June 12, 2016
For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people. It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, while we wait for the blessed hope—the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ.
The preaching series in the epistles of Peter will now pause, resuming in the fall with 2 Peter. Starting next week we will begin a summer preaching series titled Habits of Grace. Erik Thoennes will launch this series by answering the question How Do We Grow?
The book Habits of Grace by David Mathis, from which the title is taken, is subtitled Enjoying Jesus Through the Spiritual Disciplines.
Does the word “discipline” make you a little nervous? Perhaps it conjures up the need for effort, striving, followed by the inevitable memory of disappointment and failure. We may feel that we are just not “the disciplined type.” Perhaps in the past we tried to be more organized, only to conclude that it was useless. Or maybe our LA Fitness membership is going unused, and our new year’s resolutions for 2016 have already been set aside.
So when it comes to reading God’s word, or prayer or worship or giving or serving or proclamation or fellowship or suffering or great commission living, we may have experienced more failure than success. Why should we assume that this time will be any different?
Just this. God lavishes grace. He doesn’t hoard it. Rather, he looks for ways to pour it out. And here’s where the preaching series comes in. The habits, the disciplines, that we take a week each to unpack, become the means by which we experience God’s blessing. He intends that they become the ways by which we enjoy Jesus.
From David Mathis:
The point is this: God almighty, by his grace and by his Spirit, does not leave us to ourselves when it comes to enjoying Jesus. He helps us. He does not say, “Delight yourself in the Lord,” and then merely stand back and watch se see if we can. He makes a covenant with us and says, “I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes” (Ezek. 36:27). He causes what he commands. Enjoying Jesus is not optional. It is a duty. But it is also a gift – spiritual and gracious. But the gift comes through means.
Pray that in the coming weeks, with the Spirit helping us to embrace these habits anew, we will come to experience God’s grace as he intends.