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Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Hang on for Grace

          “Superficiality,” writes Richard Foster in Celebration of Discipline, “is the curse of our age. The doctrine of instant satisfaction is a primary spiritual problem. The desperate need today,” Richard Foster concludes with his thought about superficiality, “is not for a greater number of people or intelligent people, or gifted people, but for a deep people.” 
          We live in a world that yearns for the instant fix—the microwavable result, and we expect the same quick answer to spiritual questions. To spiritually grow deeper, we need to quit struggling to change ourselves and go deeper into God’s Word to understand who we are in Jesus. As He reveals Himself to us, the Holy Spirit continually renews and transform our minds until we see ourselves as He made us at Calvary—faultless, virtuous, children of God. His gift of righteousness changes us. We can’t improve ourselves. No longer condemned by the judgment of the law, Jesus gives us everything we need so that change enabled by the Holy Spirit can take place.

          “By his divine power, God has given us everything we need for living a godly life. We have received all of this by coming to know him, the one who called us to himself by means of his marvelous glory and excellence” (2 Peter 1:3, NLT). When Jesus imputed His righteousness to us, He took all our sin and gave us everything we need to live blameless lives. But for what we received at Calvary to renew our minds and change our lives, we choose to add character traits Jesus exemplified—diligence, moral excellence, knowledge, self-control, perseverance, and godliness, brotherly kindness, and love. When we surrender, the Holy Spirit empowers each choice we make and renews the way we think. We change by allowing His grace to change us.

          When we mature spiritually, we understand the freedom of Calvary. No more masks to hide behind—no more trying to be someone we aren’t—no more trying to find a way to avoid what we face, we know we are free to live His grace. Grace gives us freedom from bondage! It sets us free to discover our true identity in Him. His grace calls us to responsibly mature in His love—not through the condemnation of sin, but by the loving conviction of righteousness. True freedom in Jesus seeks His truth with all its heart. True freedom is only real because Jesus gave His life for our sin. Grace was not cheap! It cost Jesus His righteousness! We cheapen His grace when our self-efforts are more important than His gift of righteousness. We cheapen His grace when we don’t allow the Holy Spirit to renew our minds and change us. Jesus paid the ultimate price. How can we not long to know what His gift means for our lives? 

          Never forget what grace cost Jesus. The woman with the alabaster box understood.  Grace is not a quick fix we make. Grace is not an “it” that we act out. Grace is Jesus giving His life for us—changing us—freeing us. Commitment to grow in understanding of His grace honors His gift of righteousness. Choose to be changed believing that it is His responsibility to change you—not yours. His grace will be real as never before. 

© 2019 Lynn Lacher

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