There is a reason I call it the life-changing power of grace. The gospel of grace has more power to change a person than the messages that I was getting in church for many years. If you have read any of the early posts on this blog then you know that at first, I believed that you had to perform, and perform well to please God. If that message didn’t come through then I failed, even at that. I began this blog sometime in 2006. It wasn’t until 2011 that I discovered this life-changing power of grace, and I began to experience freedom.
I believed in a law based message. I believed that it was up to me to maintain the life in Christ, that I really did believe God had given me. And He had indeed given me life in Christ. I was taught, maybe not intentionally, that I had to stay on top of things or my life wouldn’t be pleasing to God. By 2010, I was so discouraged because of sin in my life that I wanted to commit suicide, only I was afraid I would go to hell because of the sin in my life. I didn’t know how to stop sinning. The harder I tried the harder it became. Eventually, I started to believe that God couldn’t possibly love me the way I was and that His patience with me had to be close to running out.
It is very tiring to believe that you have to maintain a certain set of standards in order to stay on God’s good side. And when you’ve missed something or did something wrong, it is very hard to avoid the feelings of guilt and shame. And there is that feeling of helplessness; not being able to change yourself for the better.
Grace can catch you off guard. Grace says that God loves you regardless of what you have done. What? God has forgiven ALL of your sins before you ever thought to ask Him to. When you live the Christian life the way I was living it you really have not yet believed that God loves you. Remember that verse in 1John that says perfect love cast out all fear?(1John 4:18) Even with overwhelming evidence that He did love me, deep down didn’t really believed it.
Deep down I believed I needed to do something, perform to a certain standard, doing and saying the right things, to stay in his good graces. It turns out that it was not true. He simply loves me for who I am, flaws and everything. It doesn’t matter how bad I think my sins are, or how bad they really might be. God loves me.
This is shocking! It takes a while to get used to. God loves me? WHAT? What about my porn, masturbation, laziness, and other stuff? HE STILL LOVES ME? What about my secret anger and hatred toward those who have hurt me? Yes, He loves me still. He has no intention of hurting me in any way. He is not gonna set me on fire and burn me forever. He is not trying to destroy my life here on earth because I don’t live a certain way. He just loves me, the way I am.
What does that do for me? It’s a great damned (blessed) relief first of all. Like I said, life changing power of Grace. For the first time in my life, I am not afraid. Realizing God’s love for me is life changing. Peace! Peace is what I now have. Sure I still feel bad when I sin, but, I now know that it is because I am acting outside of who I really am. When I sin, guilt or feeling bad about it is not an indicator that I am bad, or even that I am a sinner. It is an indicator that I have acted in a way that is contrary to my true nature, which is love. Yes, love. That is the life I have been given in Christ. It is his nature, and if I’ve been given his nature, then mine is a nature of love.
How has this changed my life? I don’t have to try anymore. My life is not geared toward trying to live according to a certain standard. I have been freed to be myself. Either the life of God’s Son in me is real or it is not. I am free to just live my life. I am focused on His love for me, which keeps my mind off my of sin, which causes me walk with ease in my God-given nature.
The Bible says that God is love, and now I am starting to experience this love for myself. My view of who God is has changed. I don’t know if anyone else has noticed this but, I have noticed, that I become whoever and whatever I believe He is. I have noticed that I have a lot more love for people.
When “Christians” seem hateful and bigoted it is because they haven’t had a revelation of who God is deep down. I am not trying to be critical of Christians. I am just telling you what I have noticed in my own life. When I was offended by anyone else’s sin it was usually because it was one of my own hidden sins. Because I believed that God hated or was disappointed in that person because of their sin, it was easy for me to do so too. And you can’t do that for long without coming to the conclusion that God hates or is disappointed with you too if you are honest.
The more I know His love for me, the more I know His love for others. I am no longer so quick to judge anyone, no matter how sinful they may seem; no matter what their crime or offense. They had to arrive at the place they are somehow. Life can be hard and painful and sometimes get the best of people. All of us have gotten to the places we are in life by a certain path, good or bad. We should not judge one another. (Matt 7:1)
If God can see my weaknesses and still love me, then He does the same for others. There is no qualification to meet in order to merit God’s love. NONE! I find my attitudes toward people changing. I feel God’s love for others flowing through me. I’m not saying I manage to allow this all the time, but it does happen more and more. And it is because I now have a different view of who God is.
I believe we naturally want to do the right thing, but when we have a skewed view of who God is, and what the right thing is, we act in ways that are actually contrary to who God is, and who we are.
There is overwhelming evidence in scripture that God loves, and that is, in fact, His very nature. His love is for you. He is not against you in any way. He is, however, against anything in your life that keeps you from being free; keeping you from finding your true nature in His Son; causing harm to your life and family. He is FOR you. He loves you more than you really know, and that is the life changing power of Grace.
Jesus tells us that we should forgive those who sin against us. Is God not better at forgiveness than we are? What about, “Love your neighbor?” Shouldn’t God be the best at loving His neighbor? I say that He is. If you are not a loving person toward others maybe you are not allowing His love to flow through you. His love is there, in your heart, but you first have to realize that He loves you without hesitation and without restraint. Once you discover His love for you, it will fill you up and begin to flow out to others and change your life and theirs.