13/05/17Our Father God, through the sacrifice of His Son Jesus Christ, has already done all that He is ever going to do to bless mankind. Contrary to what some believe, God is not seated in heaven with His hands folded, waiting for us to work on Him and motivate Him to come and help us by our praying, or fasting or anything else we might do. Through His grace as worked out in Christ, He has already provided, and He is now waiting on us to respond to what He has done, so that we can receive. It is not our performance that makes Him move to help us. .
Discovering this truth that what I do is a response to what God has already done rather than a means of getting to Him to act on my behalf was a turning point in my personal relationship with God. It was a great relief to know that before I even ever existed or had any need, Papa God, in anticipation of my needs, sent His Son to save me, and through Jesus’ death, burial and resurrection, God provided everything I would need to live the Christian life.
Jesus is full of grace
John chapter one and verse 14, says,
‘And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth’.
When Jesus walked the earth, He was full of grace. If anyone with needs hung around Jesus, that person would soon experience the grace of God meeting their needs, unless they failed to believe. Since the Lord is the same yesterday, today and forever (Hebrews 13:8), He is still just as full of grace as He was when He was on earth.
Grace is God favouring us and moving to meet our needs without us meriting or earning them. Jesus revealed to us that God is gracious. He is a God who saves, heals, forgives, protects, blesses and lifts up people who don’t deserve it. All that God requires is that people put faith in His love and grace.
When Jesus was on earth, He carried the power of God in Him wherever He went, and anybody who would believe would draw on this power and receive healing or forgiveness or whatever they needed. This power in Jesus was present because God willed it so in order to help people. The people who believed that Jesus had this power available to help them received; those who didn’t believe, thinking they needed to first be good enough and then Jesus might find them worthy of being helped didn’t receive. People had to respond to the power which was already in Jesus. The Lord didn’t waiting for people to perform to certain standards before deciding whether or not to avail God’s power to them.
The woman with the issue of blood responded to the power in Jesus
The story of the woman with the issue of blood in Mark chapter 5 illustrates this truth clearly. Verse 27 of Mark Chapter 5 says that this woman heard about Jesus, and what she heard prompted her to begin telling herself, ‘If I may touch but his clothes, I shall be whole’. At that time in Israel, a woman with an issue of blood was considered ritually unclean and she wasn’t permitted to touch or even come close to other people. This meant she was disqualified from the start to merit healing from a holy prophet like Jesus.
But obviously what this woman heard was that Jesus was a different Man. She was told that the Lord was so full of grace that anybody, clean or unclean, could touch Him without being punished for it. She heard that Jesus didn’t respond to people based on how good they were or how well they performed, but rather that Jesus was walking around with the power of God in Him, available for anyone who would respond to Him in faith and draw on that power.
This was very good news to a woman who had spent 12 years unable to associate with other people. She knew she didn’t deserve to be healed on her own merits. She was broke, having spent all her money on physicians. She was lonely, depressed and helpless. However, the gospel of the grace of Jesus came to this woman and she chose to believe it. She decided that she was going to do all it took to respond to the power of God in Jesus. She knew that the power she needed to heal her was in Jesus waiting for her to partake of. She responded to that power in faith and she was totally healed. Her action of touching the hem of Jesus’ garment wasn’t to merit or buy the healing power in Jesus, but to receive it. That power had been made available by grace to everybody!
You are blessed
If you are a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ, the Bible says God has already blessed you with all available spiritual blessings in heavenly places (spiritual realms):
‘Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ’ - Ephesians 1:3
This means we don’t have to think that we first have to perform to a certain standard before God will decide whether or not to bless us. Our Papa God has (past tense) already blessed us in Christ.
