On Earning God’s Grace

13 Jun

This is the start of a “healthy (and rather deep) debate” sparked off by a quote my cousin Ludo posted on Facebook this morning.

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I have spent the rest of today formulating my own reply to his last question…

And this is the best I’ve come up with. So far.

It is what I believe to be the truth about trying to earn our way into God’s good books…

The harder we try to impress God and earn/deserve His love and grace, the more exhausted and dissatisfied and disillusioned we will become with ourselves, with others, with the world, and ultimately WITH LIFE.

We simply can’t do it, because we will ALWAYS fall short of God’s perfect standards – however hard we try.

Our very best will NEVER be good enough to earn His grace. He is just too perfect.

The only way to “earn” God’s grace is simply to accept and believe that Jesus Christ is THE ONLY WAY through which we can ever be “acceptable”, righteous, “deserving” to God.

So unless we choose to believe in Jesus Christ; unless we give up our own desires, our opinions, our ideas, our own standards of what “goodness” might be, and choose to place HIM (His desires, His ideas, His standards) at the centre of our lives, everything we do in life will be limited, powerless and egocentric.

At best we may possibly earn other people’s approval, respect, and favour – but really: how HOLLOW is that?! Is it really all that satisfying, or deeply fulfilling to us as human beings…?? Honestly?!?

I’ve tried it, it doesn’t work: people will always let you down at some point – if you don’t let THEM down first; their esteem of you, their respect for you can only ever be limited and short-lived before it gets damaged by something you do or say that doesn’t stack up to your previous “good”, respectable, or honourable behaviour, even if you never meant for that particular thing you did or said to be hurtful or damaging.

What’s worse, you will always end up letting YOURSELF down – and living in an endless cycle of self-loathing and low self esteem. Believe me I see it around me ALL THE TIME!
I’ve seen it in myself…. But I’m free of that now because finally I understand that I’m not the point, I’m not the centre of the universe…

Now flip things around. Instead of having to work hard and put all your efforts into earning and deserving God’s grace and favour, instead of your good deeds as the source of reward, look at things with God’s undeserved grace and unconditional love as your starting point.

For me, it is the knowledge that I am unconditionally and deeply loved, cherished, and accepted by God through Jesus Christ, that makes me LOVE Him and which IN TURN motivates me to act lovingly, patiently, honourably, respectfully, rightly, selflessly towards a) myself (yes!!!) and b) others.

The source, the starting point of my every good deed is the knowledge and the acceptance of His love, and His undeserved amazing grace towards me. It all stems from Him, not the other way round. NEVER. The other way round just doesn’t work.

Acts 15:11 NLT
“We believe that we are all saved the same way, by the undeserved grace of the Lord Jesus.””

*…aaaaaand breathe…*

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