Blog Grace-fuelled obedience Lauren works at Rope as our Team Support Administrator. Lauren, a graduate from LST, organises our very successful Women Walking 4 Women fundraising event and with friends from LST led the worship at our Thanksgiving Service in 2016. She is available to speaks about Rope at events. In January she preached at Trinity URC, High Wycombe at a Rope Day. In January I had the privilege of preaching at Trinity URC, High Wycombe. As I prepared the preach I experienced feelings of inadequacy having felt distant from God, but I am pleased to say that He used this time to remind me that our weaknesses are used to reveal His glory and grace. The two passages I looked at were Psalm 15 and 1 Corinthians 1:18-31; both of which spoke to people who were already saved but were having difficulty working out their salvation day-to-day. This sounded familiar and so I felt prompted to approach a topic that I have personally struggled with in my Christian walk- balancing obedient worship and works with God’s extravagant grace. Psalm 15 pleads with God to know how to reach the “holy mountain” and enjoy God’s presence for all eternity. The rest of the passage then describes that we are to be “blameless” and “righteous”; which at first glance appears to be pretty daunting. So what does the passage teach us? Seek The psalmist talks to God about his questions and concerns, this may not always be our first port of call and we can often find ourselves avoiding God when we are struggling. So many of us create a “good Christian” checklist that then leaves us feeling lost and vulnerable when doubts creep in or tragedy strikes; our neat and tidy faith becomes reliant on our achievements rather than God’s grace. Obey Building our faith on grace is fundamental but it should not be an excuse to do as we wish. Dietrich Bonheoffer refers to this as cheap grace and it is all too easy to justify our rebellion with God’s faithfulness to forgive. The psalm uses present participles such as “walk”, “work” and “speak” which suggest that we are constantly growing and developing and are not expected to be the finished articles already. As mentioned before, I found “blameless“ a daunting concept, but after some research I was relieved to know that it does not mean sinless, but rather devoted to God and full of integrity. This means that we can choose to seek and obey God, but we are not expected to do this without grace, in fact we cannot! Trust Trusting God in tough times is a theme we are all familiar with but so often are surprised when we face trials and life isn’t all plain sailing. A recent conference reminded me that God requires us to continually trust Him as an act of our love and obedience, not as a cruel trick but to experience His faithfulness. The Corinthians passage also looks at how Christians are to live out their faith, though it reveals that through Christ’s sacrifice we are made righteous, holy and are a redeemed people. The passage advises the Church of Corinth not to look to the “worldly wise” but follow the one whose “foolishness is wiser than human wisdom and whose weakness is stronger than human strength”. It all comes back to trusting who God is and in His plans for us. God used unpolished people such as fishermen to reveal the gospel message; it is through their trust and obedience in combination with extravagant grace that God uses them to build the church. I would go so far as to say it is because we are weak and incapable in our own strength that God’s power and glory are revealed more clearly. Lastly, the passage encourages us to press on and recognise that in spite of our failings and inadequacies He will use us for His plans and purposes. Paul speaks to the Corinthians about God using the weak to shame the poor and I have definitely felt shamed by how faithful and trusting our Ropeholders and those they serve are, during some extremely difficult circumstances. It is an incredible reminder that if we seek, obey and trust God then He will use us mightily and grant us the grace to attain the prize of spending eternity with Him. Church Visit Lauren is available to speak about the work of Rope at a church group. If you would like her to visit your church, please click on the link above and contact us.