In the past week I’ve talked to two women who have temporarily walked away from organized church. For both of them, it’s been mainly because they are struggling with things and have felt judgment or been told to “just read your bible more” from well-meaning friends.
As our conversations continued and I listened to each of their stories, where they are presently at, I was saddened yet struck by the poor job the body of Christ does at times in representing our Lord. Myself, included. I am sure I have not represented Him well at times in my life. My kids will be the first ones to testify to that.
Here were two ladies trying to decide what they believe about God, based the behavior of other’s. All I could offer them was what He offers…..
This mysterious thing God pours out on us, yet we have a hard time grasping because we don’t have anything to contribute to it. It’s all Him. It’s a gift. There is nothing we can humanly add to it, though we try. It’s Him, nothing more.
And yet I’m afraid religion has done a good job adding more to it.
I heard a pastor speak at Liberty University the other week, and grace was his message, plain and simple. “The Christian community needs to stop adding things to the gospel. The gospel is nothing but grace, and we need stop adding on to it. We need to just live it.” (paraphrase)
Boy, was I challenged. Grace received, and grace given. The Great Exchange.
I wonder what the Church would look like if we lived this revolutionary gospel our Savior lived.
I wonder what could be the result if we took ourselves out of the equation, and our finite understanding of the God, and simply taught and lived grace….not because we understand it, but because He commands it.
“Now God has us where He wants us, with all the time in this world and the next to shower grace and kindness upon us in Christ Jesus. Saving is all His idea and His work. All we do it trust Him enough to let Him do it. It’s God’s gift from start to finish! We don’t play a major role. If we did, we’d probably going around bragging that we’d done the whole thing! No, we can neither make ourselves nor save ourselves. God does both the making and the saving. He creates each of us by Christ Jesus to join Him in the work He does, the good work he has gotten ready for us to do, work we had better be doing.” Ephesians 2:7-10, The Message.
As usual, God’s word says it better than anything else.
Thank you, Lord, for your grace. Forgive us when we try to add to it, or impose our opinions onto it. Help us, your Church, to live grace as you desire – in accepting it, then passing it on.
Thank you, for your Son who modeled it well.
Have mercy on us when we don’t represent you well.
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Thank you so much for the recommendation for those books. I'm not a big book reader unless I know they will be good. Your passion for them has pointed me in the direction to find them. Thank you!
such a poignant post, there is a book I highly recommend for anyone trying to make sense of it all…..it is called "The Sacred Romance" by Brent Curtis and John Eldredge….to say this book has changed me from the inside out and any person I have recommended it to would be to understate highly…but there is a workbook journal that goes with it, purchased separately, but an absolute MUST, because it takes the book a few steps deeper in very profound ways that one would likely never get out of unless they had this workbook to go with it. This book took us all on a journey that I never want to return from, and probably never will….(I then went on to read "waking the dead" by john eldredge, also an amazingggggggggg book and tied for first place with this one)