Welcome to your morning coffee! May our Heavenly Father help us to be humble in our relationship with Him. Father, our pride is so strong. Even as we have been born again, our flesh is still weak and broken. Though the power of sin is defeated, the presence remains. Help us Father! In the name of Jesus and by the Spirit please help us to see even our faith in you as a gift. Help us to see that the suffering we experience from the world around us because of Jesus is not a curse, but is itself a gift ftom God. Help us as we say yes to you, no matter what. Amen.
Your Morning Song: "Yet Not I But Through Christ In Me" by CityAlight
Your Morning Scripture: Philippians 1:29-30
For it has been granted to you on behalf of Christ not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for Him, since you are going through the same struggle you saw I had, and now hear that I still have.
A couple of observations about these verses.
Our Heavenly Father, on behalf of Christ, gives us two things. And this phrasing in the English, "granted to you" is not the sort of thing that you earn, but the sort of thing that is given, in this case, on the account of someone else (Christ). This is similar to how finances in college and graduate school work. It costs money to go to school. If you get a loan, you have to pay it back. If you get a grant, you don't. It is given for you to use for the specific purpose of paying for school with no expectation of repayment.
The phrasing here makes it easy to skim past the first thing that we should chew on after this understanding of "granted" to us, given with cost to Christ, but not to ourselves.
It says, "believe in Him." Sometimes I think we forget this (and the second thing granted to us as well, but we'll get there). Our faith in God, through Christ, by the Spirit, is something given to us. We do not earn it. We do not have a punch card for Sundays attended. Our belief in God is itself a gift from God.
What does it look like when we forget this? We read the Bible only when we feel bad or desperate. We get mad at God when life isn't going quite how we want. We compare ourselves to other Christians. We think God owes us. And all of the sudden we have less and less time and love for our brothers and sisters of the church. Unless they have something we want.
Our belief in God is a gift from God. And as Jonathan Edwards said, "the only thing we bring to salvation (this gift), is the sin that makes it necessary." When was the last time we checked our pride? When was the last time we checked ourselves against the God-mirror of the Bible?
Do we live as one who has received a gift, or our due?
If this is true, that belief in God is a gift, then our response should be one of humility, gratitude, and thankfulness, from which real, actual obedience will grow out of. And this is good, because it is the only way to receive the second thing granted to us.
Suffering. Hold on. Suffering? I mean, I like the first thing granted to us, belief in God. But suffering?
With humble hearts, grateful for our salvation, we are ready to receive that which Christ Himself did for us. Suffering. But what specifically is this suffering? The world and those who do not love God, hate God, and all that love God. And this hatred is not an emotion, it is a life choice, a life of choices that says no to God. And says no to those who say yes to God. Our suffering as God's children saved by the suffering of His Son, is the world's rejection.
And this is the granted gift of suffering. The world is rejecting those who have accepted God and been accepted by Him.
Do we act like those whose faith is a gift? Or our due?
Do we risk and embrace the suffering of accepting Christ in our everyday lives? Or do we avoid suffering/rejection from our community by claiming Christ on Sunday and ignoring Him all of the other days of the week?
Do we find ourselves drawn to places and patterns of sin more so than with our church family? Do we accept the life God has granted to us, both now and forever? Or do we live how we want now, and risk forever?
It is likely, that if you're reading this, you have accepted these two gifts granted to you on account of Christ. But many of those who we go to church with on a Sunday morning treat God like He owes them. And they hide from suffering by acting like the world when they are not with us.
A moment will come, and perhaps already has, when you will be able to speak truth in love into their life, and call them to repentance. Perhaps they will listen and repent. Or perhaps they will reject you.
Either way, whatever comes, we are here, together, waiting on the Lord together. Because we have been invited by Jesus. And as we wait, our daily choices will cry out, "Yes Lord!" in a world that shouts, "NO!"