If there is one theme I see in the blogs I’ve written over these past months, it’s that God’s grace is never static. His purposes are so much bigger than a single person or a single story and His change and grace for one person always seems to also be a catalyst into change and grace for someone else. I think that’s what Nate meant on Sunday when he talked about God’s grace in us and God’s grace through us.
During the Sunday service, Diana beautifully shared her story of how hard she tried to control her life and how graciously God changed her heart. She said things like -I’m paraphrasing here- she wanted to clean herself up first before she showed true self to Jesus and that she never considered herself in Christ but adjacent to him and always have to keep up to earn that place.
I completely relate to that mindset, that stronghold, of trying to control my own life; especially the idea that God’s grace isn’t sufficient for me.
I’ve been working through a book called the Gospel Primer over the past few weeks and one of the journaling questions last week said, “how often in your faith journey and as a Christian have you felt like it was up to you to remain close to God?” I was immediately confused. The phrasing of the question made it seem like it wasn’t up to me to remain close to God but my instinctual first response was, “I always feel that way, because that’s the truth.” In fact, even though I have been following Jesus for what I could consider almost my entire life, I had to step back and think about what was actually true. I had to look for Bible verses to confirm it wasn’t up to me just to make sure I wasn’t letting myself off the hook too easily.
Sometimes I try to control things because I think I know best and because I want to do things my way. But other times… I think maybe I control things because I’m just trying to hold up my end of the bargain. God is so gracious and has done so much for me and I discount that very grace by assuming it’s only fair that I meet him halfway.
During the worship time on Sunday when people spoke truth about God in the Bible verses they had read, someone said, “He will never stop doing good to me.” I’m pretty sure I started crying right then and there (and didn’t stop until the service was over.) He will never stop doing good to me. He reaches out even when I don’t. He is faithful when I’m not. He remains close.
When I remember that and I take a deep breath and rest in that peace… it doesn’t end there. It makes me want to call up everyone I know and tell them to stop striving, stop controlling, stop doing. Because God’s grace is here and he will never stop doing good to us.