“My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” 2 Corinthians 12:9
Dear People Who Keep Company with God,
In the garden, the devil came to Eve and tempted her to eat from the tree of knowledge of good and evil. You will be like God, he suggested (Genesis 3:5-6). In that moment of temptation, Eve didn’t remember or trust that she and Adam were already like God. He created them in His image (Genesis 1:27). To this day, the devil doesn’t deviate much from his original playbook. The root of our fall begins when we believe we must do something to be loved, accepted, and pleasing to God.
Genesis chapter 4 reveals two family lines on the earth: the family of Cain and the family of Seth. It says that ungodly Cain left the presence of the Lord and built a city (Genesis 4:16). Cain and his descendants developed a civilization apart from God. Their significance and identity were based on their accomplishments (Genesis 4:17-21). While the godly line of Seth called on the Lord, the Scriptures do not mention anything they accomplished (Genesis 4:25-26). Their significance and identity came from their relationship with God, not what they did.
The family of Cain finally reached such a depth of darkness that they were swept away by the flood. In contrast, the family of Seth gave the world Enoch, who walked with God (Genesis 5:24), and Noah, who was perfect in his generation (Genesis 6:9). This bloodline eventually led to Christ. Seth embodies grace. Cain exemplifies performance.
We are conditioned from birth to seek approval and acceptance from others by what we do and how we act. We consciously or unconsciously do this to overcome our fears, insecurity, guilt, and shame. In the world, our significance and identity are measured throughout our lives by what we accomplish. If we produce, we are considered successful and worthy, which can work in the world system if it doesn’t lead to pride. Some people foolishly flaunt their accomplishments, possessions, or qualities they deem admirable, seeking the praise of others, not knowing that pride goes before a fall (Proverbs 16:18).
We set ourselves up for disaster when we try the worldly approach of performing for acceptance in our relationship and life with God. It can lead to pride born from self-righteousness or conceit, which God will resist (James 4:6). Even if you do not become prideful, you will eventually burn out emotionally and spiritually, seeking acceptance by accomplishment. You will drift away from God because you can never live up to what you think He requires of you. Grace is the answer. Grace is at the foundation of Christianity. It is the power of God made available to meet all your needs. When you are too weak to do what needs to be done or be your true self, God’s power is perfected in your life.
The beautiful thing is that grace has appeared to all in the person of Jesus Christ (John 1:14). We have access to His grace through faith (Romans 5:1-2), but we must first humble ourselves. God gives grace to the humble (James 4:6). Biblical humility is about surrendering and not depending on our human abilities, strengths, and thinking to please God or serve Him. That doesn’t mean we are to do nothing. On the contrary, the bride prepares herself (Revelation 19:7). By the Holy Spirit’s leading, we study, design, and prepare for what He asks us. But we are not to trust in our own preparation. We rely only on Him for the ability to do in and through us whatever He requires (Philippians 2:13).
Many Blessings, BW