Focusing on Grace

{Disclosure: There are affiliate links within this post; meaning if you choose to purchase the item(s) linked within this post a small portion of the money will be given to me at no additional charge to you.}

God’s grace blows my mind. His love for us is so great that He freely offers His grace. He gives it knowing every shortcoming we have and sin we’ve ever committed (and will commit). (Ephesians 2:8-9)

His grace fills in the gap between us, where we are and where He’s designed us to go (Ephesians 2:8).

His grace tells me to rest in all that Christ has done (Hebrews 4:1-3).

His grace assures me that I am covered in the righteousness of Christ (Romans 5:17).

His grace is my strength. (2 Corinthians 12:9)

His grace is forgiveness (Ephesians 1:7).

His grace never runs out (Ephesians 1:13-14).

It’s hard to define. It can’t be earned. It’s a gift. And we have it even when we don’t know it’s there.

And grace is the characteristic of God that’s probably the hardest for me to accept.

What’s holding me back:

1. I want Him to tell me the rules, to make things black and white.

I can be a rule follower – so I think. So, what I do is impose rules on myself (thinking this is the way God wants things to go) and I end up miserable. The weight of these expectations burden (and harden) my heart, I lose sight of what God is doing, who He’s placed in my life, and the gifts He has to offer. What I’m trying to offer is not what He wanted in the first place. He wants my love, my heart, my devotion – He wants a relationship, not a robot. Why I thought (…think…) I can do it this way makes no sense – it didn’t work for the Israelites and it won’t work for me (or anyone else).

The Israelites had hundreds of laws to follow with God Himself in their midst, and they didn’t make the mark (Romans 8:3). They had the weight of God, His law, on their shoulders and they couldn’t carry it. He sent Christ, who brought grace, to lift the burden and fulfill the law (John 1:17, Romans 6:14). (I feel the weight from my self-imposed laws and they are suffocating – I can’t even imagine how it would feel if it were a weight from God Himself.)

2. I want to earn His love.

I think I should have to. I want to pay Him back for the good He’s done for me by being the moral, good girl – but the hard truth is, even that’s not enough. Even in my striving, even in my absolute best, it’s not enough to even come close to matching what He’s done for me. That’s why He offers His grace (Ephesians 2:8-9).

We are to receive it, not work for it – that wouldn’t make it grace. We are to give it as freely as it is given to us – to ourselves and others.

It’s such a battle because we don’t live in a world that honors grace, but rather in a world that glorifies striving to get ahead, to be enough on our own. Our world teaches us that if you don’t work hard enough then you don’t get _____; then you’re shamed for not getting _____. And this is what makes grace so beautiful and so ridiculously confusing (I can literally feel the war between my flesh and spirit with this at times!). God knows we are finite creatures, incapable of perfection. He and only He is and ever will be perfect. He covers us in that – His grace is the buffer – He minds the gap.

But we have to receive it. He offers it to all – we just say yes. He lets us try on our own, but I’ve come to find that that’s no way to truly live.

God, I want to live in Your grace. I want to be perfect as You are perfect (Matthew 5:48). I used to think that meant I had to try my best to be just like You. But You’ve shown me that the true meaning of that verse is that YOU are the One that makes me perfect; covered by your grace and righteousness I am perfect as You are perfect. The only way to this is by clinging to you. No rules, no laws, no rituals can bring me to the place of perfection, to the place of perfect unity with You, like the sacrifice You’ve made for me. It amazes me that this is what You chose to do to bring glory to Yourself. If I could strive and work hard enough to earn Your approval, to gain all You have to offer, all the glory would be to me. But, we know this isn’t so. In reality my striving makes things worse – it’s a resistance to Your beautiful gift of grace and deflects the glory You so rightfully deserve. Forgive me for trying so hard in my own strength. Thank you for giving me Yours.

[If you want a great read that beautifully shares God’s grace, you should check out The Ragamuffin Gospel: Good News for the Bedraggled, Beat-Up, and Burnt Out by Brennan Manning – I don’t think you’ll regret it. (affiliate link)]

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Is God’s grace something that you easily accept? How has the way you approach His grace shaped the way you relate to Him? Please share in the comments below or on the Facebook page, I’d love to hear from you.

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{Disclosure: There are affiliate links within this post; meaning if you choose to purchase the item(s) linked within this post a small portion of the money will be given to me at no additional charge to you.}

 

 

2 thoughts on “Focusing on Grace

  1. Melanie Hadley says:

    When I first recognised God’s grace clearly, it was as the ability to do with ease what had always been impossible for me to do in my own strength.
    Although I had studied the topic of grace and wished for it and believed that it was given for me, and knew that everything God had done for me demonstrated it, it was a concept and an ideal that I had not experienced in any tangible way.
    On this occasion I did not “approach His grace”, his grace was quietly given to me to enable me to cope with a situation.
    I was experiencing life as a lot of difficult circumstances landing on top of me one after another. I knew I couldn’t take any more, not one more problem. The next “unfair” thing I saw coming at me was in the form of a person with a complaint about something that was not my fault. My normal feelings in response and my normal way of coping was to try to fight it off by arguing, protesting, denying, minimising, blaming, and exhibiting behaviour that indicated that my emotional state was like that of a trapped animal.
    But this time, I was suddenly different. I was calm, peaceful on the inside, graceful and gracious and generous on the outside, I experienced a distance between me and the problem, I felt as if as if I was bigger than the situation – above it, and I was able easily to put my thoughts and feelings aside to demonstrate understanding and empathy for the other person, to side with them and agree about the problem, to acknowledge and appreciate their effort and character in doing everything they could do. I knew this was not “me”, it was His divine power. What God says in His Word is true and real and it is for all those who believe.
    Romans 5:2 Through Him we also have access by faith into this [remarkable state of] grace in which we [firmly and safely and securely] stand. Let us rejoice in our hope and the confident assurance of [experiencing and enjoying] the glory of [our great] God [the manifestation of His excellence and power].
    2 Corinthians 12:9 He said to me, “My grace is enough for you, because power is made perfect in weakness.”
    Ephesians 3:7 Of this [gospel] I was made a minister by the gift of God’s grace given me through the working of His power.
    Ephesians 1:19 I also pray that you will understand the incredible greatness of God’s power for us who believe him.

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