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Grace: not just forgiveness
The first you thing you need to understand is grace is not just forgiveness. It is way more. We will briefly cover 3 short subjects expanding grace: free will, presence, and dignity.
These 3 subjects bleed out of forgiveness and they all center around a singular idea: grace is for us. Grace is not necessarily for others. Grace is not for the people who don’t want it. Grace is not useful, present, or prevalent for those who don’t want it. It is not for those who don’t need it. Grace is not for the arrogant or proud. It is for the humble, the meek, and the willing.
Grace is not something we can earn, but it is something we can choose. Choosing grace is a simple decision, but abiding in grace is anything but easy. Abiding in grace isn’t meant to be easy. If it were, then it wouldn’t be meaningful or nearly as much fun. We, who choose to abide in grace, a Gracer, must continually choose to live in it. It isn’t something that happens one-time and then you are forever ok. Grace is something you get to grow in because you get to choose it.We, who choose to abide in grace, a Gracer, must continually choose to live in it. #Gracer Click To Tweet
So, what does growing in grace mean for us? Grace is an active position. Passive grace is not grace, its forgiveness.
Consider it this way.
Does forgiveness make you equal to the person who forgave you? Perhaps were the forgiver exceedingly generous, but in reality, we always feel a debt to them. We will always feel that we owe them until they need our forgiveness. Then we might be equals or better yet, they would be in our debt. You see forgiveness continues a cycle of a power struggle. Who is the highest in the pecking order? Who needs the least forgiveness, and who needs the least amount of cleaning?
The passive power struggle limits our choices. It limits our free will. Our debts can be or will be called one day. We will be obligated to serve those who have forgiven us. That’s just not the way God works because God is very intentional about the idea of free will.
What is God’s goal?
God’s upkeep of free will places us into a tension. We know we are forgiven freely by grace, but we also know God wants us to choose God continually. He allows us to be tempted, so we know we always have the choice of leaving. We might fail and thus need forgiveness again. The tension, again, remains unresolved because we have need of forgiveness, and we know another choice will need to be made. The tension exists because we do not understand the purpose of the forgiveness aspect.
The point of forgiveness is not God wanting to hold something over us. God does not need favors. God created everything, and God can snuff it out just like blowing out candles. Forgiveness enables God to come into our presence. Grace invites God to grace us with His presence. God must forgive us first to level the playing field, so God can be near us. God just actually respects us enough to continually ask if we want God around. He gives us the free will to determine how much God we want.Forgiveness enables God to come into our presence. Grace invites God to grace us with His presence. #Gracer Click To Tweet
Grace as a verb
So the goal of grace is not a noun like we usually think of it. It is a verb. Grace is not something done to you. It is something for you. Grace is for us, so we can then pass it on if somebody else wants to receive grace. Gracers, like me and maybe you, have to continually choose God just like we choose to go to work, go home, or eat. We need God to grace us each and every day.
When we grow in grace, we pass grace on to others. Then there are more Gracers. When we gather, more of God comes to us. That’s Christianity
Think about your family. I love my family, but I am a huge introvert. It would be awesome sometimes to get some time away from them. You know what else is awesome when I can’t get time away from them. I don’t always know what I want or what I need, but I do want my family around. I want to be present with them. You know what? God is better than I am because God wants to be with us, grace us with His presence all the time. God wants to be with us so much, he sent Jesus came here to live and die and live some more. One of Jesus’s titles is Immanuel or God with us. God views us like family.One of Jesus’s titles is Immanuel or God with us. God views us like family. #Gracer #family #God Click To Tweet
One of the cool things about family is they make you a better you. A family can lift you up and support you in ways no one else can. They can cook, clean, and house you. They comfort you when your grieving and rejoice when you accomplish things, and eventually they become a part of you. As you grow with them then you become more and more. You don’t lose your identity, but rather own a stronger sense of the best parts of your identity.
Relationships matter more to us than almost anything else. In fact, a recent study correlated the one factor around longevity, happiness, and fullness of life, regardless of economic upbringing or ending, was at least one incredibly strong relationship. More relationships improved health and well-being further. Intelligence, lifestyle habits, and economic success didn’t move the needle very much at all in any of the factors that matter in life according to study participants.
God joins in
God just wants to join in on the fun of presence. When we get more of God things tend to go better for us just like when we have a strong family. This occurs because God is for us. God is for the Gracers. To be clear, God is for everyone, but the Gracers are special people. The people God gets to hang out with a lot. Think about how much better it will be for the Gracers because they choose to invite God.
When God joins in, things get fun exciting and more full. When I say full, I don’t mean busy. I don’t mean exhausting. I mean the perfectly balanced day where you spent your time and energy well and then you fall asleep just as your head hits the pillow in satisfaction. Those are the best days where you had energy all day, and then just as you are too tired to go on there is your bed. Those are days where God is present. That was why Jesus came. To give us
Of course, they aren’t all perfect. Perfection isn’t something we
Grace begins at forgiveness but goes beyond just forgiving us. It respects our continued free will. God doesn’t hold things against us to later use to force us into God’s service. Rather grace acts as an invitation. For those who accept the invitation, Gracers, we join a community of grace. The community is a place of continued free will and purpose, bring more grace to ourselves and others. With the idea of free will in mind, the opportunity of grace is not simply forgiveness rather it is presence. It is abiding in the presence of God. Staying in God’s presence is not meant to be a solely transcendent experience but rather an immanent idea, like a family. We are meant to co-heirs with Jesus (adopted children). The ideas of free will and presence point us beyond a simple thank you and move us into something deeper, something more dignified.
Grace is about dignity. It sure is a confusing way to do it and the language is fraught with nuance, but if you can sift through the texts, writings, and research, you can learn how God wants to treat us, n
Family presence is so awesome because you get to be the best you. Not the you that does the things they don’t want to do and can’t do the things they want to do, but the one who is uniquely satisfied with your role. It might be considered work by some, but for
What about you?
Maybe being a Gracer doesn’t sound great to you. Maybe you don’t want to spend your time with God. That’s fine. Grace is an open invitation, but it may just not be for you. You have to claim it. You have to choose it over and over, and if you’re like me fail to make the right choice, a lot. Maybe you aren’t a full-on Gracer, but you are interested. Well, I invite you to check it out. You don’t have to have all the answers. You don’t have to be perfect, but you do have to follow Jesus. That’s it. To be a Gracer you have to follow Jesus. Be a disciple.
The interesting thing is how Jesus’s main guys didn’t get it all until after Jesus had resurrected and returned to heaven. They didn’t get it until the Holy Spirit came down. They spent every minute of Jesus’s 3-year ministry following Him. The disciples still didn’t understand it all and you don’t either. Start following today. Check it out. Start bumbling behind Jesus just like the rest of us Gracers. We need you. So, if you need some help let me know. You can find my email below. Feel free to message me on social media too, if it’s more convenient.