“Have you renounced all confidence in your own moral or religious efforts and turned in faith completely to Jesus to be clothed with His righteousness? If so, you do have eternal life. But do you have it to the full? Are you experiencing both the peace of God that comes with salvation and the joy of God that comes with living by grace each day? If not, you may be saved, but you are living by works.” -Jerry Bridges, Transforming Grace
It breaks my heart when people think that they are outside the grace of God; that they aren‘t worthy of grace. Because, no one is. No one is worthy, no, not one!
“None is righteous, no, not one;
no one understands;
no one seeks for God.
All have turned aside; together they have become worthless;
no one does good,
not even one.” Romans 3:10-12
My brother is very hard on himself.
He is very much like my dad who doesn’t accept failure from himself. ‘Failure is not an option,’ I can hear my dad say. And, as a result, my brother has always set the bar really high for himself.
The problem with that mentality is that we will fail. It is a mathematical certainty. Our fallenness necessitates it.
What if we set the bar so high that we never reach it? We feel like a failure. We end up focusing on what we aren’t doing instead of God’s plan in what we are doing.
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11
Sometimes we need to lower the bar. Possibly lower it a lot! Not because we’re losers, but because we are human beings not gods.
I have a really low bar, I always have. Having a low bar allows me to exceed it daily because I am reaching for the really high bar set by my precious savior, Jesus Christ. I am not saying that we should all have a really low bar. I am saying that we need to do our best and let God do the rest.
In the wise words of my brother, Greg, “God’s bar is all that matters, and when we don’t reach it, Christ bridges the gap.”
“It (Grace) contains the essence of the gospel as a drop of water can contain the image of the sun.” Philip Yancey, What’s So Amazing About Grace?
Where would I be without God’s grace? I shudder at the thought!
I know what a wretch I am . . . . believe me!
- Do I pray perfectly or regularly enough? No.
- Am I in His Word enough? No.
- Do I love others enough? NO!
- Am I focused on making disciples enough? NO!!!!
- Do I love God enough?! Not even close!!!
But I take His grace and let it cover me. His grace is sufficient for me (1 Corinthians 12:9).
The more that I really understand this ‘grace’ thing, the more precious my relationship with God is to me. And, the more that His Word is becoming my very life and breath.
As I take in more grace, I become more aware of the huge chasm between God and myself! I realize how small and insignificant I am compared to an all-powerful God! The smaller I get in my mind, the bigger He becomes.
“Humility is not thinking less of yourself, it’s thinking of yourself less.”
Therefore, I exalt God and am increasingly grateful for the price Jesus paid for me. I don’t deserve His amazing grace. Not even a little!
There is a difference between receiving grace and making excuses. We know that God doesn’t want us to be lazy. However, we can’t use our shortcomings and imperfections as a reason for not accepting His grace. In other words, don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater! He is offering you grace, take it.
You don’t have to be the perfect husband/wife.
You don’t have to be able to fix everything.
You don’t have to be the perfect worker.
You don’t have to be the perfect mom/dad.
You don’t have to be the perfect missionary.
You don’t have to be the perfect student.
Just run the race marked out for you.
And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us Hebrews 12:1
The weight of the world may be on your shoulders. You may be a ‘people pleaser’ and take care of everybody. So, who takes care of you? You are not the top of the food chain, so let Him care for you and give you rest.
Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30
God says that He is gentle and humble in heart. So, quit beating yourself up and be the treasure that you are!
“The Christian does not think God will love us because we are good, but that God will make us good because He loves us.”