Monday, June 18, 2007

Introspective, thankful

Proverbs 16:9
In his heart a man plans his course,
but the LORD determines his steps.

1 Cor 15:10a
By the grace of God I am what I am...

Phil 1:6
Being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ...
What am I? Why am I? Who am I?

All I really know... and I really do know this... is that I am an object of God's love and grace. I know that I'm not a product of my own devising, creating, planning, preparing, determining, perfecting, etc.

My heart and my mind have made many plans. I've had many ideas and many dreams and desires. But as I look back on my life, I see that what "I am" is not a result of anything that I've caused to happen.

Several things have been running around in my mind lately. Perhaps, well, definitely, too much for one blog post. I'll break it up into several posts over a period of time. Here's a tentative list of what I want to write about. These are things that I know are by grace, and not by my own determination and strength, nor by my own faithfulness nor self-determined commitment. Some are obvious, and some will "shock" the daylights out of people with preconceived, performance-based ideas of how life in Christ works.

1. I was adopted into a loving family, with parents who didn't "teach" grace doctrine as much as they lived it.

2. My coming to Christ. I DO NOT KNOW how or why I am so drawn to the things of Christ, except for the fact that it's by His grace. If it were up to me and the level of my commitment to God, I would have NO relationship with God! But His grace and His love have drawn me in, and it's His grace and His love that keeps me. It's nothing less than that! My love for Him and my commitment to Him is so very inconsistent. If not for His commitment to me, and His love for me, there would be no sustained relationship here! Don't get me wrong... this relationship thrives! But it thrives based upon His grace, His work in me, His determining of my steps.

3. My relationship with my wife. I admit it - in and of myself, I'm addicted to myself and what I want and how I want things to be. Yeah, I've been slowly losing my grip on this - due to GRACE, but if it were up to me to sustain a godly relationship with my wife, there would be no relationship. I've learned that I want - I desperately want - a good, solid relationship with my wife. And I tried for several years to make that happen. But all the trying in the world didn't work. In fact, it made things worse! I've already blogged about this, and I'll provide the link when I get around to sharing more.

4. I spent 11 years in Christian radio. So what? Well... I'm shy. I'm an introvert. My close friends and family would disagree, but in reality I'm not a "crowd" person. I'd rather stay away from places where a lot of people gather. I'd rather write than speak. And so on and so on. My 11 years in radio were nothing short of a miracle. I NEVER, EVER, EVER, NEVER, NEVER, EVER, EVER, EVER would have sought any kind of a career behind a mic. I fought with God almost all of the 11 years! "This isn't me." "I can't do this." But it "is" me, because it's who God made me to be, solely by His grace.

I think there may be more than this list of four things in my life that prove that life is by grace. But these four stick out to me, and I look forward to sharing more about them in the days ahead.


  1. Joel,

    Thank you for sharing about these four things in your life. God's grace is certainly amazing! I'm looking forward to reading more.


  2. Thanks, Alan. Indeed I'm looking forward to sharing more. I get excited when I think about the power of the Lord working in and through weak earthen vessels. We get focused on ourselves, and what we can or can't do, but it's not as if the Lord is worried about what we can or can't do. :)