The Grace That Could Be Theirs

As a staff member here it Lake Ann Camp, I have the incredible privilege to attend chapel services every night and listen to the teaching of Ken Rudolph. On Monday nights, he preaches a message on the book of Jonah, and one verse in particular, Jonah 2:8, really stood out to me. It says, “Those who cling to worthless idols forfeit the grace that could be theirs.” As I thought about that verse, I realized just how often I tend to cling to worthless idols. Maybe it’s because I don’t believe that God has something better for me, or I had simply allowed my heart to be captured slowly and never stopped to consider that I had become devoted to someone or something other than God. But whatever the reason, these “worthless idols” are all over the place in our world. For some it’s sports, others it’s work or friends or skills or intelligence – usually something innocent and good. But as those things rise to dominance in our lives, they become sinful. They become idols. Soon you neglect to spend time with God in favor of your precious idol. Often our obsessions can lead to sinful habits, like when a fascination with romance becomes lust or a desire for popularity slides into hypocrisy and compromise for the sake of reputation. We think that these things will be worth our trouble, that they will please us or fulfill us and that God is cruel to deny us these gifts. But the Bible has something else to say. Satan would have us believe that God has us locked in a box, with the world having fun just out of our reach, but sin doesn’t lead to joy and satisfaction. Only God, in His grace, can offer us that kind of life. And he does offer it to us, freely and generously, but there is one condition: we must abandon our idols. We must trust that His grace is not only enough, but amazingly, abundantly better than all we’ve ever asked for or imagined and leave all else to pursue Him. Because when we cling to our worthless, rotting, enslaving idols, we choose to forfeit the grace that could be ours. I’m reminded of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. They were given every single one of the thousands of fruit trees to eat and enjoy, they were free to live wonderful lives. But there was one tree, only one, that they were not to touch, and then only because it would kill them. Then Satan came along and deceived Eve, told her that God was holding out on her, that His grace was nothing compared to the Knowledge of Good and Evil… and she fell for it. She forfeited grace, losing the Garden, the intimacy with God, the freedom, the wonder, gaining hard toil and pain in childbirth and thorns and death and decay. If you were to ask her today if that was a worthwhile trade, I think I know what her answer would be. I think it pained her (and Adam) for the rest of their lives to know that their worthless idol had let them down, and they had forfeited the grace that could be theirs. Don’t make the same mistake. God wants to give you a life of freedom, with no regrets. But you have to choose it, to leave everything else behind and take it. Let go of any worthless idols you are clinging to in your life, and find the joy and the freedom that is found when we revel in the grace that not only could be, but IS, ours.



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2 responses to “The Grace That Could Be Theirs

  1. Armorbearer

    This is really cool, Tim. Cool, deep and challenging. Thanks for sharing it!

  2. Dad

    Good thoughts, Tim. One of Satan’s most successful strategies since the day that Adam and Eve “fell from grace” has been to impugn God’s character. How many times have people (dare I say all of us?) fallen for the same tired old lies: “God’s holding out on you,” and “God isn’t really going to keep his promises,” and “What God has promised you is not as good as what you could have right now…” I find for myself that frequently when I am struggling to hold onto the truth about the goodness of God’s provision and plans for me, now and in the future, it has started with two things: 1) a lack of gratitude and thankfulness in my heart to God for all he has given me and promised to me, and then 2) a small (fiery dart) doubt about God’s goodness and love for me. For me the escape from these lies often lies in thinking about all of the many times that God’s goodness and faithfulness have been proven true (in His Word and in my life), and allowing that truth to move me to thanksgiving and praise.

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