Grace really is amazing.
If you've been a Christian for any amount of time, chances are you have struggled with frustrating habits or been disappointed by failures or just couldn't do "it" (whatever your "it" is). But once you have a revelation of God's grace in your life, you'll know just how amazing it is!
Well, what is grace?
I'm glad you asked. But first, think of a problem you're having in your life right now-a bad habit, conflict in a relationship, a particularly long and difficult period of testing. Now I want to ask you: Have you been trying to make things work out? If so, have they…or are you discouraged, disappointed, or frustrated?
If your answer is yes, then you are in the best place to realize just how amazing God's grace really is! You see, grace is the power to overcome bad habits, to make peace in a relationship, or to bring you victoriously through a time of testing-without all your trying. That's because it is God's power, not ours, that overcomes our evil tendencies.
All that our trying has ever done, or will ever really do, is cause frustration. We can never make ourselves better by trying…praying more or longer, studying more of the Word, performing good works, etc. Don't get me wrong…it's not bad to do any of these things. In fact, it's good. It's just that doing them in God's power is the only way those things will have any real and lasting effect in our lives.
The interesting thing about trying is that it's not scriptural. Yes, the word is in the Bible. But, it's not there telling us to try to do better or be better. If you look it up, you'll see that when that word is used, it's in reference to the "trying" of our faith, "trying" the spirits, or "trying" us to prove our character. All our trying, or human effort, is really just works of the flesh that can never bring about the change in us that only God's power, or grace, can.
It's certainly not wrong to want to be a better person. God gave us that desire. But according to Galatians 3:10, ...anyone who tries to live by his own effort, independent of God, is doomed to failure (MSG). That's why so much of the time we will find ourselves frustrated, disappointed and overwhelmed by the "stuff" in our lives. We try to work it out on our own. And that will never do.
God wants to help us…He loves us…we are His children. But He will not force His help on us at any time. He sees us when we struggle and fight and complain our way through things. And I believe it breaks His heart, when all we have to do is ask Him for help.
God taught me this truth in a way I'll never forget. My husband, Dave, is tall. I'm not so tall. We have a really high window over the kitchen sink in our house. When that window is open, there's no way for me to close it without a big ordeal. But how do you think it would make Dave feel if I ran out of the house to go ask the man next door to come and close that window for me? Or what if I tried to do it myself, straining and stretching, maybe climbing up on the counter, possibly knocking things over, getting all worn-out…while Dave was sitting right there? That would really be insulting to him. In the same way, it grieves God to watch us struggle so needlessly, when all the while, He is right there waiting for us to simply exchange trying for trusting.
His grace is the power for living an abundant life. Our faith receives, not "buys," the blessings of God. Striving, struggling, trying can never do that. Ephesians 2:8-9 tells us that it is by grace you have been saved, through faith-and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God-not by works, so that no one can boast (NIV).
So in the same way we became born again, we live in the Spirit-by God's grace, through faith. It's simple. Humble yourself. Ask God for His help. Then, do what He says. Trust in His power-He is mighty to do whatever we need Him to do and to help us do our part. Trust in His wisdom-He knows what, when and how to do it. Trust in His goodness-He wants to do it.
Now, isn't that amazing?