PASTORS' DAILY DEVOTIONAL
God's GraceJustin Smith
1 John 4:9-10 God showed how much he loved us by sending his one and only Son into the world so that we might have eternal life through him. This is real love—not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins.
God desires nothing more than restored relationship with His creation. Mankind, I, forfeited the beauty and depth of His love for the temporary satisfaction afforded by the sinful deeds that my flesh craves, and as a wise man once said, “Saying yes to something is saying no to something else.” By choosing these deeds I, in turn, rejected His love. The fact of the matter is that I can never conjure up forgiveness or purity by my own power. In and of myself, I cannot regain right relationship with God. There is no way I can earn more of His love, but the good news is that it doesn’t end there. The Truth is that His love for me is perfect. God desires nothing more than restored relationship with me. It is by His grace that I have been saved. I was completely hopeless, lost in sin and imprisoned by evil, but His grace, motivated by His love, granted that which I could never gain, deserve, or earn. He showed His love by sending Jesus as the only perfect sacrifice for my sins and failures.
Understanding the vastness of God’s love, the freedom in His grace, and the power of this Good News drastically transforms everything. Herein lies my identity, my purpose, my hope, my victory, and so much more. One of the most terrifying assignments I have been entrusted with is stewarding my three children. Like every parent, the desire of my heart is to give them the best life possible. I want them to grow up in a Godly home, I want their needs to be provided for, and I want them to receive the best education and top training to ensure their success and happiness. I want each of them to feel loved and special. I want them to be protected and safe at all times. I want these things and so much more, but the more I list these “wants” the more I realize that I am incapable of doing all of it. How am I supposed to be the perfect father? In fact, how am I supposed to be the perfect husband AND the perfect father? In fact, how am I supposed to be the perfect husband, the perfect father, AND the perfect pastor? This is where I need to be reminded that my goal must not be to strive to “be” all of these things because they are impossible to accomplish on my own. As I grow in knowing the vastness of God’s love, as I walk in the freedom of His grace, and as I trust in the power of this Good News, God will do what only He can do. It’s only by surrendering to Him that I will be able to lead. The key is not strategy, it’s not logic, it’s not my planning, or wisdom, or know-how, but the power of His Spirit. If I really desire these things for my children then I will choose to live in obedience to His Word, in acknowledgment of His presence, and in power of His love.
Thank you, God, for your love and your grace. I ask your forgiveness for taking them for granted and striving to accomplish the assignments you have entrusted to me under my own will and power. I surrender my marriage, my family, my ministry, and my life to you. As I walk in relationship with you, may I reflect you, and may your wisdom and ways be evident to my family and everyone you place before me.