“We began our Christian life by depending not upon our own doing but upon what he had done. Until a man does this he is no Christian; for to say: “I can do nothing to save myself; but by his grace God has done everything for me in Christ,” is to take the first step in the life of faith. The Christian life from start to finish is based upon this principle of utter dependence upon the Lord Jesus. There is no limit to the grace God is willing to bestow upon us. He will give us everything, but we can receive none of it except as we rest in him. “Sitting” is an attitude of rest. Something has been finished, work stops, and we sit. It is paradoxical, but true, that we only advance in the Christian life as we learn first of all to sit down.”
Above all else, God is a Giver. His nature is to give….freely and openhandedly. God so loved us that He sacrificed His beloved Son to bring us back to Him. For we were like the prodigal son, “a long way off.” Now in Christ we’ve been “brought near.” Now, in Christ, we have a compassionate, unfailing, amazing, generous, Father’s love longing to touch us every day of our lives. He “showers us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms in Christ.” (Eph 1:3) He gives us our daily bread.
Here are more Scriptures about God’s giving heart:
- Every good and every perfect gift comes from above, from the Father who made the sun, moon, and stars. James 1:17
- He wanted us to enter into the celebration of his lavish gift-giving by the hand of his beloved Son. Ephesians 1:6
- Delight yourself also in the Lord, and He will give you the desires and secret petitions of your heart. Psalm 37:4
God says His divine power has given us “all things that pertain to life and godliness.” (2 Peter 1:3) These blessings are free and unearned, but we must receive or take possession of them before they become real in our lives. If that weren’t true, would we not be experiencing them daily and walking continually in peace, victory, holiness, faith, joy, health, glory, prosperity…..all the blessings in the heavenly realm that are already ours in Christ?
Receiving the Blessings That Are Already Ours
The rest of 2 Peter 1:3 says “….We have received all of this (all things pertaining to life and godliness) by coming to know Him, the one who called us to Himself by means of His marvelous glory and excellence.”
Let’s read that again — Peter said we receive everything we need to live this life by coming to know Jesus Christ. But how do we come to know Him? If you study the Scriptures, you will see certain characteristics in those who come to know God and move “from glory to glory” in their reflection of Him. God reveals Himself to us directly in proportion to our:
HUNGERING AFTER GOD. “He gave plenty to drink to those who were thirsty. He filled those who were hungry with good food.” Psalm 107:9.
ASKING. “If you ask me to do something, I will do it.” John 14:14
EXPECTING. “The eyes of all wait for You [looking, watching, and expecting] and You give them their food in due season. You open Your hand and satisfy every living thing with favor. (Psalm 145:15, 16 AMP).
In Christ all the promises of God are “yes and amen to the glory of God through us” (2 Cor. 1:20). Experiencing these promises – our inheritance — is a result of hungering, asking, and expecting them to manifest in our lives. Jesus longs to reveal more of Himself to us.
I awoke the other morning to a radio interview of a Christian woman who was telling the story of being rescued from the Pentagon on 9/11/01. The minutes were passing after the explosion, and she felt she would die. While coughing uncontrollably from smoke in her lungs, she blindly thrust her arm into thick, black smoke, hoping, believing someone would grab it and pull her to safety. Someone did. She is alive today because of the hunger and expectation that was already in her heart. I couldn’t help but notice the parallel to our receiving everything we need in our lives in Christ, whether that be rescue from trouble, victory, provision, healing, a job, peace of mind ….. all God’s promises that are yes and amen in Christ:
- She hungered. In this case, for the very breath of life in her lungs. She needed God.
- She asked God for help.
- She expected God to answer, and took a step of faith, thrusting her arm into a black hole, instead of collapsing under tremendous mental and physical assault.
I don’t know about you, but I am hungry to receive all that God has provided for me. Everything. No holds barred. No limitations. I want to keep asking and seeking first the Kingdom of God. I expect God to answer my prayers because He has promised to, and He is good. I want to grow to trust Him more and more, even in the difficult areas of my life, where it sometimes seems like an answer will never come.
I want to receive and take possession of everything God has already provided for me in Christ.
How about you?
Eph 2:13, John 3:16, Eph 1:3, 2 Peter 1:3, 2 Peter 1:3
I am the God of outrageous Grace — radical, incomprehensible, extravagant Grace. There’s nothing on earth like this. You can’t wrap your head or your arms around it, so don’t even try. I must simply reveal it to you. Let Me reveal my Grace to you.
I have given you a taste of this Grace, and it has touched your heart. I want to give you more. Let me reveal it to you. I want to display My lovingkindness to you. I am the One who opens your heart to receive. This is truly My master plan — let me fulfill it in you. Let me show you my Grace.
