Amazed by His Grace

Grace. We sing about it on Sunday but have a difficult time living it on Monday. Sometimes it is hard to believe that The Almighty God would have grace on puny little us. Many of us have experienced God’s saving grace; the grace that frees us from our chains of sin. But we still live like shackled people. How can we break the bondage of our own list of do’s and don’ts; our own set of rules that keep us drowning in shame? We need to anchor our self image to the Word of God.

See how very much our Father loves us, for he calls us his children, and that is what we are! 1 John 3:1

2 Samuel 22 says that God “…reached down from heaven and rescued me; he drew me out of deep waters. He led me to a place of safety; because he delights in me.”

How amazing, how astounding that the creator of the universe delights in me. God cannot love us any more than he does now, and He will not love us any less no matter what we do. Nothing we do can increase or decrease God’s love for us. This is grace. It is astounding that God should love us so. Knowing this helps us have a more accurate view of who we are in Jesus Christ and helps us be more compassionate and patient with others. God in His mercy has shown his abundant grace towards us; how dare we not extend a small measure of that grace to others who are image-bearers of God?

. God delights in me: ME. That is astounding to me. Sometimes I don’t even like myself. This helps me to have a more accurate view of who I am in Jesus Christ which helps me to continually conquer my worst sin, pride. It also makes me more compassionate and patient with others. God in His mercy has shown his abundant grace towards me. How dare I not extend a small measure of that grace to others who are image-bearers of God?

Tim Keller in The Reason for God said this,

“The Christian gospel is that I am so flawed that Jesus had to die for me, yet I am so loved and valued that Jesus was glad to die for me. This leads to deep humility and deep confidence at the same time. It undermines both swaggering and sniveling. I cannot feel superior to anyone, and yet I have nothing to prove to anyone. I do not think more of myself nor less of myself. Instead, I think of myself less.”

I will be honest. This has not been easy to do. But in focusing on who I am in Christ, I have seen progress in my life. I hang on less to past and present hurts. I forgive quicker, both others and myself. I am more compassionate toward others. I focus more on who I am in Jesus Christ instead of what I do for Jesus. I serve him out of love and not out of obligation because I am following a list of do’s and don’ts. This is freedom. This is love. This is grace.

Life’s Landmarks

The Book of Judges Chapter 3 tells the story of one of Israel’s judges who was left-handed. His name was Ehud and his unique characteristic was considered an exceptional asset in those days. At this point in Israel’s history they are being controlled by the evil King Eglon of Moab. Ehud is appointed by God to rescue Israel by killing this king. Ehud goes to visit the king with a double-edged dagger hidden it in his right boot, knowing that the king’s bodyguards would be searching the left side of the king’s visitors. Everything goes according to plan but Ehud loses his nerve and leaves the palace discouraged and defeated.

On his way home, Ehud passes what Judges calls “the stone idols”. These stone idols were actually an historical landmark for Israel. They were the 12 stones that God had instructed Joshua to be brought out of the dry riverbed of the Jordan River after the Israelites had crossed into the Promised Land. (Joshua 4). The stones were to be a reminder of God’s covenant with Israel and were to “stand as a memorial among the people forever” (Jos. 4:7). But the Jews had forgotten about the memorial and over time the memorial had been reduced to a pile of stones that travelers passed by with no notice.

But on this day, Ehud notices them. And he remembers. He remembers God’s promises. He remembers his calling and the purpose for which he was sent. He goes back to Moab and asks to see the king, telling him he has a secret message for him. The king ushers him in and Ehud does something for God that no right-handed man could do. He kills the Moabite king.

God used Joshua’s landmark to remind Ehud of his purpose. God use landmarks in our lives as well. We all have those landmark moments when God rescues us or empowers us with His Spirit to fulfill a unique calling. As you look forward to a New Year, remember that God had called you and gifted you for His purpose. Don’t let your landmarks become a pile of stones but keep them as memorial and testimony to the power of God in your life.