Grace As a Way of Life: An Advent Devotional – Day Twelve

For whatever reason, I find myself returning to the theme of grace again today. Perhaps because it is a blessing which needs to be experienced on a daily basis.

As much as I know the truth of needing grace, I don’t want to need it. I don’t like the idea of depending on grace’s mercy to declare me innocent. I’d much rather think of myself as worthy of being found guiltless on my own merit, of being placed on the scales of justice to find them tipping in my favor because my good somehow outweighs my bad. But that’s not a luxury I live. The truth is, I need grace to survive. Daily. Sometimes even hourly, or multiple times within the same hour.

Grace is wilder and freer than any gift I could possibly earn, and though I could never afford it on my own merit, I have it continually on my Savior’s virtue. Never withheld. Always squandered lavishly upon one who is desperate for its strength.

All because Jesus came — full of grace and truth. The Word was born as flesh and dwelt among men to extend His grace to a people who were living and dying without it. Literally.

Similar to the man in Kenny Roger’s song, Find a Little Grace, the following lyrics tend to ring true:
I’ve been too long at a fool’s game
And it’s about taken it’s toll.
I’ve paid a high price for small change,
But it’s not worth the price of my soul.

I can well relate with the idea of paying a high price for small change. Looking for grace in all the wrong places while attempting to somehow appease the restlessness within my heart, I scrounge about in worldly riches only to find they are vain placebos for a grace that is free for the taking. Even though it is a costly commodity.

The gods of this world have blinded eyes in order to prevent us from trusting in the grace of a crucified Savior. Pulling us along with our desires to be self-made men and women, we don’t want to rely on a handout from our Creator. I’ll be the first to admit I sometimes have an aversion to the Divine welfare system though I am a full-time recipient of its benefits. In trying so hard to both outrun and outwork grace, I place myself alongside the Christians to whom Paul was writing in his letter to the Galatians.

How foolish can you be? After starting your Christian lives in the Spirit, why are you now trying to become perfect by your own human effort? — Galatians 3:3

Apparently pretty foolish, indeed, seeing how frequently I attempt to add to my salvation with good works instead of allow grace to carry me. Trampling grace underfoot only to stumble upon it in desperation time and again. No matter how much I think I can live without it, I find myself needing it over and over and over . . . and finding it always at the ready. Even before I am prepared to receive it.

Grace consistently stands at the ready. Always has.

No matter how many times I am tempted to be swayed in believing otherwise, God’s well of grace is never going to run dry. No matter how many mistakes I make. No matter how many times sin traps me in its net. No matter how many times I overlook the generosity of my Savior. He continues to stand in my defense, extending grace upon grace on my behalf. And I am slowly coming to terms with the realization that the other shoe isn’t going to drop, ever. There’s no clause for grace’s removal in God’s covenant with me.

For it is by grace you have been saved through faith, and this not from yourselves; it is the gift of God, not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance as our way of life. — Ephesians 2:8-10

I especially like this translation from the Berean Study Bible reminding me that the good works are an extension of the gift of grace, all wrapped up in the person of Jesus Christ. Prepared in advance for us as our way of life.

For Christians, grace is a way of life.

Even when I don’t act as a grateful recipient of it.

Even when I fail to receive it as readily as I should.

Even though I’m still learning to walk in its freedom every day.

Grace stands at the ready.

So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive His mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most. — Hebrews 4:16

img_5892FOR REFLECTION
Do you ever find yourself hesitant to receive the gift of grace, as though you are not worthy of its blessing? If so, you are most likely among the majority of Christians. For a myriad of reasons, we tend to flinch at receiving God’s grace even though it is inherent to our role as His beloved. Let me be very clear in reminding you that faith is all about receiving the truths of God’s word, and God’s word tells us it is only through GRACE that we are saved. There is nothing you can do or fail to do that will increase or decrease the degree of God’s love for you. The birth of Jesus is the most gracious of gifts given to us; His death the most merciful extension of Father’s heart for us; His Spirit the most audacious power play in the whole of Christianity as God’s presence comes alive in us!
Think on the marvelous ways grace has saved you from your sins and continues to bring life to your soul, then praise Him for the gift given through Jesus. To you.

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