Have you heard the phrase, “What’s the catch?” or “If something is too good to be true, then it probably is?” For example, commercials. If anything brings out the skeptic in me, it’s commercials. Nothing is as it seems. But listen long enough and pretty soon, we’ve ordered that amazing product. Only we find out it’s not so amazing because the grill that’s “smokeless” just actually “smokes less.” It’s incidences like this that grow skepticism.
Being a skeptic is not necessarily a bad thing, it keeps us from being gullible and being taken advantage of by miscreants. But God is not a miscreant. He is the king of the world, the great creator, and deeply interested in my heart. And in yours.
He made you for relationship with him. But the pesky thing called sin stands in the way of knowing him. We can know about him, but to truly know him, we must experience him through his grace.
But, we lean towards performance and the unwillingness to receive anything for free. For example, someone gives us a compliment so we feel obligated to give one in return. Someone surprises us with a birthday gift, and we feel the need to return the kindness when their birthday rolls around. Pretty soon giving is tied to obligation and worth is tied to what we can do.
If we can wrap our heads around the idea that God, while we were wretched, hell-bound sinners, loved us enough to save us, then we must let go of the “you scratch my back, I’ll scratch your back,” mentality. God loved you while you hated him. God loved you while you hated yourself. He looked into the future and saw a beautiful son or daughter distraught by life’s struggles and he whispered, “Come to me.”
His love for you doesn’t change once you love him back, but it does enable you to live for him. We can’t save ourselves. We can try, but then we lose the depth of grace in our lives.
I know what I am. I know what I once was. Do you?
But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved—and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. Ephesians 2:4-8
God saves you. He takes your dead heart and makes you alive. He pours grace into your life so that you will walk in the ways he has for you.
Going to church, reading your bible, being in community with other believers is vital to your health as a follower of Christ. But they won’t save you. They won’t prove to God that you’re worth his time and attention. Your faithful heart that receives his grace is what he’s looking for. He’ll take care of the rest.
Open your heart to him and receive him.
When has performance replaced grace in your life?
Would you tell me in the comments about a time you’ve exchanged performance for grace in your life?