Monday, December 14, 2009

If I was really living by grace...

As you've been learning of the wonder of God's unconditional love, and growing in His grace, have you ever wondered or thought to yourself, "If God's grace really is so powerful, and I claim to believe in it and to be walking in it, then why do I still do the things I do?"

"If Christ's life is really my life, and I'm really abiding in Him and Him in me, then why do I fall so short of living a godly life?  Why do I keep sinning?  Why haven't I overcome certain things, and why don't I love others the way that I really want to - with the very love of God?"

You know what I'm saying?  Ever felt like that?  You know grace and agape-love is powerful and preeminent, so why, if you are truly filled with it and walking in it, doesn't it always show?

Well, first off, know this.  No matter what you look like on the outside or feel like on the inside:
  • You are not condemned.
  • You are no less of a son of God.
  • God still loves you and likes you with a passion beyond your comprehension.
  • You have been perfected forever.
  • You are complete in Him.
  • You are accepted in the Beloved.
  • You are the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus.
  • When you are faithless, He remains faithful.
  • The love of God does abide in you.
  • You are in the light.
All of this is true, not because of your abilities to keep them true, but because of God's grace.  They are realities that are beyond the scope of our five senses.  You may or may not see or feel or taste or smell or hear the outward expression of these things, but nonetheless they are realities that are fully true and that cannot be denied because God Himself has made these things to be true by His own grace, when you were raised together with Christ.  Your behavior and your senses and inside feelings are not always representative of these permanent truths, but that doesn't make the truth any less true.

You truly want these things that are true of you inwardly to be expressed outwardly.  It's really who you are, so it's only natural that you want to walk in them more fully.  But who's to say that the outward working of these things should happen in one day, one week, one month, one year, five years, a decade... or a lifetime?  What I mean is, if you or anyone else puts some sort of a time line or time limit on these changes in your life, it's all subjective and superficial.  It's man-generated.  It's fleshly.

Which leads me to say that all of this must be (and is) God's very own work.  While we fret and worry about how our lives are turning out, He remains calm and worry-free.  He knows that He is at work in us, to will and to do according to His good pleasure.  He knows that we are not the product of our own workmanship, but of His.  He knows that He began a good work in us and He doesn't worry about whether or not He will be faithful to complete that good work!

From our own experiences and from the lives of countless biblical characters, we can see that growing in grace and love is not always neat and tidy.  It can be quite messy.  It's a perfect work that is being done by God from the inside out, but it's not always going to appear that way.  You know you're not the person you were as you look back on your life.  You've seen God's grace at work in your life.  You've experienced transformation in one way or another, and you know it's all been God's work.  Continue to trust Him, that, even though there are some really messy things in your life right now, He's faithfully at work in you, working things out in His own ways, in His own timing.  Rest in that.


  1. Thanks for the message bro!

  2. As I was trying to explain to someone recently, it only happens when you cease trying, when you cease trying to "help God." In my life, it has been as if I have awoken from a dream and realized I have just trusted God with something that I have never trusted Him with before. Or shown someone grace that would have been the subject of my ire in the past. About all you can do at that point is fall on your knees and thank God because you know that what you have witnessed had nothing to do with you. It was Christ in you as you.

    To Him be the Glory


  3. Powerful post just what I need to remember

  4. Wow Joel, you don't know how much I needed to hear that today! Wonderful! HE'S in charge of the growth, so I don't have to stress about being a little (or a lot!) "messy" right now! Thank God for that!

  5. Hey all... I'm glad this was encouraging. I was encouraged by the Lord as I was writing it. Indeed, it's when we stop trying that we find that He has been at work in us all along!

  6. A word I really needed to hear today. Thanks be to God that we have been everything we need for life and godliness. And that he knows what is going on. Been wobbling around for a few years now. But it's encouraging to know that it's not in vain.

  7. Anonymous,

    It sure is good to know that "he knows what's going on!" We're His workmanship, not our own workmanship, and so we can rest in His sufficiency even when we feel we're 'wobbling around' as you say. I pray you continue to be encouraged in His love and grace.