But for the grace of God, there go I
Patrick M. Morley
READ Jeremiah 12:1-13:27
SITUATION Jeremiah complained to God that the People of Israel were evil and questioned God's justice regarding these people. God responded that he will punish Israel, but he also would restore them in his mercy and grace.
OBSERVATION While it is tempting to judge other Christians, we shouldn't look down on them. Instead, we should reach out to them with God's love and mercy.
INSPIRATION Not everyone has the strength of courage and character to live a life worthy of the calling they have received. To live up to our calling is itself a gift from God. "But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it" (Ephesians 4:7, NIV). Some of us are impeded from living up to Christ. It may be a troubled childhood, a tough marriage, difficult children, or . . . you may have seen too much evil.
If Christ has apportioned you with enough grace to live a life worthy of the calling you received, are you applying it? . . . Many Christians under-apply their grace. It is such a waste.
If you are living a life worthy of the calling you received, how do you treat your weaker brother? Do you look in disgust at another who can't quite seem to get his act together? Does your mind get stuck thinking about how weak he is? Pray for him, that God's grace to him may increase. Fall to your face and implore God to have mercy on your weaker brother or sister with tears of remorse. Thank Him with tears of gratitude that He has mercifully given you so much grace. Why should it be the other person and not you that is weak? There is no reason expect the grace Christ has apportioned to you at His sole discretion. "But for the grace of God, there go I."
. . . Every Christian is one for whom Christ died. If Jesus thought that person was worth dying for, why do you despise him? . . .
Let us, therefore, concentrate on living up to the calling we have received. Part of our calling is to bear with our weaker brothers, to not revel in the smug satisfaction that we overcome it is because of the grace apportioned to us. And if we ourselves are not living a life worthy of our calling, then ask for more grace. Work our your salvation with fear and trembling but know that the strength of courage and character to do so comes from the grace apportioned to you. (From Walking with Christ in the Details of Life by Patrick M. Morley)
APPLICATION On what issues do you disagree with other believers-- a disagreement caused because you both want to honor God and do what is best? How can you best show love (as opposed to giving them "right answers") to help them live out their faith?
EXPLORATION Judging Others -- Psalm 1:1; Matthew 13:40-43; John 8:7; 1 Corinthians 4:5; 1 Corinthians 5:12.
The Devotional Bible - Experiencing the Heart of Jesus - Max Lucado General Editor, Thomas Nelson Publishers, New Century Version.