“It always helps to have the right tool for the job,” my father-in-law used to say. Even if his point weren’t so intuitive, who could argue with a man who built his own house? Helping him with projects over the years, I got better at using familiar tools and learned to use some I never knew existed—not only tools that build up, but also those that tear apart, for there is a time when dislodging or disassembling existing structures is our essential next step. Nothing more happens until we clear obstacles of any size, whether applying the sledge hammer to the concrete, the crowbar to the wallboard, or even a needle to the splinter.
Physical impediments are usually in plain view, and our solutions are clear. Obstructions of the soul—rebellion, deception, or self-centeredness, for instance—are much less conspicuous, even though many have been hard-wired or firmly cemented since childhood. Too often we reach for the wrong tool or apply the wrong solution. Sometimes we just open up the flow and go with it: “Whatever feels good,” we say, or “Everyone for himself,” though deep inside we don’t believe our own bromides. Other times we clamp down on our sinful nature with a list of “do’s and don’ts” a mile long, but they cannot change our heart.
So what is the right tool for detaching ourselves from our old sinful nature—that self-willed part of us that wants to live life on our terms and not God’s? The apostle Paul urges us to reach into the Father’s toolbox and get a firm grip on grace, for there is something about His unconditional love that pries us away from our ways and bonds us instead to His. Grace is God’s power tool, “the right tool for the job.”
Father, so fill me with the joy of your Spirit today that I eagerly leave my old ways behind me. May I trust in your grace and thrive. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
[Click here to read today’s Scripture in Titus 3:3-8.]