Grace continues to be a significant theme in my spiritual journey. But so much of me still resists the generosity of God. There is still so much of the childish “I-can-do-it-myself” bent in me.
Romans 11:5-6, “So too, at the present time there is a remnant chosen by grace. And if by grace, then it is no longer by works; if it were, grace would no longer be grace.”
It was this phrase “chosen by grace” that caught me. So much of my own choosing is still a matter of works rather than grace. I tend to assume at a gut-level that God’s choice of me runs along the same lines. Father, You have chosen me not because of my stature, my intelligence, my performance, or not chosen me for lack of these. Whatever good there is in me is a gift of the same grace by which You have chosen me anyway. You chose me simply out of Your love and kindness.
God either chooses by works or by grace. They are mutually exclusive bases by which to choose. He cannot choose by grace and use a few works as part of His criteria. To do so, as Paul says, makes grace no longer grace. I often wonder whether much of the “grace” we speak of in the evangelical church is no longer grace because of the ways we have looked at works as part of the sanctification equation. We seem to believe that God chose us by grace, but that we are now being sanctified by some combination of His grace and my own works. This is far different than the idea of works that God Himself has prepared beforehand for me to walk in (Ephesians 2:10).
“We creatures, we jolly beggars, give glory to God by our dependence. Our wounds and defects are the very fissures through which grace might pass. It is our human destiny on earth to be imperfect, incomplete, weak, and mortal, and only by accepting that destiny can we escape the force of gravity and receive grace. Only then can we grow close to God…” (Philip Yancey. What’s So Amazing About Grace? Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House, 1997, p. 273)
Father, I find myself still more comfortable thinking that I glorify You primarily through my successes, my strengths and my accomplishments. I find it hard to accept that my dependence could bring honor to You. Having said that, how else can my life highlight the greatness of Your grace than by the exposing of my need for grace? Your gracious nature is honored when it is put on display in those places in my life that most need grace.
Grace seeks the empty places to fill, the broken places to mend and the hurting places to heal. If I hide these places, I deny the willingness and power of God’s grace to meet me in those places. If I believe that God would reject me, I denounce God’s character as a gracious God. Father, may You teach me what it means to honor Your grace in my life.