Grace. We sing about how amazing it is. We hear our pastors talk about it. But what is this grace, really?
Merriam-Webster defines it as follows:
a : unmerited divine assistance given humans for their regeneration or sanctification
b : a virtue coming from God
c : a state of sanctification enjoyed through divine grace
Hmmm…. I don’t know about you, but when I read that, I don’t feel too inspired to belt out a chorus of Amazing Grace.
So let’s ditch the stuffy intellectual definition, shall we? Grace, the kind given to us by God, is simply this: getting something we didn’t deserve. Seriously. It’s that simple. Now there’s also mercy, which is when God doesn’t give us what we rightfully deserve. But let’s not get too tripped up over that right now. We’re just going to refer to both things as grace.
So now that we’ve got that down, sit back for a few moments before you read on. If you are a Christian, please ponder about what it is that God has given you that you don’t deserve. Think big. And if you are not a Christian, I would ask you to also please sit back for a few moments and think about life and God, and realize that we are separated from Him forever because of sin. What could you use from Him?
What did you think about? I hope you’ll think about this regularly. When you do, though, not in a condemning way. We know from Paul’s letter to the Romans that there isn’t condemnation for those who are in Christ (Romans 8:1). See! That’s grace! Trust me, you will hear that little voice from your past trying to condemn you and tell you that God’s grace can’t cover “that” (whatever your “that” happens to be.) Lies. All lies.
Grace is an incredible thing. I try to not ever let a day go by where I don’t think about how amazing God’s grace really is. It’s multi-faceted. It covers so many things. But here’s something we all need to grasp. Listen to this. I’ve battled this, and I see some of my beloved sisters battle this now. If you battle it, I really want you to absorb this, because it’s important. There is one thing that can limit how far God’s grace can work in your life.
You set the limit. You can let His grace in just far enough for your salvation and stop there. On an eternal level, I’m really happy for you. But my sweet sisters (and brothers), if that’s all you allow His grace to do, you are carrying a load He never wanted you to carry by yourself.
I have done that. It’s not fun. I’ve watched friends do it. It’s not fun to watch. We all come to Christ with “stuff”, and we all pick up “stuff” as we go through life with Christ. His grace is available to go into every aspect of our lives, even the deepest stuff we lock away and think we have to hide from everybody. We do not have to hide it from Him. Give it to Him. We are called to give him all that “stuff”! (1 Peter 5:7). He tells us His yoke is easy and His burden is light. (Matthew 11:30). That you carry around, trying to fix on your own, light and easy? Mine never was, and I’m guessing yours isn’t either.
Do you trust God? No, I don’t mean in theory, I mean in practice. Do you really, truly trust Him? Do you believe those promises are nice to talk about, but you are really sure He’s going to come through for you, so you should probably take full control over all of whatever the situation(s) is that’s weighing you down?
See, when we don’t trust Him enough to take all our stuff to Him, to let Him in to our deepest hurts and sins that we struggle with, His grace has no room to move there.
I speak from experience here. When I came back to Christ (more like He came and dragged me out of the pit I dug for myself), I had a trust issue. Mind you, I came by this trust issue legitimately. I wish I could say I’ve resolved it with actual humans, but that’s a work in progress. Anyway, I digress…
So I was loving my new church, and things were going well. But I’m going to be really transparent here….the majority of my Bible study was spent on looking for a loophole to prove all of those nice promises didn’t apply to me. I was good for salvation, but beyond that, I was sure I wasn’t going to receive one lick of favor from God. True story. I believed it for everybody else, just not me. That all changed at one of our monthly prayer services. No, it wasn’t any big huge fancy thing. Just something our pastor suggested we pray about, and the little, still voice said in response that I wasn’t letting Him love me completely. And He was right.
After He showed me what was going on and got me through it, the barrier to grace, to letting His love in was gone. It could get into everything! The ugly parts that haven’t seen the light of day for more years than I will admit to! But now His love and grace can heal, where before, they were not available to Him.
Does God have the power to push in and do whatever He wants in you? Yes. Is He going to? Sometimes He will bring you something in your life that drives you literally to your knees after the bottom falls out or He’s allowed a shaking up in your life. But usually He is waiting for us to let Him in at every stage.
So now I ask you again to sit back and think. Do you have limits with Christ? If you aren’t sure, ask Him to reveal that to you. He will. If you do, just be honest with Him about it, about your fears of letting go, and asking Him to help you with that. Because here’s another thing about His grace–it is sufficient to cover our weakness. In fact, His power is perfected in our weakness! (2 Corinthians 12:9)
Heavenly Father, I am so blessed by your unmerited grace and favor. I thank you that in my weakness, your grace sustains me. I am grateful for your grace that draws me to you. It is truly Amazing. I pray for every soul reading this to open every part of themselves to You, to let that grace bring healing and freedom to every aspect of their lives. In Jesus’ Name.