Growing in God’s grace

Published 11:10 am Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Proverbs 9:17 reads like this, “Stolen water is sweet; food eaten in secret is delicious!”

I might have told you this story before, but hopefully it will have a new meaning in this devotion. I remember when Ava was around 3. One night, like all nights, she didn’t want to eat her food. She was “full,” but still wanted dessert. We told her she needed to eat it all before she could have anything sweet. As Jennifer and I settled down on the couch to watch a few minutes of news, Ava comes in the den and says all done. In shock we ask to see her plate, and she brings it to us; sure enough it’s empty. Confused still, we got up and looked in the trash can. What did we find … her food. Big surprise! When we are children, we think we come up with schemes that no one has ever thought of when really they aren’t that elaborate to those with experience in such things. It’s interesting then, that as we grow, we often mature in our guise, our scheming, our secret plans. And as adults, we can get away with much of what we try and fool others with.

I think that is the measure of maturity, not as adults, but as Christians. How do you act, what goes through your mind, or out of your mouth when no one is looking or can hear you? We are told as children that nothing is hidden from God. God sees and knows everything. But we still think our “sins” can be done safely in “secret.” It’s pretty easy to seem faithful and upright in church, or out in the community, or even at home in front of the family. But what about when you are just by yourself? When it’s only you and God who will know what’s up? It’s the private moments that really measure our platitude as Christians. Next time you are alone. Next time you are all by yourself. Remember that God sees you, your deceased grandmother might see you, your deceased spouse might too. Ask yourself this question the next time it’s just you … would I want what I think, how I act, or what comes from my heart right now, in these moments, to be known by anyone and everyone around me? If the answer is no, we need to mature in faith and grow in God’s grace so that we can be better followers of Jesus.

Tim Beck is pastor of Kenbridge United Methodist Church. His email address is