"Many of life's failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up." Thomas A. Edison
Boy, isn't that the truth? We go on along for quite a while, pursuing whatever it is we think will make us money, help us make a worthwhile contribution in this world, or simply give us a sense of accomplishment deep within, then suddenly we realize aren't 'there' yet and give up. In our giving up, we are really surprised to find someone else takes up where we left off and they are the ones that make it to where we were headed and they do it in no time at all! How does that make us feel? Defeated? Unlucky? Worthless? Most of the time we are so close to what we wanted to finish when we give up - even in things more 'spiritual' in nature. Maybe we should stop long enough to step back and take in the sight of just how close we really are to the finish line and just how much help we have right there, given to us to actually help us cross the line!
The Ten Commandments were given so that all could see the extent of their failure to obey God’s laws. But the more we see our sinfulness, the more we see God’s abounding grace forgiving us. (Romans 5:20)
Grace is one of those things beckoning to us to cross the line each and every time. Not in some form of religious piety, but in desperation to 'succeed' in this life we have been called to live in Christ Jesus. All our religious pursuits will just point out all the failure in our lives - grace looks at each of those failure as stepping stones that paved the pathway to crossing the finish line! We see our failures, God sees our possibilities. We see our 'end' as truly that - God sees it as a new beginning. We see our dashed dreams as no longer worth our attention - God sees them as starting spots for new dreams and hoops. The Ten Commandments weren't given to keep us righteous, just to point us to the need for Christ's righteousness in our lives!
"Close" counts if we are using an atomic bomb to attack a problem. "Close" doesn't count if what is needed is a sniper's bullet! "Close" isn't close enough in that case - it is a miss. Too many misses and we sometimes dessert the very thing God has given to us to show us how to consistently 'hit our mark' in life. Grace is what helps us pick up that which we have laid down in our failure and go on. Grace is what helps us refine our vision of the target. Grace is what God uses to help us see the target as we should. "Close" isn't enough - he shows us how to actually hit our target 'spot on' - not because we did it, but because he did it through us. Stop abandoning the target each time you fail - start embracing more of his grace instead! You might just find the target gets a little clearer as you do! Just sayin!