December 30, 2016
Understanding God’s Grace
For if by one man’s offense death reigned through the one, much more those who receive abundance of grace and the gift of righteousness will rein in life through the One, Jesus Christ (Romans 5:17, NKJV).
Friend to Friend
I was born to be a rule-follower. It’s in my nature. I never acted out in public as a child. It has always bothered me when people talk while the teacher (or preacher) is talking. I have memories of telling my classmates to stop running in the halls in elementary school because they weren’t supposed to. Yes, that’s me. The rule following, teacher’s pet-kind-of-gal. Right now you are probably thinking I’m trying to make myself sound like a saint. But the truth is that being this way made it very challenging for me to understand God’s grace for a very long time. As Children of God, we are called to live in freedom, and I was allowing rule following to keep me in bondage.
That is until I went to high school. I was attending the youth group at my church and I kept hearing the word “grace.” “Grace this”…”grace that”… and then I realized that I had no idea what grace meant. I understood the definition of grace, and I understood what the Bible had to say about grace. But I didn’t have a revelation of it in my own life. So I decided to approach God and ask Him to give me a revelation of what Grace really is; And He did.
I want to paint you the picture God painted for me. I want you to visualize it right where you are physically and spiritually.
I was standing on a dirt field. Everything was brown and the field went far beyond where my eyes could see. Jesus was standing next to me.
Then, I noticed a shovel on the ground next to me. I picked it up and looked at Jesus. He kindly looked at me and said, “Don’t do that.” I turned away and began to dig.
After a few moments of digging I looked at Jesus. Once again, He kindly said, “Don’t do that.” I looked back down and continued to dig. Sweat was dripping down my forehead, and dirt was what now appeared to be my clothes.
Before I knew it, I had dug myself into a hole so deep, I couldn’t get out. I looked around and found myself surrounded by walls of dirt. I stood at the pit of it all. Understanding now why Jesus had told me not to do this, I was ashamed to look up and see if He was even still there. I had no choice. I couldn’t get out. I had literally dug myself into this mess, and I had no way out.
I slowly looked up, to find Jesus standing there. I expected to see a look of disappointment, or even anger. I expected him to say, “See what you did? I told you not to do this, and you didn’t listen to me! Now look at the mess you are in!”
Instead, He reached down into the hole, He lifted me up and out of it, and He began to dust the dirt off my clothes until I was clean again. He hugged me with the most loving and comforting embrace, with no sign of bitterness, disappointment, or anger.
THAT is grace. God’s complete love and forgiveness in our life, especially when we don’t deserve it.
That is how God explained it to me when I asked. Every time I share this so intimate and personal encounter I can’t help but cry, and usually find those I share it with crying too. I have experienced sharing it with non-believers and having the presence of God fill the room and their hearts. Why? Because we serve a God of love and grace, and that is the message this world so desperately needs.
It is so important for us to understand God’s grace. Whether you are naturally a rule-follower or naturally a rebel, Scripture says that we are all in need of God’s grace.
For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus (Romans 3:23, NKJV).
I love this scripture. I love that it says “being justified freely by His grace.” I was reading it this morning as I drank my Jasmine Green tea and the word “freely” stood out to me because it isn’t needed in order to complete the sentence. It can so easily read, “being justified by His grace.” Instead that word is there because we serve a God who “freely” wants us to be justified.
That is the freedom we are called to live in. As natural rule-followers or rebels, we live our lives righteously and then allow grace to come in when we don’t. We repent and thank God for His grace when we miss it knowing we have been covered by His grace. That is the grace I sought to understand. It was the grace I needed to understand. And when I did, I was able to live freely from the bondage of falling short, knowing He has redeemed me, and God wants you to know more than anything that He loves you and that He has redeemed you.
Heavenly Father, I come before Your throne and I thank You for your grace. I thank You for the power of grace in our lives and for a revelation of it. I ask that You fill the hearts of every woman reading this right now with Your love. That you would give her an understanding and revelation of how you see her Father, washed white as snow. You alone had the power to redeem us, and You did out of Your love for us. We are so grateful for You our love and grace.
In Jesus’ name,
Now It’s Your Turn
Today, I want you to reflect on things you haven’t forgiven yourself for. What areas of your life do you feel like you fall short in? Do you feel like you lack as a woman, a wife, a spouse, a Christian? I want you to uncover those areas and bring them before God. Allow His grace to take those areas of your life and call them redeemed.
More from the Girlfriends
Need help learning to trust God? Do you want to experience His grace and love in a fresh new way? The Girlfriends in God book, Trusting God, is filled with devotions written by Sharon, Gwen and Mary that will help you step out in faith and trust God. Check it out!
Click here to learn more about hosting a Girlfriends in God conference in your area or having one of the GiGs speak at your next women's event.
Originally published Friday, 30 December 2016.