James 4:6

But he gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says:
“God opposes the proud, but
gives grace to the humble.

It really is quite ironic to me that I want to name my daughter, Grace someday. Grace and I have this love/hate relationship… and I don’t mean my future child. (Although I’m sure little Gracie and I will have that love/hate feeling when she hits the pre-teen stage) Anyways… off topic.

I really do appreciate it, and I’m so glad God extends this to us all, but I have the hardest time accepting this gift. I swear I annoy the poop out of some of my friends. I was having a conversation the other day about how I had really slipped up on something I knew was blatantly wrong. I was feeling so convicted and being so hard on myself, when one of my friends literally had to interrupt me… give me the, “I’m so freaking annoyed with you eye roll” and say, Why the heck do you think Jesus died on the Cross for us all? It’s called Grace and forgiveness- accept it. Of course I knew this, but no one had really been so exasperated by the fact that I couldn’t get this through my head before, that it actually made me realize how dumb I was being.  I guess sometimes I’m such a stubborn, hard headed person, with huge walls to climb… that I even try to make God climb them. Ridiculous, I know. Luckily I have people in my life that can put me in my place when I’m being retarded… or challenged. I’m sure that’s what Sarah would tell me was the politically correct way to say that. I’m also not allowed to say that’s “gay” anymore. Apparently that is not politically correct either. Anyways, inside joke and way off topic… again.

Sometimes I just can’t get certain things through my head. Realizing this, also made me realize that not only do I have a hard time accepting this wonderful gift, but I also have an extremely hard time extending it to others when they mess up. And if our sole purpose and way of fulfillment in this life is striving to be more like Christ, then this is something I really have to work on or I will never have the real joy of what living a life like Jesus can give me.

Grace not only causes us to be able to give to others with joyful generosity, but it enables us to receive with grateful humility… which is why James 4:6 says, “God opposed the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” The truth is that by being able to receive Grace cuts across the grain of our natural tendency to be self-sufficient and invulnerable. Being able to receive Grace allows us to look past trying to do things in the strength of our own might and power, and realizing that we are completely reliant upon someone else’s strength and support. Being in total dependence with someone else is exactly the opposite of what the norms are for our society. We are taught that to be totally dependent on someone else is weak and seen as failure. However, that is what a relationship with God looks like… and this is what he wants. He wants us to be totally dependent on him. Giving up our natural self-sufficient, prideful ways is extremely hard because unfortunately it is the natural tendencies that we all have.

This is why I am continuously amazed at Christianity and how it is the only Religion that truly explains and gives answers to the natural tendencies of the human condition. We are all the same and we are all sinners. One of the main points throughout scripture talks about loving each other.

Just read through 1 Corithians 13:4-7

Love is patient,

Love is kind.

It does not envy.

It does not boast.

It is not proud.

It is not rude

It is not self-seeking

It is not easily angered

It keeps no record of wrongs.

Love does not delight in evil, but rejoices with the truth.

It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

It almost embarrasses me to read through this. I’m not always kind, I envy, I am very self-seeking, Lord knows I am NOT patient; I have a tendency to keep record of wrongs… and so on. But this is the amazing thing about being a follower of Christ. God knows we can’t live up to these standards all the time and we ALL struggle with the same things because this is the natural tendency of each and every person whether we like to admit it or not. Luckily God is continuously faithful in his promise of forgiveness.  Even though I know everyday for the rest of my life I can be a proud, impatient, self-seeking, angry woman and by the Grace of God he will still love me and I’ll go to heaven… I don’t want to be those things. I want to strive to serve others and extend the same grace to others not because it’s always easy for me, but because ultimately my entire dependence is on God. Realizing that even though I can’t always see it and many times I think I know what the best thing is for me… ultimately he knows better than I do.

The bible wasn’t written to be a rule book, it was written to make us all realize that if we all went off total reliance on what we think and what we want out of life, we would be wandering around aimlessly being pretty crappy people to each other. The bible is written in for our benefit and helps us to live a life with meaning and purpose. God doesn’t say; don’t commit adultery because he doesn’t want us to have fun. He says don’t commit adultery because it hurts and tears families apart. God doesn’t say don’t have sex before marriage because I don’t want you to have pleasure. He says not to have sex before marriage because you run the risk of knocking some woman up and ruining some poor kid’s life because you weren’t ready to be a mother or father. Or maybe because he doesn’t want us all running around with Herpes? Just maybe what is found in the bible is beneficial to our happiness?

I’m not saying it’s easy for me to follow everything in the bible, and trust me I don’t always. I’m not saying I’m always the best example of what a follower of Christ looks like, because I’m not. All I’m saying is we can all work on extending a little Grace and understanding to others solely because of the fact that God extends it to us no matter how undeserving each and everyone of us are of it. I’m so tired of the legalistic Christian trying to hold others “accountable.” It really counteracts showing others what the true message of the Gospel is.

Matthew 7:1-5

Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.

“Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.

*disclaimer: I was not making fun of mentally retarded people and I love Gay people! :)