May 2019

“For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God— not the result of works, so that no one may boast” Ephesians 2:8-9

May is the month of exams. Up and down the country students of various ages, from 6 up to 60, will face examinations over this coming month. For some these are just a chance to monitor their progress over the previous 12 months, whilst for others they are a much more serious proposition, with decisions for the future hanging on their ability to successfully interpret and answer the questions that they will face.

Occasionally, we can fall into the trap of believing that life is like an examination, that our future prospects are balanced on our ability to know the right answers. We are fooled into thinking that the success of our relationship with God depends on us believing just the right things, living in just the right way and doing all the right things.

How refreshing it is then to hear the words from Ephesians 2, “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God— not the result of works, so that no one may boast”.

Of course, in a world where we are tested, where we pass or fail on our own ability, where we must earn all that we achieve, it can be scary to let go, to trust that our salvation is a gift, given by God’s grace, rather than earned through our own efforts, however I pray that these words may set you free.

Free from the pressure to prove yourself again and again, free from the worry that everything hangs on you and free from the fear that you won’t quite measure up.
Free instead to rest in the presence in the God, to just enjoy the life that he has called you to, and to know that you are unconditionally and unwaveringly loved, more than you can possible imagine.

An old youth leader of mine had a saying which I think sums up these verses:
“There is nothing you can do to make God love you any more and there is nothing you can do to make Him love you any less. He loves you because he loves you because he loves you because he loves you.”

May you know that for yourself and may it set you free.

God bless,
Dave Bartram