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Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Open the Window of God's Blessings

Faith opens the window to God's blessings in your life. In Galatians 3, we see three things that God will do in your life when you put your faith in him.

First of all...Faith makes you right with God. (v. 24) Let me put it another way. The law was our guardian until Christ came; it protected us until we could be made right with God through faith.

The law was our guardian; it shows us what should be the proper boundaries—but the law itself cannot save us; and it is through the law, this guardian, that we become aware of our inability to save ourselves.

Do you want to know how to be absolutely overcome with despair in a very short period of time? ("Uh...thanks, Phil, but no.") I'll tell you anyway. Try to live perfectly according to the law. Try to do everything that you know you should do, without messing up even once. See you how long you last.

Think about it. How long can you go without thinking—not even for a second—one thought that you shouldn't think? One vindictive thought? One selfish thought? One jealous thought? One lustful thought? One self-righteous thought? How long can you go?

As I said, such an attempt will bring on despair faster than you can imagine, because it causes you to realize: “I know the right thing to do, but I can't do it. I know what is wrong, but I can't keep from doing it."

Paul said almost the same thing in Romans 7:15—I don’t really understand myself, for I want to do what is right, but I don’t do it. Instead, I do what I hate.

Sound familiar? Have you ever felt that way? That's what the law does. It shows us how sinful we are. It draws a line between right and wrong, and more often than we would like, we are on the wrong side of the line.

Paul says this is why the law was given—to show us how guilty we are. Here's the problem. We don't obey it. We can't obey it. The more we try, the more we fail.

If you want to be right with God, there is only one way to get it done. Put your faith in Jesus Christ. Do not put your faith in keeping the law, because you'll never be good enough to earn a passing grade. (v. 22) But the Scriptures declare that we are all prisoners of sin, so we receive God’s promise of freedom only by believing in Jesus Christ.

Secondly...Faith puts you in touch with God's power. (v. 5) I ask you again, does God give you the Holy Spirit and work miracles among you because you obey the law? Of course not! It is because you believe the message you heard about Christ.

God wants miracles to be a common part of our experience, too. I am talking about the supernatural intervention of God's power in our lives through answering out prayers, but, as Paul tells us—miracles aren't handed out according to how well we keep the law; they're given in response to our faith. God is willing to work miracles in our lives if we're willing to put our faith in him.

You can experience God's miraculous power on a consistent basis, but expect to see miracles mostly in other people's lives. If the only person you're praying for is yourself, then you're missing the whole point. Nearly every person you know needs a miracle. Find out from those closest to you in which area of their lives they needs to experience God's intervention, and pray specifically for them.

Do you know what I've learned about praying for others? I'm not hindered by the same obstacles as when I pray for myself. When I pray for myself, sometimes I struggle with doubt. When I pray for others, it's hardly a problem. It is easier to ask in faith for someone else than it is to ask for myself God to intervene with power.

And thirdly...Faith gives you access to your true inheritance. (v. 8-9) What’s more, the Scriptures looked forward to this time when God would declare the Gentiles to be righteous because of their faith. God proclaimed this good news to Abraham long ago when he said, “All nations will be blessed through you.” So all who put their faith in Christ share the same blessing Abraham received because of his faith. (v. 29) And now that you belong to Christ, you are the true children of Abraham. You are his heirs, and God’s promise to Abraham belongs to you.

What was the blessing? It is found in the book of Genesis. This is what God said to Abraham...Genesis 12:3— I will bless those who bless you and curse those who treat you with contempt. All the families on earth will be blessed through you.”

According to Paul, through Christ we are heirs to that same promise. What is our inheritance? To be a blessing to others. This is what God wants to do through you. He wants to bless you so that you can bless others. This is our inheritance. When we place our faith in Jesus Christ, we receive God's blessings and we, in turn, can bless others.

Has God blessed you with financial abundance? How can you use it bless others? Has God blessed you with a certain talent or skill? How can you use it to bless others? Whatever blessing God has put in your life, realize that it has been given to you so you can bless others. This is our inheritance, and through faith, we activate it and open the window to God's blessing in our lives.

The life of faith is the only life to live; through faith our sins are forgiven, God works miracles among us, and we receive our inheritance of blessings.

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