I host a group of women here at my house on Wednesday mornings. Which means each Tuesday, I spend some time sweeping up the dog hair, vacuuming the pizza crumbs, wiping the toothpaste out of the bathroom sink, and setting a clean tablecloth on my kitchen table. And as much as I detest housework, there's something so calming and exhalation-worthy of a clean house, a neat kitchen, the smell of fabuloso in the bathroom, and a candle burning in the living room. My house isn't a pig sty, but each week I set aside time to straighten up, to give my friends a place of peace and calm. Years ago, I learned a phrase - visual noise - and how it negatively affects our minds and bodies. So I take the time each week to renew my house and share the gift of peace and visual calm.
So goes the work of this lifelong journey, adventure, of building a life and a heart of discipline, and health; taking regular time to ensure that our bodies - our lives - reflect the One living inside of us. Recognizing the correlation between our bodily renewal, discipline, health, and focus, and our salvation - spiritual resurrection, release, renewal - both here and in eternity.
The bottom line is that once we accept Jesus as our savior, we are saved. That's it. There is nothing more for us to do. That's when Grace goes to work.
After that, it becomes a process of believing our salvation, accepting our new life, allowing grace to help us set aside old habits and reactions that do not reflect our renewed soul or the One who we now call 'Master'. That process is what the bible refers to as 'working out your salvation'. Not that anything more must be accomplished, rather, now we are allowing God's grace to work in our lives so that we reflect His Spirit that now dwells in us, giving space to allow Jesus to be seen in our actions, words, and thoughts.
This is a perfect picture of our journey in goal setting - a process of acknowledging that our lives require improvement and allowing grace to develop discipline in us. Working past the temptation of self-driven good intentions and willpower to thanking Him for being right there with us, filling us with grace so that He can 'work in us to will and act'. Just as we allow Him to work out our salvation in us, we also must invite Him into our process of goal setting and life improvements!
How many times have you started the diet, the exercise plan, the bible study, the new routine only to fall away in exhaustion weeks or months later? God does not want us to do these things in our power - it's completely insufficient for the work He has for us to do. He has provided us with all the resources we need to continue to 'become', to continue to grow and stretch and fulfill His purpose for us. It would be like me using a maid service each Tuesday, instead of cleaning the house myself - He has all the tools and resources and energy, and we simply need to open the door and invite Him in!
Grace fuels our goals. We are 'working out' this new life thanks to God's focused energy working in us. We can trust and rely on God's movement in us, helping us through grace to meet our goals, to make better choices, to reflect the love and peace and calm of Jesus.
TODAY'S BIBLE READING
By entering through faith into what God has always wanted to do for us - set us right with Him, make us fit for Him - we have it all together with God because of our Master Jesus. And that's not all: We throw open our doors to God and discover at the same moment that He's has already thrown open His door to us.
We find ourselves standing where we always hoped we might stand - out in the wide open spaces of God's grace and glory, standing tall and shouting our praise.
Romans 5:1-2 MSG
"Be energetic in your life of salvation, reverent and sensitive before God. That energy is God's energy, an energy deep within you, God himself willing and working at what will give Him the most pleasure."
Philippians 2:12 MSG
"...continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill His good purpose."
Philippians 2:12 NIV
"We want to live well, but our foremost efforts should be to help others live well."
(1 Corinthians 10:24b MSG)