Filthy Rags And The Grace Of God

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A few years ago, as most Christians experience at some point in their lives, we try, in our own power, to please the Lord with our efforts. I am embarrassed to say that I spent a lot of my first seasons in the Lord walking in my own strength and not by the Spirit. If there was a need in my life, well… I would work harder and harder to meet that need thinking that the Lord would find my endeavors worthy of Him. After a while of living this way, I discovered through the revelation of the Holy Spirit (and to my horror), that I was living a life that wasn’t dependent on the grace of Jesus.

What I missed, due to my own lack of digging deep into the scripture, was that I can’t earn my grace whatsoever. Freely it is given to us as it says in Ephesians 2:8.

Bob Hoestra, in his teaching Growing Deep In The Grace Of God says this: “The natural inclination of virtually every Christian—once he comes to belief, once he becomes a Christian through faith in Jesus Christ—the natural inclination born out of his heart’s fondest desire to please and serve God is to consider that service to the Lord. The Christian naturally operates as if everything hinges upon how well, how fully, and how completely he serves the Lord God, our Savior. As Christians we are inclined, naturally, to live under law.”

How well Mr. Hoekstra explains that yearning to strive which lies within each of us. You see, initially, my heart wanted to do great works for the Lord, but in my own way, my own time, and by my well-intentioned but corruptible efforts. I desperately wanted to measure up; though, as we all do, I fell short.
The Lord says in Romans 3:23-24:”for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus,”
I tried to craft that gift for myself; never giving myself over to faith in the grace of Jesus. I had chosen to build for myself and not be led by the Spirit’s guidance and power.

Why am I sharing this to you today? I don’t want others to fall into the trap that I found myself stuck in for many years. Hopefully, others won’t waste the amount of time I did in my youth. This is for you Type A persons out there and the Type B personalities as well. It is so hard for us to give ourselves over to the Lord because we are so busy doing and getting stuff done. Sometimes, things come so easy for us because hard work does produce results, but in and of itself, it will lead to a spiritual stunting that will hold you back for a long while if you don’t realize what is happening.

If we keep this in the forefront of our thoughts, that all of our “good works” are filthy rags (Isaiah 64:6), we will constantly remember that it is by the grace of God that we even draw our breath. Thinking in this way will give all glory to the Lord while keeping us humble when we succeed at anything we might do. Also, it will remind us to seek Him in all things since our efforts, and our planning is always flawed (filthy rags) at best.

Please don’t spend the amount of time that I did forgetting where the blessing comes from (God) and “making” things happen in our own way and in our own time.

You see when we have the above mindset, we are truly saying to ourselves, without admitting it out loud, that we are capable of running our own lives……which of course we are NOT…..that’s why Jesus had to die, to shed His blood, to cover our sins, to impart the freely given grace that each and every one of us requires.

I will leave you all with this, in the 80’s we used to have a saying: “Let go, and let God”. Let us all dust off that old axiom and live as though Jesus were right there in the room with us because, He is!

God bless, and may all of you learn to trust the Lord, give Him all the praise when things go well, and deny ourselves to live a better way….His Way.

As always, if anyone needs prayer please click the “Prayer” button on the above tabs and we here at The Great Plains Poet will pray for you. If you want your prayer to be more private, email me at and we will bring your requests before the Lord.

Also, I just wanted you all to know how much I love each and every one of my readers. I often pray for you all and can’t wait to hear what the Lord is doing in each one of your lives. If you and I will partner together, we can change this world for Christ!

No poem today, just a quick exhortation to live under God’s grace and not against it.

Please take the time to comment, re-post, hit the “like” button on Facebook, share on Twitter, and most of all tell others what you’ve read here today.

The Great Plains Poet

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