Grace: Grace to persevere – 11 November 2022
By Louise Gevers
At first glance no-one would have believed that a game involving a simple tower of wooden blocks –three blocks per level – each level at right angles to the level above it, could exact nail-biting tension. But each turn, the challenge for each player was to remove a single baton from anywhere in the tower, without it collapsing, balance it on the top, and make the tower grow as high as possible with each level added.
We started jovially, enjoying the challenge, but became quieter and more serious as the tower grew, conscious that even a game required time and concentration to succeed. And perseverance paid. We grew more patient and disciplined, understanding better as we went along; what we learnt was that when the foundation was firm, the tower grew steadily, but, when finally, there were just too many holes in it, it fell.
Holes in any foundation are serious.
When Paul recognised that the faith of the Galatians was on shaky ground, he warned them that “God cannot be mocked” (Galatians 6:7) and to return to the truth of the gospel that Jesus taught, to persevere in their mission.
He reminded them to “not become weary in doing good”, but rather to sow “to please the Spirit” and not “to please their flesh”. Paul realised that in their pursuit of self-will, instead of remaining united to Christ, they had caused confusion and had strayed from the truth. (Galatians 6:8-9)
Jesus had used a simple, fundamental image in John 15 to enable his disciples to understand the principles they needed to embrace, to persevere in following him.
When Jesus said, “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit”, He showed that a disciple’s relationship with him was close and personal; they would be dependent on Him in the same way that a branch is part of a tree and relies on it to grow.
When He stated, “apart from me you can do nothing”, (John 15:5) He meant His disciples to recognise that they needed to be constantly connected to Him spiritually to be able to accomplish the work He gave them to do, and to bear plentiful fruit as they did, which would honour Him; and no matter how many batons the Enemy removed from under them, they would not fall.
His grace and this reminder are for us, too. How is our tower growing?
Prayer: Lord Jesus, thank you for the reassurance of your grace for all your followers, by which we, too, will be able to patiently persevere in serving you faithfully as we remain in you, the True Vine. Amen.