Let Me reveal my Grace to you. I need your “yes” — I will do the rest. For I am the God of Yes. All my promises are Yes. Let me have YOUR yes. That’s what I’m waiting for. May I make known My Grace to you?
This is truly what you’ve been longing for, searching for. My outrageous, radical, amazing Grace. JESUS. I want to unfold My Grace to you. I want to reveal My Son in you. Will you say Yes?
Receiving “every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ” (Eph 1:3)is a simple act of faith that even a child can do. However, because of wrong thinking, wrong believing, and self-sufficiency, it is often a long and trying process in the life of a believer. God understands this. As we seek Him with all our heart, He lovingly establishes us in our true identity and leads us into the rest, freedom and blessings purchased on our behalf by His Son.
A friend of mine wrote the following lyrics many years ago. God used them, along with circumstances in my life, to move me from the path of “doing” to the road of “receiving.” The moment I read these lyrics on the piece of paper my friend casually handed me one day, I was aware of an overwhelming longing to know what he knew, as revealed on the page. I realized he understood his utter destitution apart from Christ, and I wanted to know it too. Desperation rose up in me, and I began to cry out to God about it. This continued for months. I carried the folded piece of paper around with me and took it out and read it whenever I had a free moment. Most of the time it brought me to tears.
After several months of this, one afternoon God gave me a powerful, loving vision of how He saw me in terms of my weakness and inability to live the Christian life apart from Him. I was no longer the same person. After this encounter, the lyrics had new meaning for me. God answered the deepest cry of my heart, and a peace and rest came over me that I hadn’t known before. I knew, in a new way, that I was utterly dependent upon Him. I learned that’s how He sees all of us, and that He’s just waiting for us to see it too!
My prayer is that the lyrics below touch you in some way on your journey of realizing that “apart from Him, you can do nothing,” for this is God’s doorway to receiving all the blessings in Christ that are already ours.
The Good in Me
All the good in me, Lord, is through You.
all the good in me is through You.
When I came to your Son and begged to be freed,
That wasn’t me, Lord, it was You.
I know that wasn’t me — it was You.
All the joy around me, Lord, is You.
all the joy around me comes from You.
How could I ever think it was people or things,
It wasn’t them, Lord, it was You.
it wasn’t them — it was You.
But my world fell apart, Lord; where are You?
everything’s wrong and I’m tired, where are You?
I feel so helpless…to be happy seems a dream….
Oh my God, what has happened? Where are you?
Dear God, what has happened? Where are you?
Now that I’m helpless, what can I do?
I feel so helpless, what can I do?
What a wretched man am I — who will rescue me from this?
Now, Lord, what can I do.
What can I do…what can I do.
There is nothing I can do, Lord, it’s all You!
there is nothing I can do, it’s all You!
Now I’m helpless…and broken…and desperate…and lost…
Finally! – You can use me — I’m in You!
Oh my God, please forgive me — I forgot You!
Dear God – forgive me — I forgot You.
Your Spirit is alive, and working within me.
I praise your mercy, I love You.
I praise your mercy, I love You.
All the good in me, Lord, is through You.
all the good in me is through You.
Thanks be to God, through Jesus Christ our Lord,
All the good in me, Lord, is through You.
all this good in me came through You.
Galatians 2:20 and 5:16-26
What are you more conscious of today — your sins, or the forgiveness of your sins? If your answer is “my sins,” then I encourage you to read this post. For Jesus came to finish the sin issue between you and God. He came to satisfy everything God had against you.
Paul said, It is for freedom that Christ has set you free. You are not free if you live with condemnation, that gnawing sense that you’re always blowing it; that God is constantly disappointed, disgusted or mad at you. I lived that way for years. My freedom and rest level was zero.
For years I believed that when Jesus said, It is finished, He just meant He had completed His work on earth and now was going to heaven to be with His Father. Then one day I saw it: IT IS FINISHED. The sin issue has been finished in the eyes of God! The perfect Lamb of God had met God’s stringent requirements of righteousness, and had laid down His life for you and me. All that was left for me to do was receive it. When you received Christ, you received complete forgiveness, once, and for all eternity, in Him. But are you experiencing it yet?
The Cross is everything! Here’s what happened there:
- Jesus stood in for you and as you. He took the punishment for the sins of the whole world, including yours — past, present and future — upon Himself.
- When He died, all of your sins were carried away, even the ones you haven’t committed yet. You see, when Jesus died, all of your sins were in the future! God exhausted His wrath on His beloved Son, so you could go free. When you believed in and on Jesus, God placed you in Christ forever. There is no more sacrifice for sin left. None.
