Grace is not simply leniency when we have sinned. Grace is the enabling gift of God not to sin. Grace is power, not just pardon.
BRILLIANT in the BASICS
As I was preparing to teach my Sunday School Lessons this morning, I came across a wonderful keynote address by my friend Julie Beck. The full article is deeply moving, but one section in particular resonated with me. She was speaking to instructors who work with young adults (college age) in religious education and was essentially encouraging them to ‘walk the talk.’ I saw, however, applications for my young family and for those of us who are trying to make steps towards healthy living/fitness.
Faith. Family. Fitness. If you share my platform, consider trying to become “Brilliant in the Basics.” Below is my ‘ah-ha’ moment and Julie’s original quote.
Live so that you’re brilliant in the basics, so that you’re intentional [in a few small things]. Think in terms of precision, not perfection. Perfection is nearly impossible, precision is a committment that you can make. If you have your goals and you’re precise in how you go about, you will make progress. Then you will be able to encourage, inspire, and serve the people you love.
"Live in your home so that you’re brilliant in the basics, so that you’re intentional about your roles and responsibilities in the family. You think in terms of precision, not perfection. (Perfection is difficult to obtain in this life, but live your family life with precision.) If you have your goals and you’re precise in how you go about them in your homes, your students will learn from you. They learn that you pray, you study the scriptures together, you have family home evening together, you make a priority of mealtimes and teach your family during those times. You are constantly teaching your families the same things that you’re teaching your students. You speak respectfully of your marriage partners. Then from your example the rising generation will gain great hope and will understand—not just from the words you teach, but from the way you feel and emanate the spirit of family."
When I get honest, I admit I am a bundle of paradoxes. I believe and I doubt, I hope and get discouraged, I love and I hate, I feel bad about feeling good, I feel guilty about not feeling guilty. I am trusting and suspicious. I am honest and I still play games. To live by grace means to acknowledge my whole life story, the light side and the dark. In admitting my shadow side I learn who I am and what God’s grace means…My deepest awareness of myself is that I am deeply loved by Jesus Christ and I have done nothing to earn it or deserve it.
It’s in your moment of raw honesty that Jesus rolls up his sleeves and begins to restore you by his grace. I know that sounds like a churchy thing to say, but God totally understands your struggle. You can come to him in any condition. He loves you in your slobbery, ugly, vulnerable, flailing mess. He welcomes your doubts, frustrations, questions, and confusion. His mind is already made up about you on the cross.
It’s in your exposed humanity that God’s grace really works, and it won’t work any other way. You don’t have to hide.
I used to pray that God would feed the hungry, or do this or that, but now I pray that he will guide me to do whatever I’m supposed to do, what I can do. I used to pray for answers, but now I’m praying for strength. I used to believe that prayer changes things, but now I know that prayer changes us and we change things.
These people fail to realize that it is on the inside that God must be defended, not on the outside. They should direct their anger at themselves. For evil in the open is but evil from within that has been let out. The main battlefield for good is not the open ground of the public arena but the small clearing of each heart.
Find the things that stir your affections for Christ and saturate your life in them. Find the things that rob you of that affection and walk away from them. That’s the Christian life as easy as I can explain it for you.