Thursday, February 9, 2012

The Foes of Grace

Hello blog friends.  It is nice to 'see you' here!  I trust you are having a great day.  It is another beautiful Florida day and I am wresting with some hard choices... but finding refreshment in the Word, wise counsel and prayer.  I am encouraged by a new book in my Kindle app, What Happens When Women Say Yes to God, by Lysa TerKeurst.  Last weekend, when I was tossing and turning, this book really stirred my heart.  It was an e-book freebie (my hubby is great at finding those!) and I suggest you look into it even if the cost has gone up by now.  Here is a {long but good} excerpt that encouraged me yesterday, concerning enemies of Grace:

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"Grace has two fierce foes, though--acceptance and rejection.  Imagine, for a moment, a tall, gated wall.  Puddles of mud dot the well-worn, barren ground.  It is evident that many have lingered here.  Two gatekeepers wish to detain you.  They wish to take your hand in friendship and have you remain on the outside of the wall.  All the while, Jesus is standing on the other side of the wall in an open field full of beauty and adventure.  So few have actually made it past the gatekeepers into this field that the blades of grass remain unbroken and the flowers unpicked.

The first gatekeeper is Acceptance.  He requires much of me.  He seems so enticing with his offerings of compliments and big promises.  But though he is fun for a moment, soon my mind is flooded with concerns of being able to continue to impress him.  I am quickly overwhelmed with pondering my interactions with others and keeping score on the table of comparison.

The second gatekeeper is Rejection.  He also requires much of me.  He seems appealing because he gives me permission to excuse myself from following my true calling.  Yet he demands that I pull back and shy away from the obedience for which my soul longs.  His whispered questions of 'What if?' and 'What do they think of you?' linger in my mind and influence my actions and reactions.

How do I deny the lure of these two gatekeepers of grace?  After all, I've tasted their laced fruit and, though I'm aware of their poison, I also crave their sweetness.  In my flesh I desire the praises of Acceptance and the excuses of Rejection.  The limelight of Acceptance shines on the pride that has yet to be driven from my heart.  The thought that I am really something denies the reality that, but for the grace of Christ, I am nothing.  The ease of settling for less is the pull of Rejection.  When I listen to him, I shrink back and pull inside myself.  I no longer want to press on.  I want to quit.  The thought that I am really nothing eclipses the reality that, because of the grace of Christ in me, I am a treasured something.  

Jesus is standing behind these two slick gatekeepers.  His arms are open, waiting to embrace and enfold me in the security of His truth.  His truth that I am accepted, no matter what.  No matter what choices I make, His love is not based on my performance.  His love is based on His perfect surrender at the cross.  But, I must choose to accept this love and walk this truth for it to make a difference in how I journey through life. "
This is where my heart is today, as I struggle with choices that will affect not only me, but others as well.  It is hard for me to put aside pleasing others, and choose first of all to please my Master, Jesus Christ and follow through on choices my husband and I have discussed.  Reading in Matthew 25:31-40 this morning was also a challenge for my current situation as I ask myself, 'What am I doing for the least of these?'....It is in sacrifice that we find our true joy, and this means putting aside my goals for the goals of the kingdom.  Our task is to repent of our sin, accept Grace, and make choices that value the cross of Christ our King.   

May we all seek first the kingdom of God, care for the needs of others, and put our own desires second to those of Christ our Savior.  Jesus is waiting for us on the other side of the gate!

Blessings on your day,

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