Friday, May 16, 2014

The Other Side of Grace

We deserve the best in life…
                                                                             …at least that’s what many want to believe.

After all, we live in a “work hard, reap the reward” culture, where everything is predicated on self-fulfillment.

But whatever happened to the idea we live to become, not to acquire? Whatever happened to the belief we live by what’s been divinely given, not by what we temporarily earn?

And what if people gave thanks not only for what they’d been given, but also for what they hadn’t been given?

You see, we often think God’s grace is subject to us receiving what we’re unworthy of.

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Whether it’s a promotion, a house, even a relationship, we tend to perceive grace through the lens of gain.

But the flipside is just as equally true: what God doesn’t give us is just as strong a measure of His grace as anything else.

Now, you may be thinkin’: This sounds like mercy to me. Isn’t grace getting what you don’t deserve and mercy, not getting what you do deserve?

Well…yes and no. While there is some merit to the phrase, when you dig deeper, the idea doesn’t completely add up.

Here’s why…

Mercy centers on redemption (deliverance from judgment), but grace is fixed on compassion (extending kindness to the unworthy).

Thus, we can discover the deeper places of God’s heart when we understand His grace can be demonstrated through what He gives and withholds from us.

For example, we were created to enjoy community with God and one another.

But let’s get it real: chances are we’re not going to feel a strong sense of belonging every season of our lives.

But this doesn’t mean God has forsaken us. Contrarily, He can use such voids to teach and grow us.

For what we don’t have often reminds us how we were created to be.

Feel alone? Fear not. Not only will you find desirable connections in the near-future, but you’re going to understand the need for community in an entirely different way. How awesome it that?

Same thing with love or influence. We crave its existence to the point we will do almost anything to feel its vibrant pulse resonating within. The question is: Are we compromising our appetite for God in our pursuit of these drives apart from Him?

Bottom line: It’s grace that enables us to know how God is moving in our lives. Maybe He wants to help you learn full dependence on Him. Maybe He wants you to rest after a season of chaos or busyness? Maybe there are strongholds God wants us to address before we pursue the next phase of our journey? The possibilities are endless. But the common denominator through it all is you never have to fear feeling empty, when He’s just around the corner ready to fill you up with exactly what you need.

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