Sunday, December 2, 2012

Sustaining Grace

That was the message today at church.  And man, it was exactly what I needed to hear.

Grace is the only thing that's going to get me to the 26th when I get to see my neurologist.

Grace is the only thing that's going to pull me through finals week and these last two papers that feel like they're never going to get done.

Grace is the only thing that's going to keep me moving when my heart is breaking over a myriad of things going on at home.

Grace will be the only thing to get me to survive 4 weeks at home.

Pastor Sean and the guy who gave his testimony today both talked about something that caught my attention in a big way.  It's something I've heard many times before, but what came after really jumped out at me today.  They were preaching on how there's nothing that we can ever do, give, or be to earn our salvation.  But furthermore, there is nothing we can ever do, give or be to keep our salvation, either.

Think about it.  If keeping our salvation was dependent on our ability to hold on to it, we'd all be lost causes because we'd certainly screw that up just like we screw most everything else up.  Humans, yeah, we're not talented as we tend to think we are.

I know.  That sounds really mean and offensive, doesn't it?  But here's the catch, the good news: We don't have to worry about fighting to keep our salvation, anyway!  We don't have to struggle to maintain our grip on Jesus's hem as we feel our fingers slipping like we're about to fall off a rooftop.  Why's that?  Because He holds on to us.

Romans 4:5 says "However, to the man who does not work but trusts God who justifies the wicked, his faith is credited as righteousness."

He justifies the wicked.  God looks at each of us in all our sinfulness and brokenness and SEES PERFECTION.  God has so much love for each one of us that He looks at us and sees us as equal to his actually perfect and completely blameless Son.  There's nothing to fight when you're good in the only Eyes that actually matter.

I don't know about you, but there are several people in my life right now that I'm having a hard time even tolerating, let alone loving them that completely.  After learning as much as I have (though I still have so far to go), I can't even imagine looking at someone, no matter how much I love them, and seeing them as clean and pure and wholly good.  That's why the love of this world will never be enough; we're humans, and we simply don't have the capacity to love that absolutely.

This is why we don't have to fight to keep our salvation.  Once He takes hold of the heart of one of His children, He's never letting go.  No matter what you do.  God is not some lazy parent who's going to wake up in a bad mood one day and decide He's tired of trying to keep an eye on you.  I think my life is evidence of that, no?  I spent about 12 years running as far away from God as I possibly could, and He still. held. on.

Doesn't that make you feel like you can take on the world?  It does me.  Knowing that I have the protection of the Almighty God, even if I'm a jerk, even if I'm lazy.  No matter what sin I commit, He's still watching and taking care of me.

If you are a Christian, if you LOVE God with a passion, He justifies you in your wickedness.  So stop beating yourself up for not being "good enough"; there's no such thing as good enough when you have a God who intentionally loves the sinful.

My friend Caitie told me the other day that me saying stuff out loud or writing it out helps bring it together for her, so even if all of this is stuff you already knew, I pray that reading it today brings you an added measure of peace.  Rest in the knowledge that He sees you, and He has made you clean.

You don't have to fight anymore.  His grace will sustain you if you will just be still.

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