Saturday, October 10, 2015

Grace

Grace.

We say it before meals. A ballerina has it. A girl is named it. It's a noun. It's a verbthe king will grace us with his presence. And it's a word sprinkled throughout the New Testament.

What is it really?

The best definition I've found for grace is unmerited favor.

Unmerited: unearned, not worked for, not deserved in any way.

Favor: excessive kindness or unfair partiality; preferential treatment.

This is what God extends toward us. And so many of us, having sung songs like Amazing Grace hundreds of times and having heard dozens of sermons on the topic, are desensitized to just how utterly, amazingly, mind-boggling this is. We've heard this all our lives. So we tune out. We disregard the subject as being basic. Let's get to the more challenging stuff, right?

Truth is, we've barely grasped the fringe of it. Oftentimes the basics are the deepest, most profound parts of our faithelements that take a lifetime and more to truly dig into.

Graceunmerited favoris what grew inside a teenaged girl's womb.

Grace is what walked the planet, confining God to the limits of human skin.

Grace is what touched untouchable lepers.

Grace is what fed thousands of people who, not long after, would desert the One who fed them.

Grace is what turned itself over to be crucified on a Roman cross.

Grace is what looks at you, in all the dirt of your failings and the scars of your wrongs, and smiles and says, "You are flawless."

We have watered down this concept of grace. It's too good to be true, so we add our own "truth" to it. We say there's grace for the sinner, and after that? Well, you'd better work for it. God gives you a slice of grace when you choose to follow Him, and then you must tread carefully, so as not to use it all up. Because there's only so and so much of it. If you go too far (and we all draw different lines of what that is), if you make too many mistakes, or too large of a mistake . . . You'd best hope there's enough mercy left for you.

It sounds ludicrous to say it so bluntly. But many of us, without realizing, think this way. And in so doing, we scoff at a grace so dearly bought, and say, "It's not enough."

"It's not enough. Jesus' work on the cross is not really a finished work; surely I must add something to it. Surely there's an if or a when attached."

But grace is not a well, able to dry up after so much use. Grace is a waterfall, an unending supply of lavish kindness that is completely undeserved.

Expecting parents couldn't be more excited for their coming child. They prepare a nursery, buy clothes and toys and blankets, read books on how to care for it. And when the baby arrives, oh, the joy! This baby keeps them up at night, soils its diapers, spits up on things, wails to high heaven, and generally does nothing at all to deserve any love. And yet those parents would give their very lives for their child.

That's the kind of love, the kind of grace, God has toward you and me. We've done absolutely nothing to earn it. How could we? Even if we lived to the very best of our ability, put in our highest effort, how could any of it even tip the scales toward an even balance? How could it even begin to match the weight of grace? To even try is to negate its very meaning.

And that baby? When it starts learning to walk, only to fall down again and again? Mom and Dad don't scold it. They don't smack it upside the head and say, "Why can't you learn to walk straight without tripping? Get it together!" No, they cheer their child on. "You can do it! Come on, that's it. Look at youyou're doing so well!"

When we fall, our Father picks us up and cheers us on. In fact, it's that grace that enables and empowers us to learn to walk.

Let's rediscover the meaning of grace, my friends.

14 comments :

  1. This was a beautiful post,Tracey.
    I admittedly think like that in terms of grace, that there is only so much. That if I do certain things, then I lose it somehow. It's refreshing to remember that God's grace is never ending.

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    1. I think we all see it that way from time to time, at least. I have without realizing. But isn't is so freeing to realize that grace never runs dry? That we can come to God boldly even in the moments we mess up the worst?

      Thanks for commenting, Skye! <3

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  2. Tracey, you have so eloquently written this. You have 'heard' the heart of our Heavenly Father! He so longs for each of us to walk in clearer understanding of this. As we 'marinate' in these truths, our lives will become more full and exciting. We will live lives that will make more of a difference to those around us. I pray that Holy Spirit will remind us of these truths daily, so that we will overflow with grace and minister it everywhere we go.
    I love you, my precious daughter! Keep using your words for Jesus!
    Mom

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    1. Aw, thank you so much, Mom! Marinating in this daily is so, SO important. It's amazing how much hope and confidence we gain from really realizing what God's grace is. Thank you for being a beautiful reminder of it! <3 Love you too!

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  3. Oh, Tracey... Your words. So much depth and beauty! I will never ever ever not be in awe at the sheer profoundness of your posts. What a reminder!

    You are so right, the word "grace" gets tossed around so much it's been severely watered down, so understated. Your analogy with the parents and their baby explained it perfectly. Jesus does give us grace, no matter how many times we fall down. He's always there to pick us up again and lead us on.

    "Grace is what looks at you, in all the dirt of your failings and the scars of your wrongs, and smiles and says, 'You are flawless.'"
    This sentence almost made me cry. I need this reminder so often, because too much in life do I feel ugly and worthless.

    Thank you for this beautiful reminder of the TRUE meaning of grace. You are such a blessing! *hugs*

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    1. Christine, you were born with about twice as much sweetness as a normal human being. XD Thank you!

      Yes, 'grace' along with many other words, seems to be only a shade of what it should be. (Like 'love.' I don't know how many times I've wished the English language had like five more words for it!)

      Well, dear, I'll keep reminding you...and others...and myself. <333 Goodness knows we forget these things too easily.

      You're a huge blessing too! I'm so glad this touched you. *hugs*

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  4. Again, you touch on something so important!
    I'd not only like to rediscover the meaning of grace, I'd like to see it in action. I find I have trouble both giving it and receiving it. It's slow learning, but I think I'm changing. Posts like these help.
    Thank you!

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    1. Mm, yes. I'm with you there. It can be so hard to receive it--we're wrapped in the oh so human thought process of "do good, get good / do bad, get bad." And until we receive it, it can be equally hard to give it. Praying that this truth washes over you in a new way! <3

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  5. Love you post! Thanks for reminding me that God loves me no matter what! <3
    You are so awesomesauce, Tracey!
    -Cece

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    1. I'm glad! You are so very, very loved. <3
      No, you're even more awesomesaucier! XD

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  6. This is so beautiful, Tracey. I loved reading this. My middle name is "Grace" and it's really need to hear grace expanded on like this. I totally agree that we often grow numb to the word because we hear it so much, especially in the song "Amazing Grace" which has sadly almost become cliche nowadays. It's sad really since it's a beautiful song especially the further verses that most people don't sing.

    storitorigrace.blogspot.com

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    1. Thank you, Tori; I'm glad it was encouraging! ^_^

      Yes, I love "Amazing Grace," but it's easy to turn a deaf ear because we've heard it SO many times. The following verses are definitely beautiful. "'Twas grace that taught my heart to fear, and grace my fears relieved..."

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