Friday, February 17, 2017

Adversity and Grace

One of my favorite Christian authors is Jerry Bridges. His book The Discipline of Grace has been so helpful in my life. The crux of the book is an exhortation to rest in God's unfailing grace, rather than our daily performance. It is here that Bridges introduces the oft repeated insight that a Christian must, "Preach the gospel to himself every day." Through this we remind ourselves that our standing before God is all of grace from start to finish, and every moment in between.

The final chapter is entitled "The Discipline of Adversity." I can only assume the author put this last because adversity and trials are so dreadful. Passages like James 1:2-4 are easy to understand but hard to apply when the tidal wave of hardship has crushed me.

Here are a few of the closing lines from the chapter:

"Learning to live by grace instead of by performance helps us to accept the discipline of adversity. For one thing, we realize that God is not disciplining us because of our bad performance but, on the contrary, because of His love for us. We also learn to accept that whatever our situation is, it is far better than we deserve."

Keep this in mind when you are experiencing suffering or hardship. Wade out into God's "river of grace" and stand there. Let the current wash away your self judgements as it pushes you further into the loving arms of your Heavenly Father. Preach the gospel to yourself and receive this truth: Nothing "will be able separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord." (Romans 8:39b)


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