Before you start reading this post, you should know that this is a Gospel preaching-rant to myself. But, I figured maybe someone can relate and/or find some light, strength, or rest in it, so I share…..
“Though it seems to me, that in some respects I was a far better Christian, for two or three years after my first conversion, than I am now; and lived in a more constant delight and pleasure: yet of late years, I have had a more full and constant sense of the absolute sovereignty of God, and a delight in that sovereignty; and have had more of a sense of the glory of Christ, as a mediator, as revealed in the Gospel.” Jonathan Edwards
I’ve been listening, reading, and learning a lot about grace lately. Drinking in all kinds of perspectives and scripture, thoughts and reflections. I then am often challenged to think about the standard to which I hold myself. Last year I would’ve said perfection, today I say grace. I glance at how much I have changed since I first became serious about knowing Jesus, and there has been gratitude at every turn.
The circle of grace. When anyone makes Jesus their Lord they step inside the circle of grace and remain there for eternity. Grace — complete, powerful, saving, redeeming — is the same for the day-old Christian as it is for the 60-year Christian. No less for mistakes or sin, no more for accomplishments and righteous acts.
“The mark of a Christian is his affections and desires, not his momentary lapses. Not that he does well, but that he knows the pit out of which he was dug, and knows where to go for cleansing when he falls back into it.”
Maybe maturity is ever-growing dependence upon the person and work of Christ, not even “how far I’ve come.” I think I’ve slowly developed this idea in my head that…
my Bible being marked up on every page shows that I love God’s word.
when friends come to me with struggles or sin, having the “right” words to encourage and counsel them, challenging them on what they should do means I’m being used by God to disciple, that I know my stuff.
putting up a strong, peaceful, positive front means I’m trusting God.
when I tell people I’m praying for them I’m being active in my own communication with God.
No, no, no. False.
+ Knowing His Words in my heart of hearts reveal a love for the Bible.
+ When people (sinners just like me!) come with a struggle or sin or issue, I point them to Jesus and Jesus only. If they cry, I cry with them; if they want to research, I research with them; if they rejoice, I rejoice with them. The Holy Spirit works, changes, matures, reveals. My life’s instances, my own learnings, could be used by God sometimes, but my responsibility is not to fix someone’s problems for them, or tell them what to do, but to love them and seek Jesus alongside them.
+ Always putting up that front doesn’t point someone to Jesus, in my experience I feel like it makes me unapproachable. It paralyzes me into believing that for the world to see I have an active relationship with Him my attitude must always be good, hopeful, peaceful. False. Embracing my humanness, revealing the mess underneath (doubt, fear, pride), yet continually pointing to Jesus. Maybe this is what it means to be a light in this world. I’m no better than the next person, but I know Jesus. And I want to share him with the world.
Yes, I suck sometimes. But Jesus. Yes, I’m prideful, doubtful. But Jesus. Yes, I made a huge mistake. But Jesus.
+ Carving out unhurried time, in my living room at 5:30 in the morning, or in my heart while I work, for prayer is being active in communication with Him, not simply telling people I’m praying for them. Yes, that can be super uplifting and helpful to someone’s soul to know that I am, but it hardly means anything if I don’t actually do it.
Grace gives me eyes to see myself in light of who Christ is, to humble myself before Him. To move my heart from a list of moral action to sitting at His feet, desiring others to sit with me. Grace is preaching the Gospel to myself. Grace is being able to fail and make mistakes, God still getting glory. And to be quite honest, I think Grace is sanity!
Two steps forward and then a fall? Get back up, and praise the Lord for those two steps.