GRACE TO LIVE BY
If you a believer in Jesus, I want you to note this very carefully:
Your life is not an accident; you are not an afterthought. The events of your life are predetermined by the wisdom of God.
God is not interested in your ambition; He is not interested in your self generated dreams and aspirations. What He wants is for you to know that He has a plan for your life and for you to make it your goal in life to fulfil that plan.
Let us see how the Psalmist expressed it.
“For Thou didst form my inward parts; Thou didst weave me in my mother’s womb.
“I will give thanks to Thee for I am fearfully and wonderfully made…
“Thine eyes have seen mine unformed substance; and in Thy book they were all written, the days that were ordained for me, when as yet there was not one of them.” Ps139
If you are a Child of God you must realize that every detail of your life was recorded by God even before you were born. You must have read about Jeremiah who God told:
“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you;
“I have appointed you a prophet to the nations.”
Paul also wrote a similar thing about his own life.
“(He) had set me apart from my mother’s womb, and called me through His grace…”
I’ll love for you to understand that these things are not peculiar to these people but that the same things apply to every one of God’s children; the difference is in how much each one fulfils what God wrote down concerning their lives.
It is important we realize the possibility of not fulfilling the written counsel of God for our lives. The fact that it is written by God is not a guarantee that it will come to pass. This is where the issue of faith comes in. You have to determine in your heart that what is written concerning you will be fulfilled. This was the case with Jesus; many things had been written in God’s book for His life, the ultimate being the sacrifice on the cross. The cross was a difficult thing to experience, so difficult that even Jesus, with all His spiritual development, did not want to go through it. However, His mind was made up that the things that were written concerning Him, which represented the will of God, must be fulfilled.
“Then I said, ‘Behold, I have come (in the roll of the book it is written of me) to do Thy will, O God’”
“Father, if thou art willing, remove this cup from me; but not My will but Thine be done”
“Now My soul has become troubled; and what shall I say, ‘Father save me from this hour?’ But for this purpose I came to this hour.”
That sense of purpose is what the Lord is requiring of His disciples; that is the kind of faith that we are told to emulate. I mentioned about faith earlier briefly, but let us talk about it in more detail at this time since it particularly has to do with the issue at hand.
As I mentioned, living our lives with a sense of the predetermined plan of God for our lives is the faith we are told to emulate. In Hebrews 11, we read about the heroes of faith; in the first verse of the 12th chapter they are called our cloud of witnesses who have left examples of faith for us. Now in verse 2 we are told not to focus on them but to focus on Jesus.
…fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame…
The reason we are told to focus on Jesus is because He is the only one who lived faith to the fullness of it. That is the meaning of ‘the author and perfecter’. The completeness of His faith is explained as the obedience to the will of God on the issue of the cross. Do you see that?
The completeness of faith, therefore, is the strict compliance to the predetermined plan and purpose of God for your life.
You see, faith is trust. If I really have faith in God, I will have to trust Him to take complete charge of my life; I will have to be willing to follow His plans for me, trusting that they are the best there can be for me. That is faith. My trust in His wisdom, love and faithfulness concerning my life is the reason that I commit my all into His hands; anything less is an extremely deficient faith in the life of a Christian.
There is something I want you to know about the plan of God concerning you and that is the fact that He has specially designed you for that plan and purpose. Look again at the Psalm 139 we read earlier:
“For thou didst form my inward parts…
“I am fearfully and wonderfully made…’
God formed your inward parts to fit your assignment in life just like the manufacturer of a car puts all the necessary components into the car to make it able to perform the functions of a car. God will not demand of you to be a boat if He formed you to be a car. However, a lot of believers are trying to be just what He has not formed them to be and are forever having problems and may even end up shortening their lives. After all, how long will the car that is trying to be a boat last?
When He said you have been fearfully and wonderfully made, He wasn’t saying you are Mr. Universe or Miss World; rather He was saying you are most perfectly suited for the function for which you have been born. Put in the proper perspective, you are literally beautiful in you own time. No one can be better than you in doing that thing that you have been fashioned to do. There is a husband or wife that is perfectly suited for you; to him or her you are exquisitely beautiful.
Another thing I want you to know today is that when you are following God’s plan for your life, that is you are doing what it is that He has called you to do, you will find out that God’s power will be revealed in such a manner that the assignment will seem to be running automatically. This is what Jesus meant when He said, “…the Father abiding in Me does His works”. That is what is called ‘grace.’
“…by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me did not prove vain; but I labored more than all of them, yet not I, but the grace of God with me.”
Now, let us talk about grace for a minute.
Grace is more than the ‘unmerited favour’ that we have called it; rather it is the power of God working in favour of those that are exercising faith in Him. We may use the words of Paul to describe it as “the exceeding greatness of His power that works towards those who believe”.
