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Accepting the Grace of God
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Accepting the Grace of God
And Why We Struggle with it
We can often feel that receiving the grace of God is difficult, because to just be forgiven feels too easy. How many times have you done something wrong, something against God’s good will, and you feel this heavy guilt; a guilt you think you deserve. You know that God has given His Son to set you free from His judgment, but at the same time, how can you just let this go as if it doesn’t matter? “If I let this go too easily,” You say to yourself, “I will be taking advantage of God’s grace. If I stop punishing myself, well….it just doesn’t seem right to just move on. It can’t be that easy.”
I have heard this kind of thing said countless times by my clients, and I have seen it play out in my own life. We are right that we should not take sin lightly. We are right that we need to take it seriously so that we don’t keep the pattern going. But it doesn’t mean that punishing ourselves is the best way to get these things done.
When we mentally obsess over what we have done or when we believe we are not good enough to go to God, we are doing nothing to fix what has happened. We are only stopping health and good things from coming into ourselves and our lives. And very importantly, if what we are after is pleasing God from here on out, we are not doing the right thing.
What God Desires
God never intended for us to beat ourselves up and stay hindered by our sins. If He did, He would not have sent Jesus. We need to get this richly, deeply absorbed into our system….Jesus gave over His life to us in order to take the consequence of judgment away from us. And what He did for us was not done half way. It was not partially completed. It was the only thing we would ever need. If Christ came to bring us freedom from all condemnation, if God gave over His entire heart through His Son so that it would not be up to us, then what are we trying to do?
It is a shame that many of us are so accustomed to hearing what Jesus did for us, that we hear it as words. We lose and/or have trouble fully grasping what His sacrifice means because we have heard it so many times. We also brush it aside too lightly. When I wrote the above about what He did for us, I wanted you to read it slowly; to really think about it – as if for the first time. You see, we must attempt to listen, to specifically ask God to help us receive, this mighty, liberating truth of our freedom that is meant to be ours.
If our desire truly is to please God, if that is what we are trying to do by punishing ourselves, then we must ask if that is truly what pleases God. When we look at Scripture, we see that it does not say that being hard on ourselves makes God happy. On the contrary it says, “Without faith it is impossible to please God” (Hebrews 11:6). Faith. This verse is very clear that trusting God is what makes Him happy. It doesn't even say doing things well or living right is what pleases Him most. It says faith. In fact, this verse is the only place that makes such a strong statement about where it is that God gets His pleasure. How is then that we have faith in Him? Through believing His power and His love and His faithfulness? Yes, yes and yes. And within all of those things is the specific belief, specific trust, in the greatest Gift God ever chose to give us. We show our trust in God when we believe wholeheartedly in His gift of Christ.
If we try to fix it ourselves, we are acting as if we are more powerful than Christ. We are behaving and thinking (even if only subconsciously) that we are given the role to make things better and what He did is not powerful enough to cover what we did (or even keep doing). It doesn’t mean we like feeling this burden. It is clear we do not. But we simply feel wrongly responsible and don’t let ourselves trust in what He says. We do not, we should not, take responsibility to fix something that was Jesus' responsibility to fix.
Of course it is understandable that we struggle with letting Him take the blame. In this world we are supposed to fix what we do. We may have had many life experiences that taught us that we had to do something to make it right. It also isn’t considered “fair” to not be held fully responsible for what we do. But the spiritual world runs differently than the physical one. God works on a higher platform, and on it lies His decision to take the blame for us. Wow.
Simply, it is more than clear that God wants us to trust not just a little, but fully in what Christ did. In fact if we don’t, we dishonor Him. We not only put our faith on ourselves and take it from Him, we also greatly lessen this unbelievable treasure of the life of Christ. If we are to really show Him the appreciation and great respect He deserves, we must fully accept His gift with gratitude and reverence. That is the way to please God. And it is the way to find the peace we are really crying out for.
Seems too good to be true, right? I have news for you…it is too good; but it is in fact true. We never get to see what being around the greatest lover of the world is like. But when we see what God has done, we know that the greatest love blesses us in ways that feel too good to be true. The truth of the matter is that sin is not minimized in the least by God. From His standpoint it looks even more serious than from ours. But, that is why it took an enormous sacrifice to set us free. It seems too easy to accept because we are in the easy position….Christ was not, and it was not at all too easy for Him. It was unfathomably painful. Will we not accept what He gave so much to give? The judgment has occurred and it has been taken care of. If we can truly get that into the depths of us, we can experience a love for God that is full of awe and wonder and deep appreciation.
Let us dare to simply accept what is meant for us, so that we can find rest and please God.
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