What comes to mind when you hear the word grace?
Do you think of a formal church service? Maybe a girl’s name? If asked to define it, what would you say?
Those who grew up in Sunday School might remember the acronym: God’s Riches At Christ’s Expense. Maybe you’ve heard some other catchy definition. Maybe you really aren’t sure.
I’ve heard about grace my whole life (something for which I’m incredibly thankful). But amazing didn’t really describe how I felt about it.
I was a good girl. Sure, God had forgiven my sins – at five years old. But my kindergartener shortcomings didn’t seem all that significant. Even during my teen and young adult years, I never did anything too bad.
So the grace we discussed at church only seemed amazing when I heard stories about drug addicts and ex-cons coming to faith. For people like that, grace truly was amazing. For me, though, I just didn’t feel it. Not only did I not do the really bad stuff, I spent my life doing lots of good stuff – having daily quiet times, leading Bible studies, teaching my kids about Jesus…
Because of my goodness, the amazingness of grace was lost on me.
Until that good girl life crumbled and I couldn’t keep up with my checklist Christianity. In that season of survival when I had nothing good to offer God, I felt His favor like never before. Suddenly, I saw the repulsiveness of my self-righteous Christianity, the utter inadequacy of my good deeds to earn His smile.
Suddenly, I began to understand grace.
Through all those years of pride and performance-based faith, God knew the depths of my heart. He saw the judgment with which I looked at others. He recognized how unimpressed I was with His blood-purchased grace.
Yet He loved me.
That is the essence of grace.
For the self-righteous and the unrighteous, grace is the key to understanding our Father’s heart. It’s an inseparable part of His nature, the basis on which He relates to us.
If your view of grace leaves you uninspired, maybe a fresh perspective will jump-start your heart as it did mine.
Our pastor recently gave this definition:
If you imagine God’s face as He looks at you, what expression do you see?
Do you see Someone excited to lavish you with good gifts? Is He favorably disposed toward you? Do kindness and generosity radiate from His eyes? Do you feel Him drawing you close, not to give you tomorrow’s to-do list, but to just be? Be close, be loved, be renewed, be transformed…
Or do you feel it’s up to you to keep yourself close to Him, to make yourself want Him, to grow and produce fruit so He’ll be happy with you? Must you earn His grace by trying hard to be humble, or is humility merely the recognition that you can’t?
Grace is only grace if we don’t deserve it (for both unbelievers and those who know Him). It flows freely, abundantly, exponentially from the heart of our God.
“For from His fullness we have all received, grace upon grace” (John 1:16).
Unexplainable, illogical, even scandalous by human standards, this grace is woven into every facet of our relationship with God.
You are deeply loved, daughter of grace. Your Father delights in you. He is lavish in kindness, abundant in power, persistent in His pursuit of your heart.
Grace is yours if you are His.
Rest in it. Revel in it. Run free in it.
What amazes you about grace? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.