Don’t receive it in vain

Just when I was tired and at the end of my rope, God sent me something this weekend that made me even more tired, but felt like a drink of water to a soul that has been pretty parched lately. Here’s the first little tidbit from it that I don’t think she ever actually said. It was something the Holy Spirit kind of pointed out to me while she was talking:

“Working together with him (God) then, we appeal to you not to receive the grace of God in vain.” 2 Corinthians 6:1

I’m going to rephrase it the way she did. Don’t receive God’s grace, and then pretend like you don’t have it. Don’t receive it, and then  not let it make changes in your life. There are so many ways that God’s grace changes our lives if we let it. It’s true that we would be receiving God’s grace in vain if we walked the aisle to ask him into our hearts and then on the weekdays partied, slept around, lied, swore and stole stuff. It’s true that we would receive God’s grace in vain if we received it for ourselves and then went around looking down our noses at everyone we saw as “lesser” than use because they’re sinful.

All those are true, but I want to focus on something else: what the power of God’s grace means for our identity. Fact: God made us in his image, therefore we’re worth notice in his eyes. Fact: we sinned, which separates us from him. Fact: God’s grace fixes that problem, and puts us back close to God. Fiction: we still have to feel guilty all the time over the mistakes we’re making.

Nope. No way. That’s a definite negative. To receive God’s grace and then still beat ourselves up over every mistake would be like glancing up at this gorgeous sunset picture and then glancing back down at our smart phones without pausing to admire it, to celebrate it, to take a picture of it, to let it point us back toward God. Does that make sense? Neither does living in guilt.

Now don’t hear me say never to feel any remorse over a wrong action. Not what I said. God gave us consciences for a reason. But why not repent of that behavior, hand it over to God and let go of it? We can, he’s absolved us of guilt by his grace. How amazing is that?

Easier said than done, you say? I don’t deserve his love and forgiveness you say?  The only reply I have for that is that I’ve lived there for too many years and I’m tired of it. Won’t you join me in praying to be released from guilt so we can serve God better? This isn’t something I’ve achieved, but something I’m praying for in my life. Please join me.

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