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Monday
Aug242015

Grace to Love

“The man I’ll marry must be at least as good as my dog.” That is what the bumper sticker in front of me read.

It’s funny that someone would think that a dog could be the model for a good husband. That bumper sticker reveals two ideas: 1) Dogs are great, and 2) dealing with people can be very difficult.

Dogs give us so much love. I experienced this firsthand over the summer. My family and I welcomed Pudge, a black pug, into our home while his family was on vacation. Pudge became a loving and faithful companion. He integrated easily into our lives as we became his world. Maybe that’s why some people feel that dogs are better friends than humans: They give themselves completely to others.

Difficult relationships can make us feel that it’s impossible to truly walk in love, and we may lose hope. Yet Jesus commanded us to love our neighbors as ourselves (Mark 12:31). This presents us with a problem: We have a commandment to love, but it seems impossible to carry out.

What’s the solution?

First, we need to recognize that loving our neighbor requires faith. Andrew teaches in Living in the Balance between Grace and Faith that “personal relationships are the area of your life that will require the greatest faith.” Let’s think about that. A lot of people are learning to use their faith for finances, healing, salvation, etc. But at the same time, they are trying to love others through the arm of the flesh (their own personal effort). If we try to love through our own efforts, a dog’s love could surpass the love of a lot of people. We need God’s grace to love.

Andrew says,

Grace is something God did for you prior to you having a need for it. It is faith in God’s grace that releases His power in a person. Everything [including the ability to love] is available by the grace of God, but there has to be a faith response on our part to receive what is available by grace. That’s how you enter into God’s rest, then you have ceased from your own efforts. It’s no longer you doing something to make God move. It’s you learning how to trust and rely on the grace God has given you.

This is great news! Realize that when you put your faith in God, it’s no longer you trying to love; it’s you relying on the truth that God has given you the grace to love, and you can receive that grace by faith. First Peter 1:22 says,“Now that you have purified yourselves by obeying the truth so that you have sincere love for each other, love one another deeply, from the heart” ( New International Version). Receive God’s grace to love others, and you will be blessed in your relationships—the dog will just be the icing on the cake!

Andrew’s Living in the Balance of Grace and Faith teaching will help you to walk in love like never before. It’s available in many formats: CD seriesDVD seriesbookstudy guide, and television broadcast. If this teaching has inspired you, please post a comment below. 

Monday
Aug102015

Know Your Role

It has never ceased to amaze me how incredibly breathtaking a pas de deux is…well, can be. If the roles of the danseur and ballerina are not clearly defined, what is meant to be an incredible feat of strength and beauty turns into a huge, potentially painful mess. Our relationship with God is a lot like a pas de deux. If we are not confident in the grace of our partner, Jesus, and that He is going to catch us after a huge leap of faith, our dancing may not be as powerful as it could be.

The struggle with whether to solely trust in the grace of God or solely operate in faith is ultimately an identity issue. As Andrew relates in his teaching Living in the Balance of Grace and Faith—

The body of Christ is basically divided into two groups: those who emphasize grace (God’s part) and those who emphasize faith (our part). One group preaches that everything is totally up to God. The other group teaches that there are many things that we must do. Both contend that the other group is totally wrong (p. v).

In ballet, this is like asking, “What is my role in this dance?” Another way to phrase this question is, “Who am I?”

When a ballerina is cast as a specific character in a ballet, she does not ask the director to make her what her role already is. Instead, her job is to learn how to become who she has been cast to play; she has a whole persona to learn. While dancers know they are roleplaying, Christians aren’t. However, many believers are still petitioning God to help them become something they already are by His grace. They want to be healed, have peace, be favored, be forgiven, and have blessings—when He already died to accomplish that 2,000 years ago. It is now their part to stretch, balance, and leap through faith as they function in their new role, the one they received the moment they accepted Jesus.

As Andrew mentions in the same teaching, “Grace is what God does for us independent of us” (p. 77). Grace is the persona we have been given in this dance. It is the role our Director gave us to operate in. “Faith reaches out and appropriates what God has already provided for us by grace” (p. 115). Faith is learning how to operate in the role God has already put us in—not only as the healed, favored, and prosperous but also as those who bring healing, favor, and prosperity. That is who we are and what we do.

Learn more about the role you’ve been cast in and how to “stay in character.” Check out Andrew’s Living in the Balance of Grace and Faith teaching. It’s available in many formats: CD series, DVD series, book, study guide, and television broadcast. If this teaching has encouraged you, please share below. You have an amazing role to play in this dance!

Monday
Jul202015

Letting Go of Myself

While reading Andrew’s book Grace: The Power of the Gospel, I came across this truth:

You are not only saved by grace, but you also maintain your relationship with God by grace. This means you are healed by grace, delivered by grace, and prospered by grace. None of the benefits of salvation come to you based on your performance (p. 48).

It was the last night of the first Healing School in Russia, and every piece of equipment I owned decided to have a meltdown—my camera, my lens, my SD cards, my batteries. Everyone was counting on me to create an incredible video to show back at Charis, and I was pouting in the back of the room, dangling my camera in defeat, waiting for someone to feel sorry for me.

Finally, out of pure desperation, I held up my camera, hit record, and said, “All right, God, You have to make this happen because I can’t do this by myself.” Watching the screen in front of me, I stood back in amazement as God began to film what I could never have made happen on my own. It was as if God was showcasing His own private screening, and I was given a front row seat.

And now just as you trusted Christ to save you, trust him, too, for each day’s problems; live in vital union with him.

Colossians 2:6 (The Living Bible)

Andrew continues,

The same way you were born again is the same way you should continue walking with Him. Sad to say, most people don’t do that. We must place our entire faith in the Gospel! (p. 50)

I learned something I will never forget in that small village in central Russia—I cannot accomplish in my own strength what God has called me to do. However, God is always willing to show Himself strong where I don’t have any strength, wise where I still lack wisdom, and creative where I still lack skills. It’s all through the power of His grace in my life!

God has already provided—through the atonement of Christ—everything we’ll ever need. Now it’s up to us to believe and receive. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord, shall be forgiven, healed, delivered, prospered—every benefit that’s ours through what Jesus Christ did comes to us by grace through faith (pp. 191-192).

This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!

2 Corinthians 5:17 (New Living Translation)

The entire Christian life is a gift that we get to partake in simply because of who God has recreated us to be—members of His very own family. When we operate by faith in the grace that has made us who we are, we get to experience the power of God in our lives.

I encourage you to dive deeper into this teaching of Andrew’s, entitled Grace: The Power of the Gospel. It is foundational to everything in our lives as Christians. Also, watch Andrew discuss this on his Gospel Truth program! Please post a comment below if this has ministered to you.