- In God’s view, it’s over. “For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and lawless acts I will remember no more.” Hebrews 8:12. Let it sink in.
- It gets even more astounding: When Jesus took your sin upon Himself; the Bible says He gave you His righteousness.
- Jesus became Sin and you became Righteousness. How could you be made righteous in God’s eyes when you were a sinner? The same way Jesus became sin in God’s eyes even though He was completely righteous: God’s miraculous grace!
- The old system of living by rules and regulations to earn God’s blessings and favor was also finished! The new covenant of favor in Christ and being led from within by the Holy Spirit had begun.
When you really understand the weight of what happened at the Cross, you will never be the same. The condemnation on your shoulders (you may be so used to this that you don’t even feel it) will lift off and evaporate. Then and only then will you be free to live life as God intended: Christ in you, through you — because you will finally be at rest from your own works.
You will never be able to satisfy God through your efforts to live by the 10 commandments, not now, not ever. Never.
Jesus is God’s satisfaction. Will you finally receive it?
Gal 5:1; John 19:30; 1 John 2:2; Heb 9:14; Heb 8:12; Heb 8:10; 2 Cor 5:21; Rom 8:1; Heb 9:26
Have you ever experienced someone who knows you well saying “you’ve changed” (grown, matured, etc.), and you were surprised because not only did you not notice the growth, you didn’t “do” anything to grow? This is one of the most encouraging statements you can hear if you’re someone who wants to grow in your faith.
I heard this for the first time years ago, when one of my sisters announced to me, “before you became a believer in Christ you were “much more negative…. you’ve really changed.” For the record, I didn’t even know I was “negative” before (I just thought I had a bit of a sarcastic sense of humor, haha), so I was equally clueless that I had changed. The fact is, I had changed with no effort at all! I had changed unconsciously and permanently without even trying! Have you changed effortlessly? Yes you have, if you are a believer. You see, you cannot help but grow if you have Christ inside you. His nature will eventually manifest through you.
But just how does real, permanent growth take place without effort? Jesus said look at a grapevine and its branches. He said a branch will bear (grow) fruit just by staying attached to the vine! Likewise, a Christian will grow spiritually just by staying attached to the vine (Christ)! That sounds…almost…simple.
For many years I asked “How do I stay attached to the vine? Tell me how to abide.” I believed I had to DO something to stay connected to God. “Come on, just tell me how to DO it.” Have you ever felt this way? Well, how does a branch stay attached to the vine? It just rests where it is. Here is how we stay attached: We rest where we already are in Him.
The critical question then becomes, “Do you know where you already are in Him?” If you can’t answer “Yes” to that question, then your growth — the true effortless, permanent kind — will be slow. Why? Because you will be spending your time working on yourself and getting discouraged. You weren’t meant to do it that way.
The secret to growing spiritually: Learn where you already are in Christ because of His efforts, His finished work on the Cross. Come and learn, come and receive, come and trust in what you already have in Him.
“By his divine power, God has given us everything we need for living a godly life. We have received all of this by coming to know him, the one who called us to himself by means of his marvelous glory and excellence.” 1 Pet 1:3.
Jesus Christ loved you enough to give Himself to you. The old you died with Him, and now He lives in you, the new you. Now you live by His faith. Galatians 2:20
Striving will diminish, and resting will flourish. Growth will be effortless. That’s the abundant life Jesus promised to you and me.
Have you experienced some effortless growth you’d like to share?
I am your place of refuge, rest, comfort and beauty — the abiding place of your affections. All your needs are met in Me, and I satisfy your true desires. My living water flows to quench your thirst and fill your life with good things. It’s here at home that I refresh and restore your soul.
I provide everything you need at just the right time. I forgive all your sins, heal all your diseases, and crown you with love and tender mercies. I joyfully renew your youth. I am the place of perfect love, and I surround you with a peace that you will never know elsewhere.
Will you make your home in Me?
When you make Me your refuge, I will shelter you from harm, and my promises will protect you. You won’t be afraid of storms, disasters, diseases or terrorists. When you call on me I will answer you. I will be with you in trouble, and I will rescue you!
I see you seek refuge in other homes, and I wait patiently, longing for your return. I prepare a table for you that’s always ready, always waiting. I delight in you, and miss you when you’re away. I search for you from a distance, and my heart leaps when I see you returning. Oh how I want to be your home every day, all day; you have no idea how much I want this.
I have made My home in you; will you make your home in Me?
John 14:23, Psalm 103, Psalm 145, Psalm 23, Psalm 90, Psalm 91, Luke 15