”My purpose in writing is to encourage you and assure you that what you are experiencing is truly part of God’s grace for you. Stand firm in this grace” (1 Peter 5:12 NLT).
There are three things in life that can cause you to stumble, to get cast off to the side of the race, and to not finish well in life. But in each of these situations, God’s sustaining grace will get you through.
- God’s sustaining grace helps you keep standing when you’re tempted.
Temptation is the first thing that can cause you to stumble. The Bible says, “God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you can endure” (1 Corinthians 10:13 NLT).
God says, “I will provide the sustaining grace to always give you a way of escape.” It may mean turning the channel. It may mean running out the door. It may mean changing the way you’re thinking. But God will provide a way to escape temptation.
- God’s sustaining grace helps you keep standing when you’re tired.
Sometimes you’re not tempted. Sometimes you’re just tired! Life is often exhausting. It requires a lot of energy, especially when you’re trying to do the right thing rather than the easy thing. But where do you get the power to do the right thing when you’re dead tired? “It is God who enables us, along with you, to stand firm for Christ. He has commissioned us, and he has identified us as his own by placing the Holy Spirit in our hearts” (2 Corinthians 1:21-22). The key is having the Holy Spirit in your heart to have the energy to do the things you can’t do in your own power.
- God’s sustaining grace gives you the power to keep going when you’re troubled.
There are some hurts that all the wishing in the world won’t make go away. There are some things in life that are unplanned, unrelenting, and undeserved—and they hurt the most.
What do you do in those situations? You first stop doing the “if only” game and instead focus on Christ and his sustaining power. Isaiah 41:10 says, “Don’t worry, because I am with you. Don’t be afraid, because I am your God. I will make you strong and will help you; I will support you with my right hand that saves you” (NCV).
REMEMBER THAT JOY is not dependent on your circumstances. Some of the world’s most miserable people are those whose circumstances seem the most enviable. People who reach the top of the ladder career-wise are often surprised to find emptiness awaiting them. True Joy is a by-product of living in My Presence. Therefore you can experience it in palaces, in prisons . . . anywhere. Do not judge a day as devoid of Joy just because it contains difficulties. Instead, concentrate on staying in communication with Me. Many of the problems that clamor for your attention will resolve themselves. Other matters you must deal with, but I will help you with them. If you make problem solving secondary to the goal of living close to Me, you can find Joy even in your most difficult days.
Though the fig tree does not bud
and there are no grapes on the vines,
though the olive crop fails
and the fields produce no food,
though there are no sheep in the pen
and no cattle in the stalls,
yet I will rejoice in the LORD,
I will be joyful in God my Savior.
The Sovereign LORD is my strength;
he makes my feet like the feet of a deer,
he enables me to go on the heights.
For the director of music. On my stringed instruments.
HABAKKUK 3 : 17 – 19
Splendor and majesty are before him;
strength and joy in his dwelling place.
1 CHRONICLES 16 : 27
What to Expect From God
What can I expect from my Father in heaven? The Bible teaches that God has unlimited resources, unlimited energy, unlimited knowledge, unlimited time. He can supply all of your needs: “My God shall supply all of your needs according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:19 NIV)
The Lord’s Prayer, found in Matthew 6, gives us an example of that. It says, God, as our Father, provides three things:
Provision for today — “Give us this day our daily bread.” Pardon for yesterday – “Forgive us our debts as we have forgiven our debtors.” Protection for tomorrow — “Lead us not into temptation but deliver us from the evil one.”
God says “I’ve got all the bases covered: present, future, past. Your past? You blew it. It’s OK. It’s forgiven. Your present? I’ll provide. Your future? Don’t worry. Don’t fear.
I’ll take care of yesterday’s failures, today’s frustrations, tomorrow’s fears because I am a capable Father.”