You know the saying "Bad things come in threes"? Do you think that that could also be true for learning lessons....at least for those of us who are stubborn and hard headed like me (although that number should be more like 10-20 times)? It seems lately everywhere I turn I am faced with the Message of grace! Maybe it's the fact that I've been re-working my way through the book "The Reign of Grace" by Scotty Smith that my eyes are so open to seeing the message all around me. But It also seems that everyone has been talking a bit about grace lately (check out two of my favorite blogs to see what others have to say about it at... http://www.dereklevendusky.com/?p=1146 and http://www.jonacuff.com/stuffchristianslike/2011/08/taking-god-seriously/ ).
Tonight on my run I was thinking a lot about my relationship with God....both where I've come in it and where I am in it right now....and I realized that grace is such a hard thing for me to comprehend. I grew up in the church...in fact from the moment I was conceived my butt has in a pew (well maybe not completely consistently but close enough)......and yet the idea that God, who created me and knows me better than I know myself, chooses to show me grace in spite of all that I've done, do and will do is astounding! I can't wrap my brain around it!
The crazy thing is.....that's the gospel right there.....that God treats us not as our sins deserve, but instead loves us so much he sent his son to die for us so that we wouldn't have to pay the punishment for our sins and be separated from him forever! How could I have grown up in the church, been "saved" at the age of 14, and overwhelmingly drawn back to God a year and a half ago....and yet still not have the complete understanding that it's by GRACE I have been saved and not of my own works (Ephesians 2:8)! How do I get that knowledge to move the six inches from my head to my heart?
It seems no matter how hard I try to keep my relationship with God real and authentic...and basically gospel centered, I always slide back into the belief that somehow I can earn God's love and acceptance. For some reason it's easier for me to create an imaginary check list of all the things I'm suppose to do, say and be as a Christian and then check those off as my proof to God that I am some how worthy of the gift of his Son. Yet I'm not worthy and time and time and time again I am faced with the reality that I am a sinner who will never get it all right..... I am selfish and self centered, I have wrong motivations, I say and/or think rude things, I hurt people, I disappoint people, I build up walls between myself and others, etc. How does any of this prove that I somehow have earned my way into God's love?! It can't and it doesn't! I need grace.....not just just a knowledge of it in my head, but an understanding of it in my heart!