I’ve been thinking a lot about grace; a five-letter word that reaches to the depths of the earth and the heights of the heavens. It’s readily available, yet we have trouble grasping it. How can we be the recipient of divine love when we haven’t done anything to deserve it and can’t earn it? It’s a question to ponder. Maybe one day we will understand how God’s love truly is unconditional, unshakeable, and undeniable!
What little I have grasped about grace gives freedom and peace to my task-oriented personality. Even in my limited understanding, I know grace abounds when I dwell in Christ, regardless of life’s situations and circumstances. As I learn to dwell more completely, I discover more depths of God’s grace.
The Question of How
A friend recently asked a thought-provoking question: “As a Jesus follower, we are taught to love others, be humble and obedient, and live like Jesus. In today’s confused and individualistic culture, it seems most Christians struggle with how to do these things. What is love? Define humility? Scripture says we are to walk with Jesus, but how does that look for believers?”
My response provides the guidance I received from the Holy Spirit over a period of years. “The way I live out the Jesus-life is to spend time with Him in scripture, worshipping, and talking with Him. My life passion is to cultivate a deep and abiding love relationship with God.”
“What is in the heart naturally overflows into other relationships. The way to love others is to be genuine and authentic, yet caring more about obedience to God than pleasing man. When we live for God and don’t bow down to the whims of people, He naturally flows through us. He tenders our attitudes, triggers, motives, etc., as we spend time with Him. Too often we are caught up in how to behave and talk like a Christian, which is stressful. One day, as I struggled with a failed attempt to love someone, the Lord said, “My child, just be. Be who I created you to be. Love Me, and My love will flow out of you. You will reflect Me without even knowing it. That’s how.”
Becoming the Me God Created
I stopped striving to behave like a Christian and focused on becoming the me God created. After all, as my Creator, only He knows my potential, purpose, and true passions. He knows my struggles and workings. When He shows me wounds, triggers, hurts, poor attitudes or behaviors, I see them through His perspective of love. He doesn’t reveal these things to me as punishment or conviction, but because He loves me and wants me whole. He wants me to fulfill my purpose and reach my destiny. As He peels away the layers of the broken-inner-me, I ask Him to walk me through healing, so my life is a clearer reflection of His character.
The journey becomes abundant when He becomes our focus. As we learn who He is, we love Him more. As we understand how His grace and love toward us are unshakeable, our love and devotion increase. It’s as if He injects our heart with a seed of love, and as the seed grows, it becomes a tree that produces love, joy, humility, obedience, peace, etc. This is done with only the effort it takes to abide in Him by spending time with Him. Then, the love we show others is simply and easily an overflow of our love for God.
Though I make it sound easy to ‘just be,’ I confess it took years to grow comfortable with this process. I wanted to earn God’s love and grace so I would feel assured He would never take it away. I realized the fear of rejection was working against God’s perfect promise of ‘never leaving nor forsaking me.’
Encouragement for You
For those who have not spent time with God, the cultivation of a love-relationship with Him may be difficult to grasp. It may even be a struggle to incorporate because it takes time and intentionality to build, maintain, and enjoy continual communion with the Holy Spirit. But the payoff far outweighs the time invested. And once you get a taste of His goodness, you experience His abundant love and grace. The best part: it’s a step by step process that be cultivated in your timeframe without stress, striving, or fear of rejection. Take the first step today. Read Psalm 1 or whisper a prayer. And give yourself grace as you learn to “just be.”