Asheritah Ciuciu is the author of Unwrapping the Names of Jesus and Comfort Food: Overcoming Food Addiction with the Word of God. Asheritah grew up in Romania as a missionary kid and then studied English and Women's Ministry at Cedarville University in Ohio. Her passion is helping women find joy in Jesus through a deeper walk with God, and she shares vulnerably from her own life experiences on OneThingAlone.com. She is married to Flaviu, a web programmer and artist, and together they raise their spunky daughter in northeast Ohio.
If you’re wondering how to balance grace and truth in your life, you’re not alone.
A Word for the New Year
I was prayer-journaling this past week, reflecting on how fitting it is that we celebrate Jesus’ birth just a short week before the beginning of the new year. Jesus’ birth is the start–not the end–of the holiday season, both figuratively and in the historical church’s liturgical calendar. If I believe this, how should my life look after the Christmas season?
Each new year I pick a Bible verse to be my guiding verse for that coming year. As I spent time in prayer, the Spirit impressed on my heart this verse:
The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.
~ John 1:14
Grace and truth.
What does it mean for my life to be filled with Jesus’ grace and Jesus’ truth? That’s the question that I’ll be pondering in 2015 personally and on this blog, and I hope you’ll join me for a year of being filled with Jesus’ grace and truth.
Here is a glimpse inside my prayer journal as I was reflecting on this theme for the next year.
Face the Truth
Instead of running away or hiding from the painful things in life, help me to face them: to call sin, sin, in my life and in the lives of those who hurt me; to be aware of what’s happening, whether I’m eating my third cookies or letting my emotions lead me into a pity party; to see things as You see them, allowing Your Word to filter my reality instead of vice versa.
Be Filled with Truth
My inner compass is broken. I can’t rely on my own thoughts and feelings if I want to live a life that pleases You and moves Your kingdom forward. Lord, fill me first and foremost with Your Spirit; You are truth and where You dwell there can be no falsehood. Help me also fill my mind and heart with Scripture, Words of Truth that cast light on my path when I don’t know which way to go. And help me set up guardrails of truth to move me forward on the tasks You’ve given me instead of getting derailed by distractions.
Train with Truth
Lord, You know how I struggle with self-discipline. I’m like a wild mustang, wild and free, throwing off any harness that I suspect wants to constrain me in an illegitimate way. I chafe under authority I suspect is shady and unfounded, (though I thrive under authority I respect and consider legitimate).
This is why I struggle on diets that restrict real food, why I resist the rules others would impose on me that I must dress a certain way, choose a particular lifestyle, or read a required number of Bible chapters a day. Quite simply, the Jesus freed us from the yoke of the law, and I despise being burdened by man-made rules when You have given me freedom.
At the same time, I recognize that left to my own devices I would gallop wild and free directly to my plunge off a cliff. I need guardrails. I need discipline. I need to be trained to say “no” to the flesh and “yes” to the Spirit of God. I want to live a self-controlled life, to be able to look a chocolate chip cookie straight in the face and say, “You have no control over me!” I want to be the master of my body and do all I can to live healthy and vibrant so I can better serve God and love others in this physical tent of my eternal soul. I long to live a disciplined life, one that is filled with truth and governed by the Spirit instead of man-made rules or my wild flesh. Body. Mind. Heart. and Spirit.
Grace Be With You
Lord, You know how I struggle with grace. I want You to be pleased with me, and I often equate that to “do-ing” instead of “be-ing”; the truth is that Jesus already secured Your approval so I can stop trying to impress You. All my good deeds are like filthy rags… but a broken and contrite heart that’s hungry and thirsty for You. That’s what You’re after. And that’s where grace thrives… in the hearts of ragamuffins who realize they’re but beggars at the door of God’s mercy–who are then warmly invited in, clothed in the warmest robe of daughtership, and enveloped in the arms of a loving Daddy.
Grace. Daily grace. Audacious grace. Gentle grace. Extravagant grace. All grace.
Let 2015 be the year I learn to cease striving and learn to simply rest in Your grace, knowing that You. Are. God.
I can’t put into words how excited I am to invite the Spirit to do this work in my life AND to invite you to come alongside me and do this together! God promises that He will draw close to those who draw close to Him, and He will definitely answer our prayers as we seek to be filled with His grace and truth this year.