Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Grace is Not Easy

Grace-(in Christian belief) the free and unmerited favor of God, as manifested in the salvation of sinners and the bestowal of blessings. This word has been on my heart lately and its meaning, along with conversations I’ve had with non-believers about faith and God. And it occurred to me, maybe there is this idea that receiving grace is easy or taken advantage of- because it’s a free gift from God. And I think it may seem grace is easy to receive because we can fall short and bring our sin to God- seven times seventy. Or in other words infinitely. And to some this may seem completely ridiculous and unauthentic. But from my own experience accepting grace was and is the hardest thing to do.

Accepting that God loved me in my deepest, darkest sin did not seem possible. And for so long I hated myself and my sin. I hated that I would make the same mistake again yet long to be loved & accepted by God. There were times I did want my cake and eat it too. And when I overdosed on the high and hit the low, it was a wake-up call to repentance. All those times that I went to God for forgiveness I felt horrible. Because I knew full well I would fall short again. So in short, I was not truly receiving grace.

It was simple, I didn’t believe that grace could really be for me. Because I was human and my flesh was so strong. I would never be, well, perfect. I remember so many times feeling ill-equipped to stand up for my faith because I desperately didn’t want to be seen as hypocrite. I mean, my next mistake was just around the corner- big or small. I remember being baptized as an adult and recommitting my life to purity.  I was on fire for the Lord, I thought I was ready to do all the “right” things. But not even 3 months after I was baptized, I hit rock bottom. I sinned in the worse way and I was consumed with guilt & shame for years after. I wouldn’t allow myself to receive grace, not this time. And it would have been really sad if that is where my story continued to go. Thank God, it didn’t.

But I sit here and wonder with a heavy heart how many other people feel this way right now? I wonder how many people messed up and won’t receive grace anymore. Maybe they won’t accept it because the people around them have called them a lost cause or failure. Maybe they won’t accept it because they are addicted again. Maybe they won’t accept it because they can’t get past their weaknesses to temptation. Maybe they won’t accept it because they believe they are not allowed anymore, they have screwed up one too many times. And I hate this with all my heart. I hate it because that is what the enemy wants. He wants us to believe that we are not wanted by Jesus anymore.

When we think that Jesus is done with us, we have put our own ways above His ways. We have put others thoughts about us above His thoughts about us. And the gift of grace becomes unattainable due to our own disbelief of God’s love for us.

And that is why I love this verse about Jesus.  

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. Which means, you are loved the same yesterday, today and forever {Hebrews 13:8} & take a look at this verse, it gets even better:The faithful love of the LORD never ends! His mercies never cease. Lamentations 3:22.
It took me a long time to believe that God loved me this way. And the only way I did finally believe was because Jesus met me in the darkest time of my life. He gave me a testimony that declares His glory. And that is where I think the beauty of being a Christian is. It’s not being more perfect or right than anyone. It’s not about proving I will not make more mistakes.  To me the beauty of being a Christian is sharing the way God worked in my broken life and how receiving His grace changes me each day. Each day is a new chance to honor God and accept His new mercies.

Jeremiahs Hope:

 This I recall to my mind, Therefore I have hope. The LORD'S loving kindnesses indeed never cease, For His compassion's never fail. They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness. {Lamentations 3:21-23}

Friend- Take a deep breath- you are loved. Take a deep breath- His mercies for you are new today. Don’t think about how you will mess up tomorrow. Think about the gift God is extending to you right now, in this moment. No one else can give you this beautiful gift of unconditional love. Take it and be blessed by it. Take a deep breath- nothing and no one has the upper hand over Jesus and what He can do in your life-Take a deep breath- your brokenness does not have the last word.

Take a deep breath- stop comparing and competing, you are accepted and loved as you are. Take a deep breath- there is freedom in receiving the grace of God & His love for you that never changes. Take a deep breath- and allow yourself to be changed by this amazing & real truth.


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