The joke “we’ve retreated so far, the war’s already lost” is true at TMC. Last week marked Resident Assistant (RA) Retreat, where we covered everything from counseling situations to CPR. This week was the larger Servant Leadership Staff retreat at the Hyatt Grand Champion Resort and Spa in Palm Springs. The topic was “Kingdom Living,” a series of messages done on authentic Christian community. Next week is Week of Welcome, during which all the new students arrive at TMC.
These last two weeks have impressed upon my mind how great a debtor I am to my Lord. This is a phrase overused to death, but I’ve been gaining a fuller understanding of exactly how great my debt is. Joe Keller spoke during RA Retreat about how we as Christians are simply receivers. We receive the stirring of the Holy Spirit, we receive the salvation of Jesus Christ, we receive sanctification, we receive glorification. None of these things are generated from within, and without the grace of God all would be undone instantly by my sin. Even the good works I do as a redeemed child of God requires God’s grace, as it is only Him which gives me the desire to do good works, and then gives me the ability to praise Him and not myself for such an attitude. This is why the Bible calls my works of righteousness “filthy rags.” They aren’t glorifying to God, except by His grace to make them glorifying to Himself.
The only reason my good deeds bring glory to God is because God poured forth grace into my heart specifically for that action, so that I could glorify Him in that specific action. I’m much more helpless than I realized. It may be comforting to think that I can praise God and in a way repay Him for what He has done, but it is not true. I thank God for my salvation because God gave me the ability and the desire to thank Him for my salvation. I run to the treasures of God because God has caused my eyes to see the sparkle of the treasure.