True Grace vs. Lazy Grace
Understanding grace has been a challenging thing for me.
I grew up believing that how "good" I was, was based on how good I behaved.
And that's not even largely impart because of the church I went to, it's simply because that was what I was taught in school and by my teachers and my coaches - that's just how life works.
When you do something good, you are rewarded, you get a scholarship, or you win the game.
But the gospel flips this world upside down a bit and tells us that we, in our imperfect state, are not able to work our way back to being reunited with our perfect God and creator.
The scriptures tell us that we have been saved by grace, through faith and that it is not due to our own work, but a free gift from God (Ephesians 2:8-9).
But what I've also been learning recently is that even though grace and salvation are not based on our own works, an appropriate response to these incredible gifts, takes some work.
I've been learning that despite the incredible amount of grace that God has shown me, it is still going to take some work for me to become the woman that He intends for me to be.
Lazy Grace Assumes Jesus Died For Nothing
If you happen to have read my last post, you know that my thoughts, words, and actions at work have not been very glorifying to God over recent weeks.
I recently confessed to my community group, that I had become lazy.
I have let my thoughts drift to negative ideas and attitudes about my patients and colleagues, and my words and actions have begun to show it.
This is what lazy grace looks like.
Lazy grace looks like me claiming Jesus as my savior and then choosing to dishonor Him with my actions and words at work - and then going so far as to justify those words and actions.
Lazy grace looks like us getting baptized in front of the congregation and then continuing to choose to actively pursue our sin.
Lazy grace looks like me professing that I am saved and made new and continuing to be rude, to not do my work well, to get drunk, or not love my spouse well.
Lazy grace assumes that Jesus died on the cross and rose from the grave as a kind gesture granting us the freedom to continue living and sinning however we so choose.
Lazy grace is a tool the devil uses to convince God's people that living in our sin and our flesh is better than dying to it.
True Grace Requires Action
True grace requires a response. It requires an action.
True grace is a gift. And really great gifts generally induce significant responses (i.e. thank you notes, outward expressions of appreciation, hugs, etc.).
For some reason, when my thoughts were wandering at work, I didn't see it as a fault of my own. I saw my thoughts as a result of my broken and bitter self. My actions were due to the brokenness of the environment in which I work. But these things were out of my control. They were something that I couldn't work on to make better.
My thoughts and actions just were what they were. (Or as some say, it is what it is).
But this is not how we are called to live.
Our response to grace can not be to remain as we are.
Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 6:19-20: "Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body."
When we accept Jesus as our savior and surrender our hearts to His will and His way, we get to welcome His Holy and perfect spirit within us.
Our lives are forever changed.
And while we will continue to wake up every day and have to deny the sinful desires of our flesh, we are called to constantly be renewing our minds and transforming our hearts (Romans 12:2).
This past Sunday one of our pastors said, "We do not naturally drift to becoming more like Christ. We naturally drift towards our sin."
He went on to talk about how we need accountability and community.
My challenge for you this week is this:
1) Reflect on any places in your life where you have let yourself drift towards sin, and how you have justified it
2) Take action against it - all sin leads to death. Find someone you can trust, who knows the word of God, and will hold you accountable and help you combat the sin you are struggling with.
As for me, I plan to start taking hold of my thoughts better at work. When I do have a negative thought, I am going to stop in the moment and either transition that train of thought from a negative one to a conversation with God, recite a verse, or replace those negative thoughts with a worship song in my head.
Take a baby step this week. Ask for His help and the strength of His spirit. But be willing to sacrifice the feelings your flesh craves.
When we truly receive the gift of grace, obedient and sacrificial faithfulness is the only appropriate response.
"I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect." -Romans 12:1-2