Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Romans 12...

"Living then, as every one of you does, in pure grace, it's important that you not misinterpret yourselves as people who are bringing this goodness to God. No, God brings it all to you. The only accurate way to understand ourselves is by what God is and by what he does for us, not by what we are and what we do for him." (Romans 12:3 - Message)

I read this Scripture this evening and a couple of things jumped out at me.

1) Living in pure grace
2) Understanding ourselves by what God has done

Those two things are related. I am very self-focused. I tend to evaluate life, experiences, everything but running it through the "Mike-lens." How it affects me, my part in things, etc. If I want it to be sunny outside and it's raining, I think maybe I did something wrong. If the stock market crashes, I wonder if my sin led to that. If things are going badly, I look at myself. In other words, life is all about me.

And yet, here we read Paul's words to understand ourselves by what God is and what He has done for us. And what has He done for us? The first part of the verse alludes to that - grace. God, because of HIS great love, makes a way where there is no way; changes death to life. Grace. It's the one thing I just can't wrap my brain around (and I suspect a great many people on this planet can't). Oh I get justice, I understand fairness, I can wrap my brain around law and good works, I totally understand conditional love - but grace?

Back to the two thoughts - live in pure grace and understand myself by looking at what God has done for me.

Every once in awhile, when I slow down long enough to ponder and consider who God is and what He's done, I begin to get overwhelmed with a sense of gratitude - this tends to lead me to a place of wanting to please God. Not out of compulsion, not out of duty, not trying to keep the law or earn something, but simply because I'm overwhelmed with gratitude. At times, it moves me to tears. And this is what Paul, I believe is wanting us to grasp - how high and wide and deep and long is this love of Jesus. A love that calls, that motivates, that compels.

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