Putting a Little Grace in Your Life

[God] has saved us and called us to a holy life – not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace. This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time. – 2 Timothy 1:9

What tasks do you have before you today? This weekend? This year? Whatever they are, you get into trouble (as do I) when you forget the place of God’s grace.

God’s grace is not a response to my life; my life is a response to God’s grace. When I forget that, I – sometimes blatantly, sometimes subtly – view the tasks before me as a way to earn God’s favor. I think, “Surely my attendance must count for something. Certainly God must take into account all the hours I have invested. Indeed, I am in a better place than those who do not participate as much as I participate, or offer as much as I offer, or work as hard as I work.”

When I remember, however, that apart from God’s grace all my righteous acts are like filthy rags, this self-righteous approach leaves me with nothing – at least nothing worth having. So I must remember the place of God’s grace.

My life does not prompt God’s grace; God’s grace empowers my life. When I forget that, I can begin to look at the tasks before me with fear and trembling, sometimes even shame. I say, “I’ve never done this before. How am I going to be able to do that? Aren’t there others better qualified or more experienced? What if she criticizes me? What if he ignores me? What if someone mocks me?”

In the tasks you face today, this weekend, or this year, remember the place of God’s grace. God’s grace is not a response to your life; your life is a response to God’s grace. He has saved you and called you to a holy life – not because of anything you have done but because of his own purpose and grace. This grace was given you in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time.

Remembering the place of God’s grace cuts off the inclination toward sinful, self-righteous claims and feeble attempts at false humility. In this grace you find forgiveness for haughty sentiments as well as the feigned humility which is nothing more than a fragile shell covering the corruption lying beneath the surface. With this grace you are empowered to respond with words and actions that glorify God and serve those around you.

That’s a good place to be.

Prayer: Lord God, by grace you have made me your own and prepared me for the tasks ahead. Your Spirit gives me power, courage, and the self-discipline to do what you have for me to do. Enable me, therefore, to go confidently and speak boldly, in Christ Jesus. Amen.

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