Grace · Psalms · Relationship with God

Grace-Full Living

During our small group meetings at church, we discuss pointed questions that are designed to help us think through how we are living out the 2 great commandments (Matthew 22:36-40).  Listening to the answers of the ladies in each of the groups I have been a part of has been an eye opener. Many times while answering their eyes are downcast, their heads hang a bit lower and their speech becomes more halted rather than flowing.

As these beautiful women of God berate themselves because they don’t measure up to the standard that they think they should be attaining, my heart breaks.  I am not broken because they aren’t perfect in their service to the Lord and others.  I am broken because they think they are supposed to be perfect.  I am heart sick because they we are not confessing our lack of faith in the grace that God has fully supplied.

Observing and listening to others as well as paying attention to my own inner wrestlings, I’ve come to the conclusion that we are uncomfortable with grace.  Even those who have accepted God’s saving grace through Christ’s shed blood have a hard time wrapping their minds, and lives around everyday grace.  This inability/unwillingness to accept God’s lavish grace leads many of us to fret-full living.

FRET

verb (used without object), fretted, fretting.

  1. to feel or express worry, annoyance, discontent, or the like:
  2. to cause corrosion; gnaw into something:
  3. to make a way by gnawing, corrosion, wearing away, etc.:
  4. to become eaten, worn, or corroded (often followed by away):
  5. to move in agitation or commotion, as water:

verb (used with object), fretted, fretting.

  1. to torment; irritate, annoy, or vex:
  2. to wear away or consume by gnawing, friction, rust, corrosives, etc.:
  3. to form or make by wearing away a substance:
  4. to agitate (water):

noun

  1. an irritated state of mind; annoyance; vexation.
  2. erosion; corrosion; gnawing.
  3. a worn or eroded place.  (Dictionary.com)

I don’t know about you, but the previous definition seems to sum up how I feel when I am fretting over a real (or imagined) failures and sin in my life.  What especially stands out to me is the graphic way the definition depicts the effects of fretting – having pieces of my soul rubbed raw or chewed away at.  This stands in stark contrast to grace which should be salve to our souls and give us hope for each day.  Psalm 84:11 describes God’s graciousness by saying,

For the Lord God is a sun and shield;sunset_sea
    the Lord bestows favor and honor.
No good thing does he withhold
    from those who walk uprightly.

Growing in Christ-likeness doesn’t just happen, it takes work – many times hard work.  But God has not left us on our own to do this work.  He has given us the Word, the Holy Spirit and a bottomless supply of grace.  Just as the Holy Spirit points us to the Son and the Son continually shows us more of the Father, so our fumbling attempts at working out our own “salvation with fear and trembling” points others to the power and sufficiency of Christ (Philippians 2:12-13, 2 Corinthians 12:9-10).

Rather than chew on ourselves for not being perfect, we should turn to the Perfect One and ask for forgiveness for our sins and help in our weaknesses.  Only there can we receive the grace that is promised.  Only there can we gather the courage for another day.  Only there can we find rest and true nourishment for our souls.

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