Lavish Grace

Socrates reminded us that "the unexamined life is not worth living" - when we only allow others to examine our lives, we might just get a 'warped perception' of how we are doing. Human opinion about our choices is not always the wisest thing for us to latch onto as the standard by which we will live our lives. In fact, it could just allow for some things clearly not good for us, while excluding things we desperately need!

Declare me innocent, O Lord, for I have acted with integrity; I have trusted in the Lord without wavering. Put me on trial, Lord, and cross-examine me. Test my motives and my heart. For I am always aware of your unfailing love, and I have lived according to your truth. (Psalm 26:1-3)

Proverbs 16:2 reminds us that people may be pure in their own eyes, but until the Lord examines the heart, we can be living by an unrealistic standard. Why? Our own opinion of how we are to live isn't always influenced by the right values or standards. If we go only by public opinion on a matter, we could be allowing all manner of sinful compromise to be 'acceptable' in our eyes, while God clearly says those things will only bring us harm. We must know God's standards if we are to ever resist public opinion!

When someone is 'examined' in a court of law, the ones posing the questions understand the law. They are aware of when something is 'right' and when it is clearly 'against the law'. They form their examination based upon the standards established by those laws. In much the same way, God has established standards that give us a clear picture of when a particular action is clearly outside of the 'law' of his standards. When we gravitate toward the boundary of those standards, we are getting too close to the place where we can easily step outside of them.

People who wish to live with integrity in their lives aren't afraid to have their lives examined in the 'courtroom' of God's standards. Why? They know the boundaries and make active choices to live within those boundaries. Do they ever 'over-step' those boundaries? Yes, because they are human and don't always make the best choices. When they do, they have an advocate who stands before the "Judge" and presents the case for grace. Jesus is our advocate - God hears his case for grace on our behalf and grants grace every time Jesus presents the need for such 'lenience'. 

Is it a 'free sentence', though? No, there are always consequences to sin in our lives, but the sin isn't held against us. In other words, we may reap what we sowed by the wrong choice, but we are returned to a right standing with God. We may not always choose wisely, but the more we choose to live by the standards established by God, the less we will find ourselves requiring such lavish grace! Just sayin!

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