Living By Grace
with Chip Brogden
What is grace? Grace is more than just a theological term used to describe how we are saved. Grace is the power of God at work in my life to do what cannot be done through my own strength. Grace is energizing and proactive. When I have reached the end of myself then Grace Himself takes over and does what I am unable to do. In the first place, what I cannot do is save myself, and so I trust in the Grace of God, Jesus Christ, to save me. But Grace will not only bring me through the Gate; He will bring me down the Path. Grace does not just get me started in the right direction, but goes along with me every step of the way; for Grace is a Man!
When we cease doing what we cannot do, then He begins to do what we cannot. The problem is that we still think we can do so many things. We must learn sooner, rather than later, that “apart from Me you can do nothing” (Jn. 15:5b). Nothing! But it is human nature to try to do it ourselves. This human nature is the flesh. It prevents us from entering into Grace. God cannot save someone who is still trying to save themselves. Similarly, God cannot do what we are still trying to do. He will wait — weeks, months, or years — until we have exhausted our strength. When our strength is completely gone and we finally go to Him in weakness, then He becomes our strength and we find Grace is there to do the impossible. Then we know it was not us, but the Lord. All praise goes to Him, and we retain nothing for ourselves.
See how many times the disciples tried to correct the Lord. See how many times they argued with the Lord. See how many times their thoughts contradicted the Master. See how many times they urged Him to take action. And the Lord, ever patient, would correct them. In every case we see that He is the Lord, and they are the disciples. The roles must never be confused. He is the Master, and we are His servants. He is the Teacher, and we are His students. He is the Director, and we are His employees. He is the Leader, and we are His followers. We do not command Him, but He commands us. We do not direct Him, but He directs us. We do not teach Him, but He teaches us. We do not lead Him, but He leads us. He was not created for us, but we were created for Him. He does not serve us according to our pleasure, but we serve Him according to His pleasure.
So we must be adjusted to Him, and not the other way around. The Lord will never apologize to us and say, “I’m sorry, I was wrong. We’ll do it your way.” How laughable! How absurd! But we often live as if we expect Him to do that very thing. We have not humbled ourselves.
All those who want power with God must come to see that His power is released through our weakness (see 2 Cor. 12:9). Realize that you are weak: whether you admit it or not, and the power of humility is in recognizing and agreeing before God that we really can do nothing ourselves.