I’ve been a Christian a long time, yet every once in a while, I have this gnawing sense that I’m missing much of what God wants for me to know about Him.
Do you ever feel that way?
Every time I find myself in such a place, I look up and ask God for a greater capacity to know and understand Him. And every time, He leads me to new places of grace. I’m a doer by nature so it’s unnatural for me to rely more heavily on what Jesus has already done than on what I do from day to day. Dallas Willard once said, “Grace is not opposed to effort; it’s opposed to earning.”
We so often get it backwards. We start with our striving and wonder why it always leaves us bewildered and exhausted. It’s not a sustainable way to live. But when we start with Jesus and His immeasurable gift of grace, we can live out of the overflow of His love without it draining the life right out of us.
When we believe—really believe—that we have nothing to prove and all of eternity to live for, we start making choices for the right reasons.
God wants us to be comfortable in our own skin. He wants us to enjoy the journey. He wants us to smile at the thought of His love for us. He gets excited about partnering with us in ways that fit who we are. He longs for us to see how much He enjoys us. Life is hard enough on its own. We make it so much harder by thinking our performance has the power to diminish or add to our value. It doesn’t and never will.
Recently on Middays I spoke with author and Pastor John Lindell about his book, “Soul Set Free: Why Grace is More Liberating Than You Believe.” He writes:
There is a soul-freeing power available to every person, a power so transformative that it changes everything about the way we see life and encounter God. It liberates us from guilt and draws us closer to God so that we can live out the purpose for which we were created. That power is the grace of God that comes through the gospel. It’s the key that sets your soul free.
If you’re tired, worn out, and weary, just rest a while. If you tend to berate yourself for your not-enough-ness, stop doing that. Offer yourself the kind of compassion that Jesus offers you. If you’ve stopped trying altogether because you just can’t get it together, welcome to the club; none of us has it together. May you rise up again, but this time with a fresh awareness that nothing will ever separate you from God’s love. You’re free to be a work in progress without the condemnation. Isn’t that just the best news ever?
Grace changes everything
“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”
Matthew 11:28-30, MSG