November 21, 2016
When Grace Is Complicated
Who shall ascend the hill of the Lord? And who shall stand in his holy place? He who has clean hands and a pure heart… (Psalm 24:3-4a, ESV)
Friend to Friend
As of last summer, I became a watering girl. My sunny days often begin with the garden hose in hand. And I love it. The birds sing melodies in all their chirpy cuteness and the plants respond with claps of gratitude. (I seriously think they clap … in their own way. Moving on...)
Early one morning I unwound the hose and watered our small cucumber garden. Then I headed toward a few thirsty plant friends in the back of the lawn along the fence. As I began to water, the flow trickled to a stop.
I looked up and spied the water-stopping nemesis. A kink in the hose.
There was plenty of water. It just couldn’t flow because the hose had flipped and kinked. I tried to flap it out from where I was across the yard, but this kink was a good bit down the line. It required that I drop everything and address it. Once the kink was fixed, the water flowed smoothly and the rest of my plants got their drinks.
What a picture of faith!
Just like a hose is connected to a water source, our souls are connected to the Living Water. And though as believers we are always connected to Him and always have access to the refreshment and nourishment our souls need, there are times when kinks happen and the flow stops.
My kinks come in all shapes and sizes. I get flipped over by disappointments, unmet expectations, other people, or simply by my attitude, unbelief, fears, behaviors, rebellion, or unhealthy emotions.
How can I work out the kinks of my circumstances and relationships? By turning to the grace that God offers. By asking for His grace instead of depending on my own strength. By going to Him in prayer. By aligning my life and my choices to the teachings of the Bible. By yielding to His Spirit.
The biggest of all kinks, however, is my sin.
Yep. I said the s-word.
Pastor Timothy Keller said it this way; “The sin that is most destructive in your life right now is the one you are most defensive about.”
Ouch. Big kink. Right?
How can I work out the kinks of my sin? By confession. I drop everything and address it.
Here are two opposite sides of the same kink-coin found in Scripture.
If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us (1 John 1:8-10, ESV).
Anyone, then, who knows the good he ought to do and doesn't do it, sins. (James 4:17)
Got a few sin kinks? Sure you do. We all do. Some might stem from blatant rebellion to God’s will, while others might be simply NOT doing something you know you ought to do. Regardless, if you want to have a right relationship with God, you must deal with sin honestly. Nothing can separate you from God’s love, but sin sure can stop the flow of His peace, grace, strength, and joy into your life.
The Anglican theologian Richard Sibbes summed up the good news of Jesus beautifully when he said; “There is more mercy in Christ than sin in us.”
I. Am. So. Thankful.
Let the grace of God work out your kinks as they happen. When you realize your error, drop everything and address it. The Bible says that the Lord’s kindness leads us to repentance, which, in turn, unleashes the powerful flow of His peace, grace, strength, and joy.
Now, I admit this isn’t always easy. There are times when I want to justify my sin and ignore grace. But if I can recognize my stubbornness, pride, arrogance, laziness, over-indulgence, and so on for what it is and remember that God’s grace restores and heals, then I am empowered to handle my sin swiftly and sincerely.
Lord, I am so thankful that your mercy is greater than my sin. Please forgive me for ____________________ . You know my heart and You know my ways. Cover me fresh with grace today so that I can experience Your joy, strength, and peace.
In Jesus’ Name,
Now It’s Your Turn
Time to be a woman of courage! Grab your journal and list a few of your known kinks. Pray that the Lord would reveal some of your unknown kinks to you and ask that He would contend with you in those areas. If you are feeling extra courageous, CLICK HERE to visit my blog and POST A PRAYER that asks God to help you with 2-3 of the specific kinks that you are convicted of today. Then, while you are there, pray for a few of the other women who posted. Encourage one another. Be the body. Be the beauty.
More from the Girlfriends
Today’s post is an excerpt from Gwen Smith’slatest book, I Want I ALL, which includes a Bible Study Guide right in the back of the book; no extra purchase required. You will love that it’s easy to read yet contains compelling and challenging content. You'll connect with the stories, probably dust off a few heart dreams, think bigger thoughts of God, laugh and smile a lot, search your soul, and even cry a little ... because each page lovingly directs you to the personal grace and truth of JESUS. (Get a FREE Downloadable “I Want It All” COLORING and JOURNAL book that’s the perfect companion to the book when you sign up to receive her blog!)
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