Grace Immersion

Day 36

Grace Fuel

Read Colossians 2:6–12

So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in him. Colossians 2:6

This is a great time in our Grace Immersion for a reminder: You don’t learn about grace and then move on to other, deeper doctrines in order to really mature as a believer. You mature only by remaining focused on the infinite riches of God’s grace to you, even as you study other facets of the faith.

This was brought home to me the other day when I proved once again that I am not exactly an automotive expert. In the latest of several car-related fiascos, I successfully (but unintentionally) disabled yet another vehicle.

Our executive pastor Mark Spurlock was headed out for the day when he realized his car’s gas tank was on absolute empty. He’d coasted into the church parking lot that morning and had of course forgotten all about it until it was time to go. Being the ever-helpful senior pastor and friend, I said, “Hey, I remember seeing a gas container down in the bus garage!”

We found the container and poured its contents into Mark’s tank. Brilliant! We had shown ourselves to be resourceful problem-solvers. I waved good-bye from the parking lot as he drove out to the street in his car. Which then sputtered. And backfired. And coughed. And died.

“Hmmm. Maybe there’s a fuel pump problem,” I growled, trying to sound like a real car guy. We just couldn’t figure it out though and ended up calling the man who drives and maintains our church bus. He came over, took one look at the container from which we’d poured gas into Mark’s car, and doubled over with laughter. Turned out the two genius pastors had poured diesel gas into a normal engine. Apparently you’re supposed to continue running your car on the same kind of fuel you started with. Who knew?

Paul says in today’s verse “…just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in him.” This one verse could save so many running-on-empty Christians a lot of grief. You start your Christian life on grace fuel. But if you’re like most, you often try to continue on works fuel. And then you get perplexed: How come I’m running out of gas when I’ve been pouring so much into the tank?

The problem isn’t that you’re not showing initiative or not trying hard. In fact you’re pressing on the pedal as hard as you can. The problem is that it just doesn’t work. You’re using the wrong fuel.

We start our faith life singing “Amazing Grace,” but then we often continue by singing “Working on a Chain Gang,” which could have been the soundtrack for the Colossian church.

It was under siege by false teachers who taught that Jesus had a role to play, but there were also many extras to add to the spiritual to-do list. It’s “Christ Plus” thinking: Jesus is okay, but I need some extra spiritual secrets and practices. Paul says, no, just stick with a simple focus on Christ and His grace.

Sadly, most Christians think the doctrine of grace applies only to salvation. It’s for spiritual newbies to get started. The reality is, grace is for every moment of your Christian life. You need grace to face trials, grace to know how to treat others, an appreciation of the riches of grace to deal with discouragement, a grace focus to change your sinful behavior…. So start on grace, and keep living that way!

As you’ll see this week, the ripple effects of this kind of life will touch everything and everyone around you.

What distractions or substitutes are there for simple faith today?

What do you think it means to continue in Christ just as you received Christ?

Ask God to help you begin today to live in Jesus just as you received Jesus.