11.9.09

walking in Grace...

For the past several days, I have been in tears several times and until this morning, I wasn't sure why. I kept feeling a heaviness on my heart and an utter despair. Lately I have felt unsure of whether I am making any difference in others' lives and whether or not my motives are even true.

You see, I have a problem with pride. And I am okay (sort-of) with admitting this. :) Though my heart is sincere, I believe, in wanting to serve Christ and to be a "good Christian," there are times that I believe I can do it on my own. And when I fail, I am frustrated beyond belief and end up wondering what sin in my life is keeping me from following the "rules" this time.

Have you ever felt that way? Wondering why, even after spending gobs of time reading the Bible, praying countless hours in the day and all through the night, having 5 quiet times, worshipping hours upon hours, fellowshiping with believers, serving God through some type of ministry, etc... you feel empty still, or that you can not do enough?

I decided to ask God to examine my heart. Let me just warn you - He is faithful to do what we ask of Him. :)

I said, "God, I feel like giving up. Has nothing really changed in my life after experiencing your salvation 7 years ago? I am still the fake, unloving person with junk in my life that I've always been? I am a seminary student; I shouldn't still be doing things wrong. Lord, I need you to do something better with me."

This morning, I cried out to Him some more, and He answered. God said to me: "Sara, have you forgotten why I came to save you? Self-sufficiency always leads to self-righteousness, but My sufficiency leads to true righteousness. Let me live MY life THROUGH you. My Grace is enough."

Wow...what an epiphany.

So many of our efforts in being a Christian end up leading to complete disappointment when we feel that we don't "succeed." We pray our hearts out for the Lord to work in our lives, yet when things are still going wrong in some way, we think that we didn't pray enough, aren't good enough, or often, we even question our salvation. We wonder what we've done wrong, and we ask God why? We say we are sorry for whatever it is we've done wrong, then we rededicate our life to Him and promise to "do better." Its a continuous cycle of motivation --> condemnation --> rededication.

Somewhere along the way we (I) have forgotten that we are saved by Grace, and that this Grace cannot be earned no matter how hard we try because it is the gift of God! We ask Jesus to come into our hearts and lives by accepting this gift of Grace, then the rest of the time we live under the law, trying to keep a lot of rules so we can be good Christians.

The fact of the matter is, we are never going to be "good Christians" in our own eyes. We can never do enough good works, do enough praying, do enough reading our Bibles, to earn the love of Christ and His acceptance. And we can never be "successful" if we try to do it on our own.

For me, this is where my issue with pride comes in, thinking that because I am a Christian, I can keep all the rules on my own. Then I expect others around me to keep the rules, and I end up living under the Law instead of under Grace and witnessing to others NOT the Grace of God but the Law of God.

Today, I have surrendered my heart to what God wants to do through me, even if I look weak and insufficient in my own strength. I have decided to let the power of Jesus' righteousness run through my veins, instead of me trying to do it on my own. Today, and every day from here on out, I have chosen to walk in Grace, believing that Jesus Christ loves me, accepts me, and can use me despite my shortcomings and flaws.

Are you walking in Grace?

"But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." - 2 Corinthians 12:9

4 comments:

Paul said...

Hey darling. Baby, the law I believe can kill a person spiritually. When I think about the parable of the sower and how the thorns came up and choked out the seeds, I am reminded of the law, and how Christians today manipulate it to control others.

For instance, what would happen if we were going to a church for about a year, and came on a regular basis, attended Sunday school, Sunday worship and evening discipleship/small group. Then, without giving any reason or notice, we stopped going to church for a month. I'd bet that many of the Christians there, even the leaders would try and condem us for not going to church like "good Christians." We would be put right back under the law. The Church today says "You must have a quiet time every day, you must attend Wed. night worship, Sunday School, Sunday Worship, Evening Service and participate in outside ministry to be a "good Christian."
Well, I ask the question "WHERE IS GRACE?!" If we are placing any stipulation over someone to be a "good Christian" than we are no more than a common day Pharisee. Jesus said "I didn't come to abolish the law; I came that the law may be FILLED." The last words Jesus breathed were "It is finished." In that moment, the law became fulfilled. There would no longer be any requirement for a sacrifice for atonement for our sins. For all of the sins committed before that moment and every single sin committed after that moment were covered by the blood of Jesus Christ, (for those who know them as their Lord and Savior).

Lovicans, I will always love you dearly. Your actions wont make me love you less, only to love you more. Honey, there is no "status quo" in our marriage. We married with grace firmly in place. We will always forgive one another,... because Christ first forgave us...
I love you with all of my heart Sarie!

Proud USMC Wife said...

See thats why you are so awesome Sara....you are reflecting on who you are at this very moment. Sometimes we get too comfortable. Thats ok because God will always help us as long as we go to Him and you are being honest. No one is perfect except God.
I think we all have a pride problem on some level. Being Italian I def. struggle with it. You are right we constantly have to rededicate our lives to God.
I know it's hard to expect others to follow the rules and then be disappointed when they don't. When I feel frustrated about these things I have to go to God and let Him take care of it. All you can do is follow God's rules and let God take care of everyone else.
I've come to the conclusion that I don't care who thinks I look weak. Don't be afraid of what others think of you. Remember God created you and you are beautiful because of Him. We are all on our own journey and we all need one another just as we need God.
I'm here if you need anything. Hugs to you!!
Sarah

Ginger said...

Sara,
I enjoyed your blog. It is so difficult to learn to walk in His grace and surrender our will, our plan to His. I like what your husband responded... I think we place such a high standard and try to think there is a recipe to how we live to get their, to make us the super christian, or the perfect one when thru our own effert it isnt going to happen. I appreciate your openess if fighting pride, I too fight this sometimes when I am doing something for Him, forgetting it was Him not me... good stuff Sara

HIS daughter said...

Wow...I have been struggling to an extent with this same thing and this post was such an encouragement to me! I am so thankful that HIS GRACE IS SUFFICIENT! :) He is so good!
Thanks for sharing your heart...it really blessed me...
Katy