God is love and His love for us is unconditional. Though we do not deserve it, God freely gives His grace to us.
However, many times when we need God the most, we end up feeling as though we are least accepted by Him. Nothing could be further from the truth! Even when we fall flat on our faces due to sin, God does not turn His back on us. In fact, He does just the opposite — He opens His arms to us and beckons us to repent and to come to Him.
We need to understand a principle concerning grace: it is not currency we carry around in our pockets, spending it at will whenever we sin. The grace of God is precious. It is impossible to earn God’s grace. As fallen humans, we certainly do not deserve His mercy, yet He opens the windows of heaven and pours His grace on us. Christ did not die on the cross so that we can take sin lightly and flaunt our freedoms without consequence. He also did not die in order to give us a constricting and rigid life. Either extreme is a limited version of the Christian faith.
We must balance both legalism and grace. When we fully understand the cost of our sin, we choose not to take God's grace for granted. When we fully understand Jesus' sacrifice and love, we begin to cherish our relationship with Him above all else. When we love God with all our heart, soul, strength and mind, we will hate sin and crave a closer relationship with Him.
As we grow in our relationship with Jesus Christ, we begin to understand that He truly cares about our lives. We learn that He wants to build intimate relationships with us. Instead of living in terror of Him, we are given an opportunity to be children of the King of kings. Suddenly, we begin to understand He wants us in his throne room, where grace showers all who enter into His presence.
As we grow in intimacy with God, we discern His voice and we obey the Lord — regardless of the circumstance. We know and believe that God is able to handle any obstacle that enters our path. We simply obey and watch as His grace unfolds before our very eyes. In fact, Christ’s life is a perfect model of what it means to have intimacy with God.
Throughout every trial and tribulation, throughout every victory and valley, Jesus was in perfect communion with God. He listened for the voice of His Father and responded appropriately — even if the answer meant He must wait.
In the moments we must wait, God’s grace sustains us. Waiting on God can be difficult. In our anxiousness to see Him move, we have a tendency to try and prod God along. We want to see His glory here and now. Yet, God is at work preparing the people and circumstances we will encounter along the way. His grace sustains us as we wait and it prepares the way. May all praise and glory be given to God for His amazing grace!
Excerpted from My Journal, a monthly devotional magazine from Leading The Way with Dr. Michael Youssef.
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