Make the Connection
It is interesting what our self-perceptions can be and how we can think one area in our life is strength only to find out that it is one of our greatest weaknesses. As God has brought kind trials into my life, He has been gracious enough to bring godly men to help me see through God’s word how my perceived strengths can actually be big weaknesses, points of self-righteousness, and down-right poor character. Recently God has been pointing out that I am a lot less teachable than I thought, and because of my hardness in teachability and communication I find conflict in my other relationships as well. What a surprise! My sin actually affects those around me! Hmm... not quite a surprise but the point is well taken.
In the past as areas of needed growth have been pointed out I responded in one of two ways. 1) Attempt to muster up enough will power to make those needed changes in my life, or 2) set up a list of tasks that if I manage to keep them I was sure change would happen. Often times one of these solutions would lead me right into the other, sending me in a cycle of attempting to control my own sanctification apart from the Spirit of God in me (Romans 15:16 ) and apart from the Grace that God offers to a submitted heart (James 4:6 ) and apart from Christ Himself (Colossians 2:6 ).
One of my Goals for this year has been to in faith connect a scripture passage to what God is changing in my life as a means of “drawing nigh unto God” (James 4:8 ) who in return “draws nigh” unto me.
In regards to what God has been changing in me lately, God has connected me to Ephesians 1:15-23 . The Apostle Paul gives four resources that each believer has in Christ that God has used in my life over and over again as He is working Christ-likeness in me.
Resource 1: Hope (1:18a)– Christ offers hope that change can and will happen to one who walks in faith. Hope in Christ however is not like hope in a person. It is “confident expectation of a guaranteed result” We can grow in Christ-likeness because it is the author and finisher of our faith that can make it so.
Resource 2: Riches (1:18b) – Hudson Taylor was known for his faith in the Lord’s provision. He was quoted as admitting that he could not believe that God was “poor” and couldn’t provide. The riches in Christ however span farther than earthly and material provision. 1 Peter 1:3 tells us that he has “given unto us all things that pertaining unto life and godliness.” Christ has riches of Godliness for the giving as well!
Resource 3: Power (1:19-20) – In Christ we find both inability and complete ability. On our own we are completely unable to submit to God. We are completely unable to love Him. We are completely unable to change ourselves into His likeness. However God has given us the same power with which he raised Jesus from the dead. His power is working within us!
Resource 4: Headship of Christ (1:22-23) Christ is sovereignly ruling over all things at this very moment. I have often been encouraged to “rest under authority.” This means rest in their decision and instruction because the weight is on them. We can rest under the authority of God’s will as Christ reigns. We can trust the Lord as He tests and spiritually filets us in order to show us who we are, and how we need Him! God’s word promises blessing, offers hope, and is how our kind creator chose to communicate with us. His word is alive and it will change our lives. Connect Scripture to your life and situations and experience the deep satisfaction of our Savior. Make the connection!