Discovering God’s Grace
2 CORINTHIANS 9:13
One problem though was when I became a Christian I did not understand God’s Gift of Grace. While I was always able to extend Grace to others especially those who were suffering – I was not able to extend that same Grace to my family or receive His Grace myself. UNTIL …
Last year when I was looking for a Christian book to read while I was traveling, I asked God to lead me to something new and inspiring. As I scanned my bookshelves I noticed a book entitled TrueFaced. Now this book had been on my shelf for seven years and I had never read it. Why was I now drawn to it? I did not know at the time – but I took it off the shelf and put it in my brief case to read on my flight.
As I read the book I immediately knew why God led me to this book. The book presented two paths – “The Path of Pleasing God” and “The Path of Trusting God”. I was immediately drawn to “The Path of Pleasing God.” After all, I thought, wasn’t that the more admirable path?
My eyes were opened when “The Path of Pleasing God” led me to “The Room of Good Intentions” and the word over the doorknob was “Self Effort”.
I realized that …
- Self-effort was the story of my life – putting forth the effort to please God. This led to weariness and emptiness.
- I was “striving hard to be all God wants me to be” but I was never able to achieve God’s standard. This led to frustration and guilt.
- I was “working on my sin to achieve an intimate relationship with God” but when I would always fall short that was when I turned away from God in shame.
- “Increasingly the path to pleasing God seems to be about how I can keep God pleased with me” and because I could not resolve my sin in my own power it caused me to put on masks to hide those sins. At least when I wore the masks I would be accepted in my Christian community.
- My life equation was “more right behavior + less wrong behavior = Godliness.” The problem was my wrong behavior often outweighed my right behavior leading to more frustration, guilt and shame.
I was humbled as I learned that …
- “We can never resolve our sin by working on it” – only God can resolve our sin – this leads us to victory.
- “Only by trusting can we truly please God. If our primary motive is pleasing God, we’ll never please Him enough and we’ll never learn trust. Pleasing God is a good desire. It just can’t be our primary motivation or it’ll imprison our hearts” and cause us to wear masks and not be real.
- “Until you trust God nothing you do will please God.” I am going to trust Him to deliver me from my sin.
- “Pleasing is not a means to our godliness. It is the fruit of our godliness, for it’s the fruit of trust.”
- True Grace was “Standing with God, my sin in front of us, working on it together.”
Answer this question:
Does the God who lavishly provides you with his own presence,
his Holy Spirit, working things in your lives you could never do for yourselves, does he do these things because of your strenuous moral striving or because you trust him to do them in you?
The obvious impossibility of carrying out such a moral program should make it plain that no one can sustain a relationship with God that way.
The person who lives in right relationship with God
does it by embracing what God arranges for him.
Doing things for God is the opposite of entering into what God does for you. Habakkuk had it right:
“The person who believes God, is set right by God—and that’s the real life.” Rule-keeping does not naturally evolve into living by faith,
but only perpetuates itself in more and more rule-keeping,
a fact observed in Scripture: “The one who does these things [rule-keeping] continues to live by them.”
GALATIANS 3:5-6,11-12 (THE MESSAGE)
Because of these revelations from God through this book, I have become a different man. God’s Grace has set me free from striving and it relieved my guilt and shame at my inability to live the perfect life. It allowed me to remove my masks so that I could trust God and others with who I truly am – warts and all. It caused me to throw myself at the feet of Jesus where I know Jesus will empathize with my weakness and I will receive His mercy and grace.
which is the recently updated version of “TrueFaced.”)