In 2 Peter 1:3, we are told that God’s ‘divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue’
If you are born again, God has already given you everything you will ever need to live for Him, and to fulfil His will for your life. Forgiveness, healing, deliverance, provision, deliverance, intimacy with God, peace, joy, anointing - all of these things have already been lavishly supplied for every believer through God’s grace. Therefore, it is not right to think that we have to work on God, put pressure on Him or do all these other things to move God to meet our needs. We don’t have to push God into a corner with our much performance until finally God gets fed up and releases something! We don’t have to motivate God to help us. He is already motivated. In fact He was motivated to save the world and help people before any of us ever showed up.
Jesus’ payment was more than enough
Through His death, burial and resurrection, Jesus provided all that we shall ever need. And He did this without us first asking or convincing Him. Hebrews 2:9 says that by the grace of God Jesus tasted death for every man. This means we don’t have to do anything to earn whatever it is that Jesus died to make available to mankind. All we have to do is receive!
All our praying, and believing, and fasting, and giving, and whatever else are only avenues through which we receive what God has already provided for us by grace. These are not prices we pay God so He can pay us back with blessings! It is an insult to the grace of God to think we have to pay for what Christ already paid. The price Jesus paid for us to be blessed was enough, more than enough and it doesn’t honour Him when we try to add to what He did! Anything anybody ever received from God was paid for by Jesus, and therefore they got it free!
He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things' Romans 8:32
My prayer life changed
This understanding that it is me responding to God’s grace, and not God responding to my performance has had a powerful impact on my prayer life especially. Before I got hold of this revelation, I used to spend hours begging God to do things for me or others. I thought unless I groaned and moaned and showed how desperate I was, God would not be motivated enough to get off His throne and give me what I needed.
But now, I know that Papa God, in His great love for me, has already provided all that I will ever need, and He desires even more than I do that I have these things manifested and experienced in the now of my life. So instead of spending long periods begging and pleading and hoping God might find me worthy of getting something from Him, I spend most of my prayer time developing my relationship with Him through meditation in the Word, and praise. My ‘asking’ prayers have become a lot shorter. And I find that I actually spend more time now in fellowship with God than when it was all about trying to make God respond to me.
In the past, prayer used to be a chore. I would feel worn out after times of prayer. Most of my prayer time was taken up with struggling and fighting things. I prayed because I had to, as a duty. Yes, I did enjoy prayer some of the time but not most of the time. But now prayer leaves me rejuvenated almost all the time. Prayer leaves me light in my spirit. Prayer adds something to me, rather than take something out of me. And so I just love to spend time that much more time with Papa God. Oh yes, there are still times I have to engage in fights, but this no longer takes most of the time.
And when I engage in fights, it isn’t with God! Usually, it is either with my own flesh or some demonic opposition. Daddy God is awesomely good, and like all good fathers, He has already moved to provide for me all that I will ever need. I don’t have to spend hours trying to get Him motivated to act in my favour. Papa God loves it when I am able to receive what He has already provided for me. He wants me to enjoy what Jesus paid so dearly for me to have.
I pray that every believer will grasp the revelation that relating with and receiving from God isn’t meant to be so complicated. When we think that we are dealing with a God who is aloof, waiting for us to pray until we move Him to act, we lack confidence. We are never sure if we have done enough. We are always on tension wondering whether God is finally satisfied with our performance or He is still requiring that we do some more. But when we know that our loving Father has already made provision for us, and that He so much wants us to receive and experience what He has provided, we approach Him with confidence. We rest in His goodness and faithfulness.
Too many Christians are not really enjoying their walk with Jesus, and I believe one of the reasons is this attitude that we have to work on God to make Him respond to us! When you take this deeper, actually it is our flesh that thrives on this attitude. The flesh longs to have credit, and if we can pride ourselves that it is our much praying, or fasting, or giving that moves God to act, the glory actually goes to us, not God. But I believe we all know that God has said He will never share His glory with any man!
God loves you and wants you to enjoy the abundant life Jesus died to give you. Will you respond to His love today, and receive of His bounty? And remember to shower Him back with lots of thanksgiving and praise for His abundant free provision!