Some words and phrases are small, but have powerful meanings. Words like I'm late, accepted, declined, affair, there's been an accident and tested positive can be life changing. Small words that can impact a person's entire future plans.
Scripture is full of words. It is important to read the entire Bible, but just as important to focus in on the small words. Lately, this has been something that God is showing and teaching me.
Like these verses - I know them well, very well. I have them memorized. But in each, the Lord put a light on small words with a big meanings.
Philippians 4:11-13 (emphasis added)
I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through Him who gives me strength.
A girlfriend pointed this out at our Bible study this week. I felt like it was a HUGE revelation straight from heaven. Learned. That means even Paul, the super apostle, had to learn to be content.
What hope this gives to a wretch like me - who has such a hard time being content. I waiver between wanting to bask in the luxuries of this shiny, entertaining world and giving up everything to become a missionary. Thankfully, the Lord has given me truths in the Bible, the Holy Spirit, the power of prayer and my wonderful husband to remind me to be content in the place that God has me.
Romans 6:23 (emphasis added)
For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Listening to R. Albert Mohler Jr., he pointed out the difference between the words wages and gift. Wages are earned. Gifts are free. So when you sin (and you know that you sin, right?) you earn death - just as if you were mowing someone's yard and earn some money and a glass of lemonade.
Our Great God is so gracious that He gave us the gift of eternal life, forgiveness of our sins (all of them, even the ones in our heart that no one knows about), and freedom from the bondage of sin - all through the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
We cannot earn our salvation. No amount of good deads can get you into heaven. As humans, it is hard for us to imagine something as wonderful as eternal life in heaven would be free. We are conditioned to believe that hard work pays off. The athlete who works the hardest, sweats the most, and competes the best - gets the prize. We are a "try, try again" kind of people. Boy Scounts help old ladies across the street to earn merit badges. But no amount of merit badges will get us through the pearly gates.
Think about it this way. If you think you can work your way into heaven by being a good person, that is simply rejecting the free, sacrificial gift of salvation through Jesus, God's Son. God does not like the pride and arrogance that comes along with people trying to earn their own way into heaven.
God sent His Son. That's the way. It's a free gift. Accept it. Because all of your hard work only earns you death.