“We might not say we believe a Jesus-plus-our-efforts idea of the gospel, but when we place our performances on the pedestal of personal progress, we’re not relying on the grace of God. We’re worshiping the gospel of self-reliance… We say we trust that Jesus is enough, but we spend our lives trying to prove that we are instead. Finding the gospel old news and antiquated, we end up substituting self-help and formulas for our true means for change—the grace of God.” - Ruth Chou Simons, When Strivings Cease
You may have noticed that the entire GraceLaced team has been intensely focused on the idea of grace in the last month or so…here’s your warning that we likely will be for the next several months, too! As we’ve read Ruth’s newest book (releasing on October 12, 2021), we’ve found ourselves wrestling with all kinds of truth about grace… like the reality that we’re far too complacent with a default attitude of self-reliance.
It’s way too easy to think we can “fix ourselves up” or “make ourselves better” through any combination of our own efforts… getting up earlier, spending more time in prayer, cleaning the house more frequently, reading the Word at the same time every day, volunteering more…instead of embracing the gift of grace. While none of those things are bad in and of themselves, none of them have the power to transform our hearts the way the grace of God can.
It’s only because of grace that we have any hope for true and lasting change or growth. It’s humbling to admit, but we bring nothing to the table… we’re entirely dependent on the grace of God on display in the birth, life, death, and resurrection of Jesus.
“For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.” Ephesians 2:8-9
The good news? When we have grace, we have everything we need.
Here are some examples of how a few members of the GraceLaced team are rehearsing the benefits of grace in our current seasons:
We have to rehearse these truths over and over, and we’re betting we’re not the only ones. For that reason, we designed the 2022 GraceLaced Calendar around this very theme: “Because of Grace.” Featuring original art by Ruth, each month of the year highlights a different verse about grace—a daily reminder that our own efforts always fall short, but that God’s grace never will.
Father, Thank You for the grace you offer us in Jesus! May we receive it and let it transform us like nothing else—especially our own efforts—can. Help us to hide the truths of Your Word about grace in our hearts and rehearse them often. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
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