Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Week Seventeen - Grace is Greater

Grace has been a word on my heart these past few weeks and has frequently appeared in my Bible reading as I have been going through Paul’s Epistles.  God’s grace – so freely given to me, a plain, ordinary sinner.  Undeserved, unmerited, but mine through the blood of Christ.
    A while back, a young man spoke to me of the work of God’s grace in his heart.  He had faced several years of great trial and a sad family breakup that left him broken and angry.  He began telling me about a book that had been the impotence of spiritual and emotional healing in his life.  My heart was intrigued.  What book had prompted such a change in this young man’s heart and helped him to regain his footing?  It was Grace is Greater by Kyle Idleman.  So, of course, I ordered the book for myself.
    Let me start by saying, I greatly recommend it to you, too.  Now, for a few truths I pulled from the book.  Kyle Idleman writes, “With grace…you take the consequences.  That’s not fair.  It’s not right.  But it is exactly what Jesus did for you” (p 84).   What?  Does grace mean sucking it up in order to live as the example of Christ? Does it mean resisting the temptation to make things fair?  Or, right? I believe that is exactly what he is saying and that is a part of what suffering with Christ means.
    Then, I read, “Stop thinking about what’s been done to you, and start thinking about what’s been done for you…because what’s been done for you is greater than what’s been done to you” (p 85).  I find that thought so humbling and very true.  Jesus paid a higher price to exhibit and grant grace than I have ever done or will ever do.  When I focus on my hurts, I detract from His great sacrifice.  I am saying my hurts are worse than His.  And, I get my focus all wonky.  I create my own pity party, to which grace is never invited.
    Then, he said, “Learning to forgive is growing up” (p 91).  And I think this is one of the keys to mature Christianity.  I know it is the key to personal happiness and confidence in Christ.  We are to forgive as He forgives.  We are to let things go and allow God to be the judge and the administer of justice.  When we hold a grudge, we are the ones who wind up being the most hurt.  The other person has no idea.  But we do – we know the depth of despair and the unreasonable attitude we contend with as we refuse to forgive.  Grace means I get back into my place and recognize I need as much forgiveness as the next person.  We have all sinned.  Grace makes us all level, all needy, and all accountable.
      It is such a relief to let it go.  When we turn the situation over to the Lord and get our eyes back on Him, we experience the deeper healing that only forgiveness and grace give.  It truly restores our soul.
    As this young man took hold of the principle of grace and forgiveness, he found healing for his heart.  His hope was renewed, and God began to open doors of potential for him.
    So, it’s time to grow up.  It’s time to let forgiveness doing its healing work and administer the wonderful grace of God into our situation and to ourselves.  Only then will we be released to find the freedom and joy we so earnestly desire.  Only then can we sing:
Grace, Grace, God’s Grace.  Grace that can pardon and cleanse within.
Grace, Grace, God’s Grace.  Grace that is greater than all our sin.
   We are going to be looking more into grace and forgiveness over the next two weeks.  That gives you time to get the book and have a read.  No one says forgiveness and grace are easy, but they are vital and possible through the power of Christ.  I’m excited to share more of what I have learned.

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