17 Sep How to Spot a Work of Grace – Words of Grace Blog – September 17, 2021
If you ever wonder if God is working in your life, here is a simple way to know. Are you seeking to increase and elevate yourself in some way, or are you seeking the increase and elevation of Jesus in your life and in the lives of others? Moving from the former motivation to the latter is a sure sign of a work of God’s grace in your life.
Back in the Garden of Eden, at the first act of disobedience to God, the temptation of Adam and Eve was to be elevated beyond their place as humans created in the image of God. The appeal was to become something more, to be equal with God in knowledge and power. They were not content with their place in the world. They thought that they needed to increase.
Adam and Eve entertained the possibility of becoming equal with God and entered a mental space of unreality. They forgot that only God can be God, and that they already had a glorious nature as image bearers and a great calling to reflect God’s glory in his world. They sinned.
Contrast that state of mind and heart with John the Baptist in John 3. John was a prophet called by God to be the forerunner of Jesus. He was to announce the coming of Jesus, to call people to repent and be baptized to be ready to receive him. John was to release whatever following he gained during his ministry to Jesus.
But John was human, too. As he carried out his calling the crowds began to dwindle. They were leaving him to follow Jesus. He spoke prophetically against the sins of the day and the hostility against him began to increase. He must have been tempted to change his methods and his message to keep the crowds and secure his place as a successful religious leader.
One day, John’s disciples came to him and with much exaggeration said that “all” were going to Jesus. They were jealous. They, like Adam and Eve, wanted elevation. They did not want someone else to be more successful than them. They were being tempted. And so was John.
In that moment we see an amazing thing happen. John brought a word of clarity to the situation. With a mind rooted in reality and a heart impassioned for truth, he said that Jesus must increase, but he must decrease. John’s words show that he possessed a different spirit than Adam and Eve, and probably you and me.
Most of all, John’s words show what a work of grace looks like. After all, John was human. This humble spirit was not his by nature. It became his by God’s Spirit at work in his life.
When the work of God’s Spirit, by grace, changes us from self-elevating to Christ-exalting, our personal lives and our congregation will be radically aligned with reality. We will be people and a place of light, faith, and hope. We will reflect the glory of God, which is why we were created in the first place.
This weekend, read John 3:22-36 and pray with me for God’s work of grace among us at Grace Community Church.