We are dwelling on the topic of forgiveness this week and I am reminded about a post I wrote several years while we were in the building process of our new campus. The compression was overwhelming to say the least, but during that season we did a bible study called “The Covenant” by James Garlow. One of the items in studying the New Covenant is the exchange of symbolic items; one in particular is the exchange of belts representing strengths or assets. Our weakness for God’s strength, our poverty for His glorious riches, who wouldn’t make that exchange? The key is all about being willing to walk in His strength and not your own. This is one of those discipline issues. Choosing to give yourself over to the one who holds all power, and relinquishing feeble control over areas of your life. This would be, and still is my lifetime battle.
The season of leading our church in a building program was relentless in shaping and refining my ability to walk in trust and faith, to really exchange my weakness and poverty for His strength and provision. It was amazing to watch the shaping taking place in so many hearts and lives of our church family. The growth of faith and standing firm for what God placed in their hearts was awesome.
One of the items from the bible study years ago that I continue to call on, was a deeper understanding of grace and it’s role in “strength”. In the study it gives a fuller definition, as “Grace, biblically understood, is God’s willingness to unleash His power on my behalf though I don’t deserve it.” (p.37) The biblical example comes from Zechariah 4:6,7 ““Then he said to me, “This is the word of the LORD to Zerubbabel saying, ‘Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,’ says the LORD of hosts. ‘What are you, O great mountain? Before Zerubbabel you will become a plain; and he will bring forth the top stone with shouts of “Grace, grace to it!”’”
The author summarizes it this way, “God is telling Zerubbabel to “speak grace” to a mountain. What does that mean? It means He’s going to partner with you. “Together we’ll bring this mountain down and make it a plain,” God says. (p.38) I love that, speaking grace to my battles, fears, weaknesses and areas of unforgiveness: grace.
Today I am reminded once again that God is willing to unleash His power on my behalf (by grace) to bring the mountains in my life down, as I exchange my weakness for His strength. You may be asking, what does all this have to do with forgiveness? Have you ever tried to walk out forgiveness without grace? If you are going to see forgiveness through, then you need God to unleash His power on your behalf (by grace) and bring the mountains of offense, hurt and pain down. You need to speak grace to the mountain where forgiveness is needed.
When the enemy taunts you with all the reasons why you shouldn’t offer forgiveness, bring the message of grace into the conversation. Whose grace? God’s grace! It isn’t something you have to make up, it is something you have the promise of in the exchange of covenant. Through covenant you are empowered to do all that God calls you to do!
Empowered to Forgive, Grace as an exchange!
Today’s worksheet: handout 9_25_2013
In the Word with You,
Obedience, trust, humility and faith are teaching me how to walk with and access the power of Christ in my life. The more I walk in obedience to him the more strength I have to forgive. “If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.” Romans 12:28
There is power in letting go of the past and the frustration of trying to figure everything out. When you release your questions, you are saying,”God, You are in control. I trust You” And when you put your hope in God, that’s when he can heal your heart. With God’s power I am speaking his Grace over the mountains in my life and saying, “Be moved!”
Thank you Cheryl for this! Today I am speaking grace over my struggles, fears and mountains – as well as forgiving with grace. God’s Word is powerful and I am thankful.
I get the whole “mountain” analogy. For me, when my struggle is huge, the first thing that I find myself praying for is God’s loving grace. For the last several months I have found myself praying for grace many, many times during the day. My human-ness hampers so many things that come so naturally from the Lord; things like patience, understanding, compassion and unconditional love. All things that are important in forgiveness. God wants us to show love to others (and in in doing so to Him) by righteously enduring trials and pressures in relationships. My trials now are especially difficult and I feel as though I am being asked to climb Mt. Everest, but I have faith that with God’s grace I can endure. With God’s grace I can forgive and in doing so I am showing love to God as “love endures all things”.
I love the forgivenness vs. forgiveness! I’ve been forgiven soooooo much. When I remind myself of that it’s easier to give that to others, even when they “do it again”