Our lifestyle is to work for what we want and need. We work forty hours a week to get a paycheck. We physically work hard on the playing field to join a sports team. We work our intellect in the classroom to earn our degrees. While work is godly, we can get programmed into believing that work is the only way to get something we desire.
The same is often true of our relationship with God. We get so used to working for what we want and need that we feel we must work to get what we desire from God. The devil also lies to us, telling us that we’re not good enough to receive anything from God without effort on our part. However, God has made it clear that we cannot earn what He offers us. He supplies it through His grace—His power and favor on our lives—even when we don’t deserve it. Our sins kept us from eternal life and a relationship with Him, but God made it accessible through Jesus’ death on the cross. Eternal life became ours at no cost!
But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast (Ephesians 2:4-9, NKJV).
Our salvation also includes gifts such as healing, prosperity, peace, and wisdom (Psalm 103, Deuteronomy 28, James 1:6). But though our eternal life is free, we may still feel like we need to earn these gifts by working for them. Working may include praying, speaking and reading God’s Word, listening to sermons, serving in church, giving offerings, and ministering to others. Though these things are essential to our walk with God, they cannot earn God’s blessings any more than they could earn the forgiveness of our sins. Like our salvation, the blessings don’t cost us anything! God only requires that we ask in faith for what His grace has already freely provided.
“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened. “Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him! (Matthew 7:7-11, NKJV)
But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind (James 1:6, NKJV).
Even the faith to receive God’s promises is given to us through His grace (Romans 12:3). Faith is believing that God’s Word is true and is accompanied by action or works (James 2:20). But if we’re not careful, we could start putting too much confidence in our works of faith and forget about the grace. We can get so busy working that we rely on ourselves instead of on the power and favor of God. Again, the works are necessary, but they weren’t meant to earn anything. They are simply the fruit of our trust in grace, produced by the faith God’s already given us.
While physical and mental work can often lead to stress, the fruit of faith only leads us to rest (Hebrews 4:9-11). Though we still do the works of faith, it will not be hard labor to make something happen. Rest shows that we have confidence in the integrity and power of the Grace-Giver. We are worry-free because we know without a doubt that God will fulfill His promise. We can simply relax and let God do the job as only He can.
“Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light” (Matthew 11:28-30, NKJV).
The beautiful thing about God’s grace is that it is motivated by love. God knew before we were born that we would never be good enough to receive salvation and all that came with it (Ephesians 2:10). So He equipped us with the grace to make us qualified, the faith to activate the grace, the Holy Spirit to empower us to act on that faith. When we have a desire or a need, we only need to ask with the faith of a child responding to our loving Parent (Matthew 18:2-4). No inhibitions, no sense of inferiority, no strings attached—just simple child-like faith that recognizes the God of grace and love as our only Source. The love that inspired the cross is simply waiting to bless us so our joy will overflow!
At that time you won’t need to ask me for anything. I tell you the truth, you will ask the Father directly, and he will grant your request because you use my name. You haven’t done this before. Ask, using my name, and you will receive, and you will have abundant joy (John 16:23-24, NLT).
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