The other day my good friend Jesse Daas sent the following note to the leadership team of our church. It touched me pretty deeply for a number of reasons, and so I asked his permission to share it with you. Thankfully, he said yes! I pray that it blesses you as it did me.
"I met with a friend this week to talk about life and Christ. We got to talking about the ups and downs of the previous week, those highs and lows. Something great had happened. I realized about half way through hearing about his low that it was actually an extraordinary high!
"He was recounting a situation he faced that was difficult and annoying to him. He recounted ultimately what he ended up deciding to do. GRACE was all over his decision to take a new direction in the midst of a situation that could have easily gone otherwise. In other words, he chose obedience in faith, not perfectly, not quickly, but truly he did.
"I couldn't help but celebrate the grace of God in his life at the hearing of his story because I heard a friend recounting something as a down but saw oh how joyful of an up it was because of the grace of God in his life to choose to do what is right in the midst of something difficult for him. I couldn't help but think of most Christians that I know who don't spend much time talking about their obedience to God. Perhaps it is because of fear of being proud or seen as proud or boasting or something else.
"My encouragement to you all though is: talk about your obedience and praise God vocally for His grace working that obedience in you, that is, the right choices in Christ that you have made and are making. I think this is one way that we stir one another up to love and good deeds—we talk about them as grace filled realities (Hebrews 10:24). The grace and glory of God are seen in our lives in action.
"Christian, you are a beloved child of God whose obedience pleases your Father. Your deeds are no longer filthy rags because you are beloved in Christ, washed and sanctified."