I have had a wonderful week in Angola, Africa. God has touched many people and transformed many people’s hearts and minds. There are many hungry sons and daughters of God here who want the New Covenant life of Christ! I am looking forward to returning here in November to see God do more. I know that a harvest of New Covenant life and Grace is in this land!
I have been writing in regard to a culture of grace. God’s grace empowers us to change. Grace empowers us to be who we were meant to be and grace happens when we see Jesus in our lives. It is the manifest presence of Jesus Christ that activates God’s grace in our lives. This is a reality of living in the kingdom of the Son of God’s love. We have been delivered from the power of darkness! We are overcomers! Grace is the power that gives us the ability to overcome! Grace is not a theory, it is a reality of life-transformation by the presence of Holy Spirit in our lives.
In the family of God, we are children of God. I am always a child of God. I always have that attitude. God’s mercy is new every morning. God’s mercy always reminds me that I am a child of God. My sins are forgiven! I have a Father who loves me! We must never stop being children of God in our hearts and minds.
I am a child of God, but I also want to grow up. I want to become a father. I want to live for the sake of others. I want to become an example to others and even bring the substance of breakthrough and change in their lives. Giving the life of Christ in me to the world that I have been given is the ultimate purpose of my life. I was born to bring healing to nations and to give life-transforming food to the hungry. For this to happen, I must always desire change and I must embrace that change in the process of growing to maturity.
To become a father I must grow as a son of God. I want to be a son of God that reveals the grace of God at work in my life. I want to receive the grace of God that empowers me to overcome all wickedness. It causes me to be a testimony of God’s presence and a testimony of God’s word. That is not a testimony of knowing the Bible. It is a testimony of becoming the substance of God in His character, nature, way, power, and authority. I don’t just want to read the Bible to obey the Bible. I am becoming what the Bible describes. The character, nature, way, power and authority of my Father God is the substance of my name. I am demonstrating the life-giving power and authority of God in and through my life in all things. God’s grace in my life is not just for me. It is for the sake of others. It is for the sake of the world.
Colossians 1:24 I now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up in my flesh what is lacking in the afflictions of Christ, for the sake of His body, which is the church…
The principle in this verse, the truth in this verse, can be applied in each of our lives. Paul rejoiced in his suffering for sake of others. He was going through things for the sake of others. It is one thing to look at the suffering of Paul and say he went through it for us, but what about the sufferings that you and I go through? Aren’t we each meant to go through suffering for the sake of others? Maybe the suffering we go through is not for what we can get or become? Maybe our sufferings are for the sake of our children and our children’s children? Maybe the sufferings we go through are for our friends, our neighbors, our city, our nation, or the nations. In the book of Romans we saw that by faith we enter into grace.
Romans 5:2 …through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. 3 And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; 4 and perseverance, character; and character, hope.
In grace, there is tribulation or suffering. It is during that resistance that we cheerfully endure. During challenges, we cheerfully endure and our character changes. That change in us brings forth hope. Is that hope just for us, or is it for the world we live in? Paul rejoiced in his suffering for the sake of others. He filled up in his flesh what was lacking in the afflictions of Christ. There is something lacking in the afflictions of Christ? Jesus is the Savior of the world. He is the Lord of all people and the desire of the nations, but when He came to this world He came to twelve men.
John 17:6 “I have manifested Your name to the men whom You have given Me out of the world. They were Yours, You gave them to Me, and they have kept Your word.”
John 17:9 “I pray for them. I do not pray for the world but for those whom You have given Me, for they are Yours.”
John 17:12 “While I was with them in the world, I kept them in Your name. Those whom You gave Me I have kept; and none of them is lost except the son of perdition, that the Scripture might be fulfilled.”
John 17:17 “Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth. 18 As You sent Me into the world, I also have sent them into the world.”
He had finished His journey; His task as a man in life. He had not yet died upon the cross, but His confession was that He had done everything the Father sent Him to do. He did not pray for the world, but only those the Father gave Him. He only lost the one He was supposed to lose. He had not yet died, Judas had not yet betrayed Him, but He knew there was one who was going to lose. He had a knowledge that He was finished. He told His disciples; If you have seen Me, you have seen the Father. In the same way, Jesus was sending His disciples. God sent Jesus to reveal the Father to twelve men who would also reveal the Father to some men and women, who would also reveal the Father to some men and women, who would also reveal the Father to some men and women. He gave His life for the relational connections in His life. He lived to transform the lives of a few that through the few all might be transformed. Our suffering in this life is for the sake of those that God has given us.
Ted J. Hanson