kind and loving and gentle. God is so kind that infinity won’t measure it. And God is so loving that He is immeasurably loving. But God is also holy and just.”

Now not diminishing how beautiful and unconditional God’s love is, we also must remember how much God weighs. I know too many people who use God’s grace and love as a license to sin, but that’s another discussion. At this time, I want all of us to be reminded of how holy, how burning bright He is, and how unworthy we are.

Because we truly are.

I cannot emphasize how essential holiness is to God. It’s actually pretty interesting to note that love is mentioned 311 times in the Bible while holy is mentioned 633 times (King James Version). God was never called loving, loving, loving or gracious, gracious, gracious. In the Bible, repetition means emphasis and the only adjective ever repeated to describe God that was repeated this way is holy.

Holy, holy, holy.

In Hebrew, the word holy is qadosh. It means set apart, cut off from the rest. Holiness then talks of how different God is from us. As Max Lucado said, it speaks of his “other-worldliness.” Next to Him, I am so dirty; I am so unworthy to enter His presence. Moses and Isaiah themselves could not look at God’s face as conveyed in the books of Exodus and Isaiah. In the same way, as stated in Habakkuk, God cannot lay His eyes upon that which is impure. Even as Christians, we have to constantly repent every time we fall and go back to the path of righteousness, for no hint of unholiness can be in the presence of what is holy.

I think that’s what causes a lot of us to still feel far away from God sometimes, even if we know that He is never too far. Our sin, our lukewarm-ness, our hardness puts up a cloud over the face of this sinless, zealous, loving God. In spite of this, however, I do not think our awareness of our sin should lead us away from God, making us feel ashamed. Instead, as we allow God to expose our sin and bring everything to light, so there shall be light in us for we are no longer hiding in darkness. Our awareness of how sinful we are should all the more drive us to understand how much we need God in our lives.

For in His mercy, He extends His patience and delayed His wrath upon us to give all of us the chance to become holy. He opens His arms wide, harboring no condemnation, and takes us back each and every time, as long as we truly repent and turn from our sins. He allows us still to live, and each day is truly a gift for I can only imagine how much restraint God has to exercise, considering how much evil there is in this world. Because He cannot contradict Himself and He is just, He chose to send down His Son to die for the mortal beings that He created to receive the death sentence from our sins and fallibility. In His grace, He chose to open the gates of heaven to us. And still after, He extends to us favor and blessings and love and promises far beyond the mind can fathom.

I do not think I can ever understand why God would extend love to us, but I don’t need to. I just have to accept it, and I have to accept it in its fullness; I have to recognize Him in His fullness.

How can we have watered down the gospel? How can we have diminished its truth and beauty, and in turn diminished the magnitude of God? In the Old Testament, only the High Priest can go inside the deepest parts of the tabernacle and go behind the veil to speak to this holiest, magnificent God – and even then, just once a year.

Now, God may have torn the veil, but His accessibility does not change His holiness and glory.

I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like me, declaring the end from the beginning and from ancient times things not yet done…”
-Isaiah 46:9-10, emphasis mine

Who He is goes beyond love and mercy and grace. He is perfection, He is omnipresent, He is infinity. In Isaiah 40:25, God personally illustrates how He is incomparable. Read Job 38 through 41 and you will see God clearly that He is mightiest and there is none above Him. He is not a trend, He is not the head of a social group your friends are in, but He is GOD – the Creator of the galaxies and the Painter of the skies; the One who designed the human body; the only being not bound by time for He is the Beginning and the End.

Proverbs 9:10 says that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the holy is understanding. If we can see Him clearly, we can view Him highly. It’s about time we actually recognize the depth of who God is, the magnitude of what Christ has done, and we should allow this magnificent truth to fill our hearts. Because this knowledge of God should do more than just save us, it should regenerate us.

If we keep our eyes set on Him and revel in how beautiful and holy He is, then how can we simply go day to day the way we still do? How can we still have the nerve to judge people when we ourselves should be judged? How can our hearts not be filled with joy knowing that every day is a gift that we do not deserve? How can we not fall to our knees and lay our lives down in abandon before the Cross, fully recognizing how unworthy we are of this precious gift?

Worship the Lord in the splendor of holiness; tremble before him, all the earth!
-Psalm 96:9

Don’t worry, I forget sometimes too. But we must make an effort to remember. I guess that’s why Paul kept repeating in his letters that he would always do his best to remind believers of the truth of the gospel and a changed life.

