Have you ever had a thought, one that came out of nowhere, that just stopped you in your tracks? One that you would never think on your own because maybe it's too scary, or too crazy, or too close for comfort? I have, and I am here to say that I firmly believe that these questions often come from a place that is deep within; whether it's a soul cry or a great fear, these questions reveal something about us.
For me, this:
"Am I taking advantage of God's grace?"
Those words, strung together in a question that hit me like a gut-punch. Was I? Was I walking around, still in my sin, enjoying the products of it (sometimes) and then brushing it off because "I'm saved and God loves me?" Was I leading a life that my mouth said, "I am a Christian" but my actions say, "Are you sure?"
In those 5-7 minutes after that question was asked I had a deep self search and had to answer truthfully:: I was taking advantage of God's grace.
I was touting scripture to family and friends when life threw curve balls, posting prayers and scriptures on my Facebook walls, and even, albeit silently, judging my very own family because they were not saved.
Me, the girl who could string together curse words so eloquently in a moment of anger that I would even surprise myself.
Me, the woman who last year stepped into the role of foster Mom to a brand-new baby girl. Me, the friend that breaks out the Bible to try to breakdown scriptures with my bestie, so we can digest them.
Me, the woman that helps lead a class for young girls on Wednesday nights at church. I am a hypocrite.
And in that moment I felt like the worst kind of all.
God's grace has saved me.
But, God. The unbelievable, unending, undeserving GRACE that God has given me totally replaces that feeling of being less than. It releases me from the guilt and shame that sin brings. He has known the battles within my heart and mind. He has known all along the struggles I've had and the many, many times that Satan has taunted me with lies and unbelief. And He knows every moment that I feel that way.
Because of Jesus' sacrifice at Calvary; because of His paying a debt he did not owe, I am free. I am in awe at how much love was shown that day, and every day, of my life. The beauty of His grace is simply that He gives it freely. I'm only required to receive it. It's a gift.
"What will I do with the grace God has so freely given?"
God showed me His grace again by giving me another day and with that I am vowing not to take advantage of it. I will work to make Him a priority in my life; not just an afterthought. The closer I get to God; the more time I spend in His presence, through the Word, in worship, at church, the more I want to do what pleases Him.
It's kind of like when you're working really hard to impress your boss on a project. So you put in extra hours of research, you write reports, you make sure you're full of knowledge about the project. Then you have assurance that you will do the best presentation.
This is what loving Jesus is like. This is the most important project I will ever take on, I am going to continue to study, write, and get as full of Him as I can. Then one day I will hear the beautiful words, "well done, my good and faithful servant."
Will I fall? Absolutely. But, I will no longer stay there. I will no longer use the excuse of God's grace to continue to go down slippery slopes. Instead, I will grab on to that grace extended and use it to pull myself up just a little higher. And each time I fall and rise, I'm being pulled out of the depths of hell and into the glory of Heaven. My God sent His Son to die for me, and so I am going to live for Him. My plan now is to bring as many people with me as I can.
Have you ever felt this way? What questions are you asking yourself today? What steps can you take to keep you from taking God's grace for granted?