29th August 2011
- “Not now becomes never” Martin Luther
A friend teaches that the most powerful thing you can do to get out of debt is “the snowball effect”. Everybody knows how troubling debt is, and even more so, how foolish it is to ignore it – the many years that some spend overlooking the effects of poor budgeting is fearsome. Nonetheless, there is not one who would also not testify of God’s grace at work to protect and help them, despite mistakes daily made.
The ‘snowball effect” works because it advocates attacking debt in a different way! Begin by putting all your debts on the table before you, and pick the smallest one, and work hard to pay it off. When it is discharged, continue your payments plus the interest that is now released, to start clearing the next smallest debt until it is also paid off completely, and so on until all your debt is wiped out! This approach creates a snowball effect that builds and accelerates until all your debt is literally overwhelmed and obliterated.
God’s added glory works in the same way: when God finds you, he gets you with your baggage. He removes the control and power that the old man/nature had over you (your “sin-dominated nature” – Romans 3:23), and more so, he gives you his righteousness (Romans 3:21). This first step is not gradual, but instant. It is eternal and final. You are secured eternally (2 Thessalonians 2:16). But, his righteousness in you is also the ability to obey; the power to achieve; the holiness to celebrate; the anointing to breakthrough; the strength to build, and the joy to understand that the comfort that you have been given is eternal – this is the “new man” Paul speaks of (Ephesians 4, Colossians 3; 2 Corinthians 3) – it is the life of Jesus Christ in you (Colossians 1:27). Paul writes to the Thessalonians that God comforts us eternally with good hope through grace, and then establishes us in every good work and word.
Note that after he comforts us eternally he then establishes us in every good work and word. Next to obvious sins therefore, the worse thing we can do is to be overwhelmed by what still needs to be done in us. Rather, since, as with the Galatians, we begin only in the Spirit (Galatians 3), let us continue in the same way – in fellowship with the Spirit (2 Corinthians 13).
In summary therefore:
First, we need to let the Spirit do what he wants. When we are faced by something in us, to resist the temptation to fret about it, but to go to God – God must come first always – let us get this right. Obviously, we do not continue to sin (1 John 3:9), but there is a massive difference between someone who takes the burden on, and another who gives it to God in faith and trust. Jesus himself, faced every situation with faith in God, and from within his relationship with the Father. He said, “I do nothing on my own but speak just what the Father has taught me” (John 8:28)
Second, God who is kind and gracious will probably begin only with the things that we can cope with – it might be our debt, or our attitude, or any other thing. Strife; frustration; fear; discouragement are less due to the size of a problem, than that we have not been obedient in the one little thing the Spirit is speaking to us about. God himself foretells this work of grace. To the Israelites, he said, “The LORD your God will drive out those nations before you, little by little. You will not be allowed to eliminate them all at once, or the wild animals will multiply around you” (Deuteronomy 7:22). Paul explains this also in his first letter to the Corinthians, “And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it” (1 Corinthians 10:13).
Third, the key of the process of grace in building greater waves of glory are thus maintaining joy and happiness despite what we know still needs to be done. I have seen the strong symbiosis between faith and joy – they help to support each other in us. Faith says even in the most desperate times, “Spring up o well, and all that is within me”, so that joy mounts; our attitude is instantly changed from our perspective, to God’s! Joy, on the other hand, says, “Is it not time to take a fresh step; a more risky leap? Did Jesus not say that whatever you ask of the Father in my name he will give it to you? Is there not more to your faith than being full of joy? Step out mighty son or daughter – there is much more, and it will gladden your heart to see the many waves of glory that it will release in you and in others!”
Keep on. Loys