Remember that we explained earlier that real faith has to do with following God’s plan for one’s life. Now, when you are doing that, the grace of God is released to make that work easy. This was the experience of Paul when he said “I labored…yet not I, but the grace of God with me”.
Listen again; when a man is following God’s assignment for His life, the work receives the power to run. All the unnecessary difficulty you have been facing is probably because you are doing what He has not called you to do, or you are doing it in the wrong way. This is how Oswald Chambers described it:
“Watch the things that exhaust you and you will find you are doing something outside God’s arrangement for you. There are things for which His life supplies no energy and we get spent right out. If we are doing things inside God’s arrangement for us, the natural exhaustion is so quickly recuperated by the resurrection life of Jesus that we do not feel the exhaustion.”
Bishop David Oyedepo said it this way:
“Whatever God commands He backs up; we are here by commandment, therefore results are guaranteed.”
There is also something you need to know about judgement day.
“And I saw the dead, the great and the small, standing before the throne, and books were opened; and another book was, which is the book of life; and the dead were judged from the things that were written in the books, according to their deeds.”
Now, I believe that the books that were opened were those written before the life of each individual, as we saw earlier from Psalm 139, and that each person is judged based on how much their lives conformed to the things that were written beforehand concerning them.
If this be true, then I think we must give every energy to following this plan of God for our lives. The question now is, “how do I know what the plan of God for my life is?”
Discovering God’s plan for your life is much easier than people think; it only becomes difficult when we do not follow it the proper way. The first thing you need to know is that God does not frequently reveal His will by a fantastic supernatural manifestation. Sometimes He does, but those are the exceptions; I therefore advise that you stop expecting a dream or a vision or a voice; there is no guarantee that you will get one. If God decides that you need to have one, you will definitely get it, whether you have fasted or not.
The truth is that the plan of God or the calling of God for your life is woven into your inward parts and it will manifest naturally if you put two things in place.
The first thing is that you must be connected to God in your daily life by being filled with the word, both in knowledge and in practice. What good will it do a television to pray to have it’s purpose in life revealed when it is not connected to electricity? It would have naturally manifested the abilities of it’s inward parts if only there was a connection. The word of God carries the electricity of God, which will make manifesting your calling in life an automatic process.
The kingdom of God is like a man who casts seed upon the soil…the seed sprouts up and grows- how, he himself does not know.
The second thing you must have in place is the eradication of the choking influence on the fruitfulness of the word of God.
“For anyone of the house of Israel or of the immigrants who stay in Israel who separates himself from Me, sets up his idol in his heart, puts right before his face the stumbling block of his iniquity, and then comes to the prophet to inquire of Me for himself, I the Lord will be brought to answer him in My own person.
“And I will set my face against that man and make him a sign and a proverb…” Ez14v7.
The calling and plan of God for many people cannot come forth as easily as we alluded to earlier because they have obstructed their own visions by their idols. These idols are nothing but the cares of this world and the craving for wealth. (See the tract ‘I Shall Not Want’ for more on this.)
You see, people’s choices are often dictated by material rewards; jobs are usually chosen with the quantity of the pay packet as the primary consideration. All the jobs most believers pray for and ‘claim by faith’ are the high paying jobs. You see, pay is never an indication of God’s will; all He has promised is that “they that fear the Lord will not lack any good thing”. You will not be able to locate God’s will for you until you remove the need to have financial security and the competitive spirit from your eyes. Mammon is the greatest contender with God for the attention of His children. He made them upright, but they sought out many devices.
Once your heart is cleansed of these things, those inner desires and gifting of God in your life will begin to manifest by themselves. Those are the things that bring joy to your heart while you do them or even while just thinking about them; these are the things you never get tired of doing; you would do them whether you are paid for the services or not. They seem to come out of you compulsorily. That is what is meant in Psalm 40,8 by “Thy law is within my heart”. It means I just can’t help doing it; it brings me joy and fulfilment.
Friend, it is not every job that is yours and it is not an exercise of faith to claim it. In the same manner, not everything that makes money requires your participation; faith is recognizing that there is something you are the best at doing because God formed your inwards parts for it and, money or no money, that you will stick with until your righteousness shines forth as the noon-day sun.
This, my friend is how to live by grace: following God’s plan for your life.
“…not by power, nor by (human) might, but by My Spirit” says the Lord.
If you have just read this and you have not yet committed your life into God’s hands, know that you can do that by coming to God through His Son Jesus Christ. You may wish to pray this prayer:
“Father, I come to you in the name of Jesus.
“I commit my life into your hands; wash away my past and give me a new life in Jesus;
“Your plan for my life, help me to follow.
“I accept Him (Jesus) today as my Lord today.
“Teach me to love you.
“In Jesus’ name.”