Being a Christian is far more than being part of a religion or having a title, it is understanding that this privilege should reflect in our lifestyle.

But as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, since it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.”
-1 Peter 1:15-16

 

Destined: Higher

From Deeper: The last thing we want to do is miss out just because we can’t handle a little digging up. The amazing thing about it is God has given us the grace to go through these poundings and diggings, and so we should understand just how grace goes beyond saving and how much it is empowering.


Let’s talk about grace.

The word grace has all too often been used as an excuse and as a license to sin, because people have confined the definition of grace to salvation. However, grace has actually set the bar higher. Indeed, we are no longer bound by law and rules, and yet since God’s nature now lives in us and we now have empowering grace inside us, we can easily turn away from sin and live out the standards Jesus has now set for us. For example, Matthew 5:27-28 states:

“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart.”

Looking at this scripture, we can see that the standards are now much higher than before. Under the Law of Moses, you had to commit adultery to sin. Now, simply desiring it is considered sin. This is because we are no longer living under law and have been inwardly transformed; thus it is no longer about the actions, it is about the heart. So ironically, grace that is so often used as an excuse to sin has actually set the rule of measure higher. But again, by grace, we are able to reach this higher standard. For because we no longer live by ourselves, but Christ in us (Galatians 2:20), we have received God’s divine nature as a part of us. 

It’s sad because lot of Christians believe that they are still sinners who have just been forgiven when their identity is no longer tied to “sinners”. Romans 6:6-7 says that we are no longer slaves to sin and we have been set free from the power of sin. The thing is, a lot of people just aren’t willing to give up their sins and struggles since holiness takes a lot of effort. Yet we are called to be holy as God is holy. We are called to be perfect as God is perfect. And Satan’s greatest fear is that we would realize just who God made us to be, just how great our destinies are. That’s why we have to embrace  God’s grace enabling us from the inside so we can live these out in faith. Not when Christ comes for us, not when we’re already in heaven, but now.

Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 9:8 that God is able to make all grace abound to us, and so having all sufficiency in all things at all times, we may abound in every good work. God has made all grace abound to us so we can abound in every good work at all times. Do you grasp the magnitude of that? Do you see all the superlatives there? And you need to understand, the Bible cannot lie so it doesn’t exaggerate. When it says all, it means all.

We need to start seeing how big our God is. The God who created the universe; who named the galaxies; who designed the atom that holds every single thing together has given you access to His power. Understand that. Believe that. God is more than a baby in a manger, He’s more than a judge waiting at the end of trial. Similar to the way we can’t limit God and His greatness, we cannot limit the power of His grace in us.

2 Corinthians 7:1 states that we have to cleanse ourselves from all filth unless of the flesh and spirit. Note how it says cleanse ourselves. Not God will cleanse us, but we cleanse ourselves. Don’t get me wrong. It is by Jesus and His sacrifice that we are cleansed of all sin and everything we are able to do is by God’s grace and kindness. But my point here is that we also have a part in it, we have to make an effort on our end. God’s grace – that we did nothing to earn or deserve – will give us the power for us to do so, nevertheless we have to make a choice to really walk in God’s empowering grace in light of His will and destiny.

And with great power the apostles were giving their testimony to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and great grace was upon them all. 
-Acts‬ ‭4‬:‭33‬

Great power. Great grace. God has given each and every one who believes His grace, and so this great power written about in Acts can be operated by believers in this day and age such as you and me! That is how Jesus was able to say that anyone who believes in Him will be able to do the works He has done and even greater. Ponder on that. Anyone who believes will do even greater. That’s because the Spirit that lives in Him and the nature that He has is now also in us, and so why should we allow ourselves to be held back by sin, by fear, by intimidation? Grace has not only saved us, but it equips us to live our lives to their absolute fullness in Christ. 

See, we can now go deeper because grace enables us to do so. We are able to suffer gracefully, learn humbly, and so eventually, rise mightily. And when we do, we can go high beyond our imaginations because we have been dug down deep in the spiritual foundations. We can achieve things beyond our wildest dreams because as children of the living God, nothing is too out of reach for us.

Grace allows us to move beyond our ability and live extraordinarily. 

And yet why is it that so many Christians still fail to walk the path of their God-given destiny? How come people who are called to be greater cannot obey and surrender?

Continued here.