March 8th, 2004


Only by grace

To become one with Jesus Christ, a person must be willing not only to give up sin, but also to surrender his whole way of looking at things. Being born again by the Spirit of God means that we must first be willing to let go before we can grasp something else. The first thing we must surrender is all of our pretense or deceit. What our Lord wants us to present to Him is not our goodness, honesty, or our efforts to do better, but real solid sin. Actually, that is all He can take from us. And what He gives us in exchange for our sin is real solid righteousness. But we must surrender all pretense that we are anything, and give up all our claims of even being worthy of God’s consideration.

Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest (8 March, "The Surrendered Life")

And this is only the beginning. Chambers is particularly meaty today, one of my favorites.

Enjoyed yesterday. It is good to be held by His hand in the midst of busyness, and also good to reach the end of the tunnel. This week has fewer obligations on my schedule. Not that I mind the activity; when I have free time there are often things I choose to do (except when I'm so fried and unmotivated that I nearly cannot choose at all). The fact that I choose them makes a great deal of difference in my attitude and enjoyment, right or wrong.

Up earlier than I'd have planned this morning. Simply grew tired of wrestling to stay asleep. It's taken more than an hour for that restlessness to quiet; my flesh often doesn't want to cooperate with my will in living the way I want to live. Though that seems an obvious truth, I grasp it differently when God teaches me by experience. It's a grace to experience truth revealed, to have my eyes opened ever so slightly. That He would be concerned with me—amazing love!

Looking forward to the day and week, even as I feel the occasional twinge of short-temperedness creep in by my flesh. That doesn't have to define my days; I can fight it with a strength far beyond my own. There's so much for which to be grateful. "Only by grace" is a powerful truth He is teaching me to understand.
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