Grace. So sweet to hear and so beautiful to understand is the unmerited mercy lavished upon us by God.
The concept of God’s grace is widely proclaimed and celebrated in the church – which is rightly so – and as Christians we welcome it joyfully into our lives. However, many of us tend to be more versed in understanding the moment we’re met by grace than we are in its outworking.
The jubilant moment of salvation or repentance, when we feel the weight of sin lifted off us, is precious to God. However, grace is much more than a key to heaven.
I had thought for many years that I had fully embraced God’s grace into my life. However, it’s only recently that I realized grace has been staying in my guest room rather than living as a permanent resident.
So, I asked the question: “what does it really look like to embrace grace?”
Fully incorporating God’s grace into our lives means going beyond the point of receiving it. This can be seen clearly in Ephesians 2:8:
‘For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance as our way of life.’
Grace is an undeserved gift – yes! But there’s more to it than that. Ephesians shows us that there must now be a resulting shift in our lives. We must learn to act differently, but perhaps more foundationally we must learn how to think and believe differently!
Proverbs 4:23 reveals that our external actions are a by-product of our inner-ecosystems.
‘Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.’
Hence, to truly embrace the lifestyle which grace has afforded us we must begin with the heart. We need to fully believe that we are in fact who the Bible says we are as sons and daughters of the King.
So, what does that actually mean?
It means that we must stop spending more time thinking about what we’re doing wrong than what we’re getting right. To truly internalise the knowledge that we are righteous and remind ourselves that we are doing a good job.
It looks like finally refusing a spirit of rejection. Replacing the lies of ‘no-one likes me,’ and ‘I’m so awkward,’ with truths such as ‘I am heard’ and ‘I am valuable.’
Finally, and perhaps almost universally, it’s recognising the strength in vulnerability. To learn to humble ourselves enough to reveal our struggles and emotions.
Since the moment that we were set free we have ‘known’ the truth about ourselves, however we have simply failed to believe it. It’s as though we are Olympic swimmers who, having received a gold medal wake up the next morning believing and living as though we weren’t good enough for the local swim-team.
This is why grace is more than a moment. It’s a well we must keep re-drawing truth from as we partner with the Lord in transforming our hearts and participate in the good works He set aside for us. A friend of mine once summed it up brilliantly;
‘It’s a faith journey to believe what God says about you.’
This may seem obvious, but it has been quite helpful for me on days where I have felt very much ‘not enough.’ I actually have to choose out of faith to believe the truth. I must cut away the undergrowth and stamp a brand-new pathway into the earth of my mind. Even when I don’t really believe it – especially when I don’t really feel it.
So – let’s celebrate! Our salvation has removed the cloak of our transgressions. Now it’s time to stretch our muscles and sluff off the lingering feeling! As we do, I dare say we’ll find ourselves delighted in the new way we perceive ourselves. But what’s more is the rejoicing of a groaning world as we begin to act accordingly.
Lucy (Australia), is currently doing her DTS at YWAM Lausanne.