August 2, 2010
Wild God, Extravagant Love
Tosca Lee, She Reads Featured Author
"For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God." Ephesians 2:8 (NIV)
A few years ago, I faced one of the hardest, toughest decisions of my life. I wondered, "What if I make a mistake? What if I am wrong or choose the wrong thing? What if God cannot forgive me if I do?"
It was then that a wise counselor said to me, "God's grace is either enough for you, or it isn't."
I was stunned.
A believer in the redeeming work of Christ since the age of 11, I had grown up in the church. I had sung that Jesus loved me. I had witnessed that Christ was the Lamb of God, and that His gift was free. But in that moment, I was faced with the inescapable truth that I had been leaning for years on my own goodness to be enough.
I had always been a good girl, growing up. I had tried, all my life, to do the right thing. Perhaps not out of love as much as fear—I feared the displeasure of God. A perfectionist, I feared making mistakes. I was a pleaser, but regardless of the reasons, I was good. Not perfect, but good. And perhaps I had needed just a little less grace because of it. Yes, yes, I was still saved by faith. Yes, salvation was the free gift of God. But in that moment I realized that I had never entrusted the full weight of my most terrible mistakes, my most heinous self, and most sinful potential to God fully.
In the darkest moments of error, it was fear, not relief or gratitude that flooded me. Having grown up in the church and heard the message of grace for years, it had become a well-worn rut in my mind. Yes, Jesus loves me. Yes, we are saved by grace. But I was operating by fear rather than in freedom, because I was leaning on myself.
But this time I had no choice but to trust in God's wild, extravagant grace. To remember what an extravagant gift grace is. It is far too much. It is incomprehensible, because it cannot be earned or reciprocated. It is wild love from a wild God. I could not earn it with my goodness, with my right choices, or a lifetime of church attendance. I simply had to receive it.
God's grace is something more than the feeble songs we sing about it. It is enough to cover our greatest shortfalls and rebellion, to forgive what we fear to be unforgiveable. It is enough to set us free from the burden of our own righteousness.
What are you facing or fearing today? God's grace is enough for it—and you.
Holy God, let us know You for the extravagant God You are. Let us embrace Your grace fully and lean not at all on our own acts and righteousness. Let us conduct ourselves in the gratitude and freedom of Your outrageous love, rather than in fear of not being good enough. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
Visit the She Reads blog where we are giving away copies of both Tosca's novels and a reading gift basket complete with book light, Starbucks gift card, coffee mug, and water bottle.
Havah: The Story of Eve by Tosca Lee
Demon: A Memoir by Tosca Lee
Messy Faith: Daring to Live By Grace by A.J. Gregory
Confessions of a Good Christian Girl: The Secrets Women Keep and the Grace that Saves Them by Tammy Maltby
Meditate on the wild extravagance of God. Consider creation. The expanding cosmos. The ultimate variety of life.
Consider what it means to be made of dust and clay…and yet to bear the image of God, and to be filled with the breath of life. To be forgiven and bought by the blood of God. What does it tell us about the dichotomy of what we are and what He is?
Read the story of the woman with the nard from Mark 14. What can this story teach us about extravagant gifts, and about forgiveness?
Where have you leaned on your own goodness? Are there actions or beliefs in your life that have become your righteousness? How can you surrender those acts or ways of thinking to God's grace?
Zechariah 4:6b, "'Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,' says the LORD Almighty." (NIV)
Psalms 46:10a, "Be still and know that I am God." (NIV)
© 2010 by Tosca Lee. All rights reserved.
Proverbs 31 Ministries
616-G Matthews-Mint Hill Road
Matthews, NC 28105
Originally published Monday, 02 August 2010.