Skip to main content

Pure and simple

Some days, I am on top of the world - sailing along without worry or hindrance. Others I am in the pit looking up - barely able to keep my head above water, really uncertain about the way things are going to turn out that day. The ups and downs, twists and turns of life just keep us in knots, wondering what is coming next, not sure we will be able to 'keep up' or 'make it through'. It is one thing to feel these various emotions because of another's action within our lives - quite another to feel them because of our own poorly prepared and 'dumbly executed' actions, isn't it? One brings a sense of anger, mistrust, fear, and perhaps even the desire to retaliate a little. The other brings a sense of frustration, guilt, remorse, and if we are being totally honest here, even a little bit of what we call shame.

Living then, as every one of you does, in pure grace, it's important that you not misinterpret yourselves as people who are bringing this goodness to God. No, God brings it all to you. The only accurate way to understand ourselves is by what God is and by what he does for us, not by what we are and what we do for him. (Romans 12:3)

The main reason we experience these ups and downs in our emotions is our viewpoint or vantage point in life - it colors our interpretation of all life sends our way. I wonder if we really know what it means to live in "pure grace". I think we might have an idea of grace, but I think most of us actually do not fully appreciate the depth of grace in our lives - going to the deepest places of hurt and sin in our lives. We don't understand its breadth - reaching into the periphery and uncovering what only festers where it is secretly hidden. Amazingly, we do understand how to cover up, run from, work to be free of, and involve ourselves in all kinds of spiritual contortions in order to "feel forgiven". Yet, that 'feeling' is a waning thing - probably for about as long as it takes for us to do something else that is kind of dumb, or poorly executed in our lives! Paul writes to us about the grace of God - pure and simple - we are incapable of adding nothing to it! It is this grace which sets man right with God - pure grace - nothing 'mixed into it' that we can add on our own merit. This same grace restores hope to the hopeless soul - the soul that keeps doing the same dumb things time and time again. Nothing is quite like grace. Grace is indeed not fully understood, but I wonder if we were ever supposed to 'understand' grace, or to simply accept it, allow it to regenerate us, and then walk free of the very thing that required grace in the first place?

Living is at its best when it is in "pure grace". There is nothing more fulfilling than to be aware of how much God has forgiven in our lives, the ways he has changed a hardened and unyielding heart, or the phenomenal job he does in changing our sometimes pretty 'warped' mindset. Yet, we live far short of "pure grace", don't we? We "muddy" the grace of God with the actions of our own attempts at "feeling forgiven". We want to do something to "feel forgiven" - like serving out of obligation rather than love, engaging in religious activities for the sake of how it makes us feel. Then we wonder why we just don't break free from the feelings associated with our past failures. It is almost always because we don't understand grace - a gift, pure and simple, with no strings attached. We don't bring our "goodness" to God - he brings it to us! No matter what, God's grace is ours - we just have to learn to accept the grace we have been given and stop trying to "add" to it! We only understand ourselves when we behold God. Why? He is our creator - we are created in HIS image. When we look upon him, we see exactly what he created us to be! As we behold him, we see how he sees us! It is in beholding what he is - pure, holy, loving, righteous, long-suffering - the revelation of how he sees us becomes more real. We are definitely not pure - but in Christ, we are totally pure. We are definitely not the embodiment of love - but in Christ, we experience pure love. We are certainly not very patient or long-suffering - but in each extension of God's grace, we begin to understand the limitless supply of his grace.

It is his action within us which helps to "even out" those ups and downs of emotions. It is what he does in and for us that produces "evenness" in our character. Left to our own devices, we would still ride the roller-coaster of emotions. We simply cannot experience lasting emotional stability if we are counting on any human effort of our own to make us "feel" right. Eventually, given enough time, we will disappoint ourselves! We will do something, say a few choice words, or forget our commitments. In the end, all the religious effort to be "good" or "pure" will just not "make us" so! Only grace has the ability to accomplish what grace is intended to do - to pardon, to release, to erase. Nothing is quite like grace! I have observed a trend to hand out all these 'powerful' sports drinks at soccer, football, and baseball games now. The question that comes to mind is if we are losing water while exerting ourselves, why aren't we drinking water? The drinks may be good, but if all we need is water, why do we try to put more in? I have to ask, if we have fallen from grace, why are we trying to replace it with anything other than grace? Just askin!


Popular posts from this blog

What did obedience cost Mary and Joseph?

As we have looked at the birth of Christ, we have considered the fact he was born of a virgin, with an earthly father so willing to honor God with his life that he married a woman who was already pregnant.  In that day and time, a very taboo thing.  We also saw how the mother of Christ was chosen by God and given the dramatic news that she would carry the Son of God.  Imagine her awe, but also see her tremendous amount of fear as she would have received this announcement, knowing all she knew about the time in which she lived about how a woman out of wedlock showing up pregnant would be treated.  We also explored the lowly birth of Jesus in a stable of sorts, surrounded by animals, visited by shepherds, and then honored by magi from afar.  The announcement of his birth was by angels - start to finish.  Mary heard from an angel (a messenger from God), while Joseph was set at ease by a messenger from God on another occasion - assuring him the thing he was about to do in marrying Mary wa

The bobby pin in the electrical socket does what???

Avoidance is the act of staying away from something - usually because it brings some kind of negative effect into your life.  For example, if you are a diabetic, you avoid the intake of high quantities of simple sugars because they bring the negative effect of elevating your blood glucose to unhealthy levels.  If you were like me as a kid, listening to mom and dad tell you the electrical outlets were actually dangerous didn't matter all that much until you put the bobby pin into the tiny slots and felt that jolt of electric current course through your body! At that point, you recognized electricity as having a "dangerous" side to it - it produces negative effects when embraced in a wrong manner.  Both of these are good things, when used correctly.  Sugar has a benefit of producing energy within our cells, but an over-abundance of it will have a bad effect.  Electricity lights our path and keeps us warm on cold nights, but not contained as it should be and it can produce

Scrubbed Up and Ready to Go!

Have you ever considered just how 'clean' your hands really are? In nursing school, I remember this exercise we did where we rubbed hand lotion on our hands, then were told to go scrub them to practice a good handwashing technique. Most of us were going the extra mile by scrubbing back and front, in between the fingers and then even up above the wrist area. Surely our hands were clean, right? We came back to the room for the 'inspection' of our handwashing jobs only to find our instructor had turned the lights off, had a black light set up, and inspected our hands under that glowing beast! Guess what else 'glowed'? Our hands! The lotion was 'laced' with this 'dust' that illuminates under the black light, allowing each of us to see the specific areas around cuticles, under nails, and even here and there on our hands that got totally missed by our good 'handwashing' technique! What we thought was clean really wasn't clean at all. Clean