“If you love me, you will keep my commandments. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate, to be with you forever. This is the spirit of truth.” This passage is from the 14th chapter of John. Christ is speaking of the Holy Spirit.
I’ve always struggled with acceptance. I’m afraid I always will. I think one of the greatest fears humans experience is the fear and painful sting of rejection. It keeps many from stepping out of their comfort zone. It paralyzes us with fear.
Those that step into leadership positions, either by a calling or through their own ambition, immediately become targets for their own shortcomings and those of whatever it is they are leading.
The church is one place where acceptance should be found. Unfortunately, that doesn’t always happen. Many have walked away hurt, confused and bitter because they have been looked down upon or treated as inferior.
What a terrible thing it is not to be accepted for who you are, regardless of how others think. It is okay to disagree, it is not okay to judge, dismiss or take humanity from those that we disagree with.
Not being accepted is hurtful and causes anxiety. Having said all that, true acceptance can only be found in God and his grace. There are areas within our souls that cannot be touched or healed by others. That healing and acceptance can only come from our triune God.
It is frustrating and not fair to ask of others only what God can provide. Even having been a pastor for almost two years I still struggle with this.
Author of Incomplete
“For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth takes its name. I pray that, according to the riches of his glory, he may grant that you may be strengthened in your inner being with power through his Spirit, and that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith, as you are being rooted and grounded in love.
I pray that you may have the power to comprehend, with all the saints, what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, so that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. Now to him who by the power at work within us is able to accomplish abundantly far more than all we can ask or imagine, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.”
For this reason. For this reason…and what reason is that? Paul had just written that he was the very least of all the saints and it was God’s grace that was granted to him to preach the boundless riches of Christ.
For and because of God’s grace, it is that for that reason that Paul’s knees bow before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth takes its name. God’s grace is the reason.
Salvation by grace through faith. This unlimited treasure of grace. Let me ask you this question, do you allow yourself to be full open to receive grace? Are you able to fully receive it and extend it to others?
I am guilty of this. I am guilty of not taking the time to reflect on all that God has done for me and taking many times for granted. I am guilty of being closed off to grace at times and of trying to do something to earn it.
Maybe you have done the same. Gone through a time of spiritual dryness or struggle. Trying to balance the demands of ministry, family, your own spiritual growth and for those of us that are bi-vocational, a full-time job as well. Too many things to get done, allowing little time to reflect on God’s work in our own lives.
Paul was a man that suffered many hardships for the sake of the gospel. He became a servant according to the gift of God’s grace. As we all know Paul wasn’t always a servant for Christ. He persecuted Christians and tried to extinguish the early church. God’s redeeming work and grace took a man that killed Christians and made him a man that would help save them.
Paul is the most prolific writer in the New Testament. If grace can change a heart that hard, what can it do for each of us? What each one of us are capable of. For this reason, for the saving grace of our God, my knees bow before the Father.
Pastor Shawn LaRue
Author of Incomplete