Daily Archives: June 21, 2008

It Is Finished

Oswald Chambers wrote in My Utmost for His Highest, ” A pitiful, sickly, and self-centered kind of prayer and a determined effort and selfish desire to be right with God are never found in the New Testament. The fact that I am trying to be right with God is actually a sign that I am rebelling against the atonement by the Cross of Christ…  I cannot make myself right with God; I cannot make my life perfect. I can only be right with God if I accept the atonement of the Lord Jesus Christ as an absolute gift. Am I humble enough to accept it?”

“There is a great deal of prayer that comes from actual disbelief in the atonement. Jesus is not just beginning to save us— He has already saved us completely. It is an accomplished fact, and it is an insult to Him for us to ask Him to do what He has already done.”

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I find Chambers’ words an indictment to many of the prayers that I have prayed in my life. Why do I pray for things that God has already done? Why don’t I take hold of these spiritual realities by faith? It can be real easy to thing we are being very spiritual when our petitions before God ring of faithlessness and a lack of godly understanding.

When Jesus said on the cross, “It is finished,” He meant it. These are some of the most profound words ever uttered. The implications change human history. Jesus has already obtained our salvation, freedom and future.

The only barrier we find to these greatest gifts is not God’s willingness to provide them because the real work is already done. The difficult part is accepting the full implications of the cross by faith.

We have to come to the end of ourselves and realize the futility of our works. We have to understand the amazing quality of God’s grace and the fullness of its power to impart reconciliation and transformation. When I come to the reality of what I can’t do on my own, I start to realize the power in what Christ has already done for me.

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The Two Words That Can Save Your Ministry

There are two words that can make all the difference in your ministry relationships. Those words are very simple, yet they are quite profound. These words can heal and create a sense of trust. They can let others know our sincerity as well as our approachability.

These words are… “I’m sorry.”

Why is it so hard to apologize and admit our weaknesses, mistakes and even sins in ministry? Is it pride? Is it the sense that admitting any wrong doing will jeopardize our ministry or public reputation? I know that I don’t like to admit when I am wrong. And I certainly don’t like to apologize if I feel that I am not really responsible for whatever “wrong” was done. Should we apologize just because we know that another person has perceived an injustice even if we are not primarily responsible for the outcome? I believe the answer is frequently “Yes.”

We can disarm situations by taking responsibility for our part. Also, we can let the other person know that we wanted a different outcome than what occurred. We can recognize their pain and express our desire to move forward in a new direction. We can create a bridge that will allow a restoration of our relationship.

Of course, there are some things that leaders should never apologize for because it would do more harm than good. We don’t need to apologize for loving God or fearing Him more than any person. We don’t need to apologize for obeying divine direction or speaking the truth in love. It requires divine direction to know what is appropriate and helpful for each situation.

Are you willing to be proactive in seeking reconciliation? Sometimes it takes a big person to say that you’re sorry.