Grace & Faith

Posted: March 8, 2011 in Christianity, Encouragement, Grace, Thoughts

I was thinking this morning as I was spending my morning time with God, about a friend of mine.  She’s a relatively new friend.  Though we met over a year go, we only recently began truly getting to know one another.  It’s like a meeting of the minds because we are able to bounce things off each other – and know that neither of us is going to judge the other for their thoughts, feelings, beliefs and even their actions.

The best thing about this friend is that she challenges me.  She says things that seem to jump right in the way of my way of thinking to the point that I can’t dismiss what she is saying.  This is not a bad thing.  In fact, it’s a very good thing.  I think that we learn and grow more when we are made to question ourselves, our motives, and where our beliefs are coming from.  If they aren’t coming from the right thought processes, no matter how well intentioned, then I am living with a mistaken belief.  Yet, though she challenges me, she never pushes me to jump over to her “side of the fence,” so to speak.  We are free to disagree with each other and embrace those differences in ourselves, and really I think have a stronger friendship as a result.  Honestly, though I have other great friends, I would have to say she ranks right up there as one of my best friends.

Which brings me to my subject for the day.  Last night we were talking and she said to me, “I think maybe you have a problem with grace, sometimes.”  Now, of course I denied that.  I mean how can I possibly have a problem with grace.  After all, I accepted Christ’s gift of grace when I asked Him to be my Savior.  I accept His grace on a daily basis.  I deserve none of the good I get.    The Biblical definition of grace is “God’s unmerited favor.”  It is where God gives us good that we don’t deserve.  In fact, the reality is, I deserve nothing good.  I have done nothing to earn the good things in my life.

Now, one may argue that I’ve been good.  I have tried to serve God.  I try to do what is right.  I am kind to be people.  I am forgiving.  I am loving.  But apart from grace, the reality is, I am none of those things.  In my deepest inner parts, there is darkness in me, that without God, I would not be able to withstand.  I am selfish and arrogant and proud – I am a sinner.  But God in His goodness extended me Grace.  He sent His Son to die for my sins (and the sins of the entire world), and He did that asking nothing in return.  He did that while I was still a sinner.  He didn’t wait until I was good enough.  (If that were a requirement, I’d never receive His grace).

But God didn’t stop giving His grace when I accepted His salvation.  He gives me grace every day – grace to get through difficult times, grace to forgive, grace in the form of physical and spiritual blessings.  Grace in giving  me a friend who doesn’t shy away from telling me the truth as she sees it, even though it might mean that I get angry or upset.  And then I realized – perhaps she’s right.  God knows we will continue to make mistakes.  He knows that I am going to do wrong, even though I have accepted His gift.  I am a sinner, saved by Grace, but a sinner nonetheless.  When I get myself in over my head, does He provide ways for me to overcome those difficulties?  Yes.  Does that sometimes mean humbling myself and facing the embarrassment of sometimes having to announce my failure to someone else?  Yes.  Do I still have to face the consequences of my bad decisions?  Yes.  Do I have a hard time doing those things? Absolutely.

I mentioned recently that God’s grace is not a one-time gift.  He is constantly extending it.  My job is to accept or reject it.  I can do either.  I am very good at accepting responsibility for my failures – but sometimes I go a step further and accept the responsibility of the failures of others.  Is that wrong?  Not necessarily.  I believe it’s only wrong if I am using it to punish myself.  If my motive is not to become a better person under God’s grace, but to punish myself for my past mistakes, then I am wrong.

Because God already forgave me, so if He forgave me, then I need to forgive myself.  Sometimes that means being willing to step out in faith (o.k. it means often stepping out in faith!!) to ask for that help.  Sometimes that may result in bad things happening – such as people judging me, taking advantage of me, hurting me.  But I believe that more often, it will lead to an acceptance that I never expected.  I believe that means that good will happen.  I will get the help I need.  I will be lifted up out of the pit I allowed myself to wallow it.  I will be given grace.  And isn’t grace what it’s all about?

Until Next Time,


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