Work of Grace
A devotional by Allison M. Wilson
John 6:28-29, Hebrews 12:2, Micah 6:8, John 15:5, John 15:4, John 5:19, Philippians 1:6, Hebrews 12:2, Philippians 4:4-8 (NASB)
Have you felt guilty for not reading your Bible more, praying more, or serving more? Have you heard a believer, pastor, teacher or trusted advisor tell you that these things must be done to please God? When you don’t measure up, you feel as if you’ve failed. You rededicate yourself to doing better, only to find you fail…again…and again. Wash, rinse, repeat.
How is that “good news” we can share with an unbeliever? “Hey! Come accept Christ and feel like you fail every single day. Well, there may be one or two times you think you get it right, but overall, you’re going to feel as if you only get it wrong. It’s great!” There’s a witnessing tool I’ve never seen in an evangelism class, but, isn’t that what we all go through as believers? There has to be something different! The truly good news is that there is.
John 6:28-29 tells us exactly what our work is as believers. We see it in Micah 6:8. What got Abraham his righteousness? It wasn’t his works, that’s for sure. Romans 4:3 tells us what it was. Can it really be that simple? Yes!
We who are believers in God realize we couldn’t save ourselves. We could not be perfect enough to fulfill the sacrifice required for our sins. We needed a Savior who was perfect, spotless, righteous. We acknowledge that part easily enough. What we then hold onto is the mistaken belief that we can fix ourselves and that we have some semblance of control. Remember John 15:5? There’s a part of the word “nothing” that we just don’t seem to grasp.
What abiding in Him does mean is that we are attached to the Vine. We are getting our source of water, air, and life from the One Who can do all He promised to do in us. It means acknowledging that I can do nothing…truly nothing. Nothing good, nothing of lasting value, nothing of worth unless it is first from God. Christ said the very same thing in John 5:19. If God, made flesh, had to rely on the Father for everything, why do we think some part of us can do otherwise? Oh, we may look good for a time, might even accomplish godly looking things, but will they last if He wasn’t in the midst of it?
We are not the ones who initiated any of this. Philippians 1:6 tells us who did. It also tells us who is responsible for seeing the work completed. In the process of the abiding, our Gardener will prune the vines and branches. He will take off those things that are dead in us to give way for more life in Him. A rose bush does nothing to shape itself. It cannot take off the dead blooms on its own to get more blooms to come through. It cannot fertilize itself. We cannot do any of those things on our own, either. John 15:4 tells us clearly what abiding in Him produces in us. It is not we who produce the fruit, though. It is the Author and Perfecter of our faith. (Hebrews 12:2)
How do we abide, then? What does it look like? We ask Him to give us a hunger and thirst for His Word. We seek to know more of Him through prayer, but understand that it’s not prayer which saves us, it is the relationship with the Father. We diligently seek His face. Philippians 4:4-8 also gives us some great ways to keep ourselves focused on Him.
Through all of this, we remember we can do nothing. It is not our “trying” which produces any good fruit in us. It is in our trusting that He will fulfill His promises to conform us into the image of His Son. (Romans 8:29)
Let’s Pray: Father God, we are nothing without You. You give life and are the One who does the work in us for Your glory. Give us the strength to let go of what we see as control and surrender to You. In Jesus’ Name I pray, Amen.
A very early reader and lover of the written word, Allison M. Wilson has been writing since the age of 8 with the heart to impart stories and God's truth.
She has judged countless contests for the last 25 years, reviewed for several online publications, professionally edited, and written articles and devotionals.
Wife, mother, writer, editor, teacher, mentor, and mompreneur, God keeps her busy while living in east central Florida with her family.
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