Do you have what it takes? Please don’t take offense that I ask you this, because you are going to find out that you do. So, now let me clarify the question: “Do you have what it takes to live your life with a heart on fire for God?” That’s what we want, isn’t it? To live fully alive and happily in love with our God. What does that take?
Certainly, it takes being born again, but there’s more to it than that. Every Christian at new birth needs and gets “the starter kit”: forgiveness of sins, the indwelling Spirit, plus faith in Christ and the Bible. However, the starter kit alone doesn’t keep the fires burning after the honeymoon is over. We know this, because the sad reality is that many Christians lapse into a passion-less embrace of their faith, missing out on a truly passionate embrace of their Lord. That doesn’t have to be you!
What It Takes
How can we avoid it? By having what it takes to stay on fire! That sounds simple enough, but don’t start striking matches yet. Staying on fire requires two things that every Christian has and no Christian wants. Pause to let that sink in. EVERY Christian has these two things. NO Christian wants them. What are they? A sin nature as deep and dark as hell itself and a world full of troubles!
Don’t let this throw you. What I’m about to unfold is simply putting the things of the enemy to good use. This is the Lord’s redemption at its sneaky best. We get to beat the weapons formed against us into plowshares that cultivate, rather than contaminate, our life (Isaiah 2:4). Since you’ve already got that sin nature and that world of trouble, why not turn the tables on the one who gave them to you? Here’s how:
Thing One: A Sin Nature
This maneuver goes by the name “drawing blessing out of depravity.” According to Jesus, those who are forgiven much, love much. Ironically, it helps us to realize afresh each day the reality of our depravity so that we can reap the enjoyment of His mercy being made new to us every morning! The truth is that every stumble, every temptation to sin and every glance at the ruin of Self can be a spring-board which propels us into the heavenlies in heartfelt appreciation for the love and mercy that cover us every instant of our lives.
The ones who know that their sinfulness and weaknesses are incorrigible and without excuse are actually set free to live a life of grace supported by grace alone—if they do the work of believing that His mercy and love are as good as He says they are. See “Spiritual Protection” to refresh your heart in how well this God of Grace has us covered.
Thing Two: A World of Troubles
I call this escape “powering out of problems into grace.” Funny how this works, but we all need troubles to free us from seeking to be our own savior. Self is never a sufficient savior. Troubles can bring us into a place where we finally and fully trust His power at work. But for this we need troubles that are too big (in our own eyes) for us to handle—otherwise we will keep on stressing ourselves trying to manage our lives in our own strength. Sometimes we only learn to trust Jesus when we have no other choice.
The ones who know that their troubles are way beyond their abilities are finally set free to live a life of grace, if they master the art of casting their cares on Him, confidently trusting His unfailing guidance, power and promises. Now catch the wink: Jesus says that there is “nothing” we can do apart from Him (John 15:5). Even the slightest bit of difficulty becomes an invitation to re-experience this glad surrender.
Have You Got What It Takes?
Jesus isn’t going to let anyone miss out on such tremendous opportunities for passionate living, so of course you’ve got what it takes. You’ve got the sin nature and the troubles, right?
Now, cover those two things with faith in His love, mercy and saving power. Cover them completely until you only see Jesus coming to your Rescue. Then, set fire to yourself with a bold, relentless desire to live by trusting to His grace. As you thank God again and again for being such a marvelous Savior, the Spirit will take you up, up, and away…
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