Friday, August 17, 2012
The Truth About Grace
For so long I've tried to be the best.
My entire life has been based on a false assumption. An assumption that I had to live up to something...to a set of impossibly high goals.
No one had set these goals for me. Not my parents. Not my teachers. Not my youth pastor or my college professors or my friends.
I accepted Christ when I was young. I was raised in church under sound Bible teaching and preaching. I've heard truth my entire life.
But somehow, somewhere, I got something mixed up.
I knew I was saved by grace through faith, but I thought that after that, it was all up to me.
The Christian life was a test to show how good I could be. How spiritual I really was.
It was about setting impossibly high goals for myself and then working with all my might to reach them.
Some of the goals were good like reading my Bible every day and never yelling at my children, but most of them were foolish, like always having the house decorated just right for a holiday or not posting too much on facebook.
I heard God's words about growing in grace and the fruits of the Spirit, but I thought those were just more things I was supposed to do. When I read the greatest commandments, "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, soul, strength, and mind, and thy neighbor as thyself," I thought that those were just supposed to be the first two things on my endless list to be the "perfect me" God expected me to be.
And oh, how I failed.
Over, and over, and over I failed.
I was sure that if I just worked a little harder, prayed a little harder, then.....then, I would feel at rest.
That rest never came.
Day after day I would work......and the burden was so very heavy.
The fear, too, was awful. The fear that someone would find out how empty and hollow I really was on the inside. The fear that I would be judged and found wanting.....by anybody.....by everybody.
And then one day........
How else can I explain it?
God has been working this in me for a long time. Working behind the scenes, through trials and failures, through His Word, through testimonies of other "good girls" like myself, to open my blind eyes to His truth.
The fact that I can do nothing.
I am nothing more than a sinner saved by grace.
Without His grace I could never be saved from my sins, and without His grace I could never live the Christian life.
And when this seemingly simple truth finally pushed its way through all my distorted thinking, my burden was lifted!
No more striving to be the perfect wife and mother.
No more working day-in-and-day-out on my lists.......no more lists!
A letting go, a freedom from the law, and a resting where I'd only known work before.
Colossians 1:27 To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory:
I am a broken, messy sinner striving to look good to all those around me, but that's not what Jesus wants.
He wants me as I am so that His love, and His grace, and His mercy can shine through.
Christ in me, the hope of glory.
That's the truth about grace...
I can't do this, but He can.
I can't be the perfect spouse, but He can.
I can't be the perfect parent, but He can.
I can't be the perfect Christian, but He can.
Oh, friend, He can!