This post by kathylarkman was originally published at GRACE PLACE
After being away serving with the Oasis refugee ministry in Austria for the last four months, I can’t even tell you how GOOD it felt to be ‘back home’ with the lovely CBC ladies at the Bible Study on Monday. I’ve tried to keep up with the Grace Place blogs and study notes online, but it’s never quite the same as actually being there in person! And wow, what a wonderful feast it was as Kathy continued her teaching on living out God’s grace in our daily lives. Basing her teaching on Titus 2: 11-14, this week’s topic was how we are ‘Trained by God’s Grace.’ Kathy asked me to share some of the things that I took away from this week’s teaching, so here are just a few of the precious gems I picked up:
*Grace is not a ‘thing’ – it’s the person of Jesus Christ Himself! We live solely on the merits of Jesus alone, on our union with Him.
*What Paul wrote to Titus is still totally relevant today. Our heart issues and struggles are just the same. It’s not about challenging good things in a culture (this really struck home to me in relation to refugee ministry) but demonstrating what a household truly devoted to Jesus should look like – in any culture!
*Our salvation and training are inseparable. God doesn’t do one without the other. Being trained by God’s grace is not just learning to say ‘no’ but about saying ‘yes’ too! God’s grace teaches us to say no to ungodliness and worldly passions, but at the same time it trains us to say ‘yes’ to what is Godly and righteous.
*Putting off our bad habits should work simultaneously with putting on the new! (Ephesians 4: 22-24) If we concentrate on one while neglecting the other we will become unbalanced in our Christian walk. In a nutshell: Pay attention to do’s and don’ts in equal measure!
*Paul says to be EAGER to do what is good. If we concentrate on saying ‘yes’ to what is good, we can trust God’s grace to do its work in our lives, helping us, strengthening us to say ‘no’ to what is bad. Do I spend too much time concentrating on ‘putting off’ at the expense of ‘putting on?’
*Kathy used the great illustration of a pair of scissors …. two sharp blades, fixed and held together at a pivot point. Both blades need to be sharp and properly aligned to get a neat, sharp cut. Trying to cut with a single blade will generally result in jagged, torn and uneven lines. Jesus – the pure grace of God in our lives – will enable us to relinquish our ‘old habits and attitudes’ while at the same time embracing the ‘new.’ Both must work together like the scissors’ blades, with Jesus the beautiful embodiment of God’s grace holding everything together at the pivot point.