November 2021

Shaped

The path of the righteous. The highway of holiness. The narrow way. To the natural man, these descriptions of the journey of faith seem limiting. To the redeemed child of God, however, they represent the boundless freedom of life lived within the boundary lines of grace and truth.

The world tells you that the path you take in life will either make you or break you. You will have heard it said that we are shaped by the events in our lives, for better or for worse. Or, what doesn’t kill you, will strengthen you. In my own journey, I have not found this to be entirely true.

I’ve lived through things that should have broken me to pieces. The fact that they didn’t had nothing whatsoever to do with me, and everything to do with God’s presence, His abiding Word, and the eternal work of the cross. I chose God’s way, and He is remaking me from the inside out. He definitely uses the external (the difficult situation at work, the challenging relationship, the suffering in my body due to sickness) to draw me to His side, but His power is more often revealed in the healed heart, the peace-filled mind amid chaos, and the will to lay down self-interest for the benefit of others.

The path I am on today is the place where I am practicing the disciplines of grace. Even these disciplines are not shaping me. It is God who is at work in me to will and to do for His good pleasure. (Philippians 2:13) When I choose to pick up my cross and follow Him, the discipline required to do this is entered into by my will and executed by His power. He is shaping my heart, mind and will to the truth of His gospel. All my choosing, then, is in response to Him, what He has done for me, and who He is to me.

I ask you, dear reader, who or what is shaping your life? Are you being shaped by the successes and failures in your life? Are you being shaped by the successes or failures of someone else’s life? Maybe you feel you’re being shaped or pressed by the workings of an institution or government. Or, are you being molded, re-created, by the truth of who God is and what He has done?

“For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God….” (Ephesians 2:8 ESV)

Until next week, beloved, yield to the power of the cross, and be shaped by love.

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