Monday, October 13, 2014

Is Grace Enough?

God's grace is what keeps the world going 'round, let's be honest.  The Bible tells us He's waiting to return for as long as possible, so that more people have the chance to receive his grace through Jesus. He's waiting for those who are still lost.  His waiting is showing love and mercy to those who haven't done anything to earn it.  His waiting is an act of grace.  The depths of his grace are unfathomable.

For those of us who have found Christ, He gives grace in abundance, as well.  He's there to love us no matter what and his forgiveness is always there, if we ask for it.

But does that grace have a limit?

Romans 6:1-2
Well then, should we keep on sinning so that God can show us more and more of his wonderful grace? Of course not! Since we have died to sin, how can we continue to live in it?

Part of becoming and being a Christian is dealing with the sin in our lives.  God is gracious to forgive when we ask, but it shouldn't be an habitual, ask-for-forgiveness-for-the-same-thing-every-night-because-it-makes-me-feel-better kinda deal.  Dealing with sin isn't just about confessing it and asking God's forgiveness, it's about making every effort to change.  Don't think you can fool God when you ask for his forgiveness with no intentions of trying to change.  He knows what's in your heart. Grace is something we don't deserve, but I don't ever want to be accused of trying to take advantage of it so that I can continue to let the sins that I struggle with control me.  

Last night, my family (yes, all five of us!) was blessed to get to go to a concert featuring Crowder, Capital Kings, and Ellie Holcomb.  Great, great music. Extraordinary beards

I hadn't been planning to attend or take the kids, so it was a nice surprise.  The concert was phenomenal, as I knew it would be. Ellie Holcomb shared some great songs full of scripture and wisdom.  As she was talking between songs, though, she said something along the lines of, "I'm a chronic worrier.  Yes, I disobey the Lord on a daily basis."  I appreciated her honesty and candor about it.  We worry all the time, even though we know we're not supposed to.  

I said it very clearly in a text to a friend today.  I was talking about my worries, especially the upcoming surgery for my husband next week and said, "There's a lot going on.  I know God's in control, but that doesn't mean that His plans are the same as mine.  His are always better in the long run...."  It's not that God's not in control that worries me.  My worries are more that God's plans might not be exactly what I think they should be.  

I can see very plainly that God's plans are always better than what my mind imagines, but it's always easier to see in hindsight.  As a challenge to all you chronic, God-disobeying worriers (sounds bad, doesn't it?), let's examine some of the lyrics of a well-known hymn:

from Count Your Blessings

Verse 1

When upon life's billows
You are tempest tossed
When you are discouraged
Thinking all is lost
Count your many blessings
Name them one by one
And it will surprise you
What the Lord hath done

Chorus 1

Count your blessings
Name them one by one
Count your blessings
See what God hath done
Count your blessings
Name them one by one
Count your many blessings
See what God hath done
Challenge:  Count your many blessings, see what God has done.  If you want some kind of reassurance of God's hand in your life, the best way to see it is by examining your life.  Seriously, think about it.  
Three of my biggest blessings are my children. Doctors told me it would probably be very difficult to get pregnant because of issues I have with my thyroid, so I spent a lot of time worrying about whether or not I'd be able to have any kids.  God has blessed us with three--one of which was a huge surprise and the other two weren't difficult to conceive.  It was a worry that now seems ridiculous.  
Last year, I was pregnant and we were in the middle of buying and selling houses.  We knew very clearly God told us to buy the house we were trying to buy, but as complication after complication arose, I worried and feared that we were going to end up without a place to live, in the middle of the winter, as I was nearing the end of my third pregnancy.  The timing wasn't what I wanted, but God pulled it all of in only a way that He could.  
If you're a prayer journal-er, flip back through it and look at the ways God has answered your prayers.  A lot of the things you were praying about that seemed like huge issues then, God answered and you now can look at it and think about how small and insignificant the issues seem.  
I know I sometimes rely on God's grace too much to forgive me for my worrying.  It's easy to make excuses and ignore the fact that it's a sin.  I am trying, though, through exercises like this, through people who help try to keep me accountable and through immersing myself more fully into the Word of God.  I don't ever want to let my heart think it can fool God.  I can't tell you the limitations of God's grace, but this is what I know:  Sin is sin, and I'm accountable for it.  I am very thankful for God's grace and forgiveness.  
Galatians 6:17 tells us our sinful nature is always battling with the Holy Spirit and that our "choices are never free from this conflict." It may always be a battle I face, but God is bigger than any of my problems.  I know it's not always easy--I'm preaching to the choir here--but, to quote another beloved hymn:
Turn your eyes upon Jesus
Look full in His wonderful face
And the things of earth
Will grow strangely dim
In the light of His glory and grace
Romans 6:1-2
Well then, should we keep on sinning so that God can show us more and more of his wonderful grace? Of course not! Since we have died to sin, how can we continue to live in it?

God, thank you that your grace is enough for even me at my worst.  Please show me the times when I rely too fully on Your grace and not enough on the Holy Spirit to help me in my battles.  


As part of a 31 Day blogging challenge, I will be posting every day in October.  The link on the left will get you to the home page for this series, where you can find all the posts written so far. Don't forget you can Subscribe to get posts sent to you by email. (There is a simple form towards the top on the right where you can do this.)  Thanks for reading!

Feel free to comment with your own thoughts and questions!


  1. are my person. After crying on my way home from work today, I looked at the sign hanging from my back door and thought, "Emily, that's what you need to do instead of crying about what you DON'T have." The sign on the back door says "Count Your Blessings". Apparently that is God's message for me today. I'm glad He's using you (in addition to my back door) to put my thoughts on a different path.

    1. Does that make me Mer or Cristina?? :) So glad that I could encourage you today--especially since you were a big encouragement to me, too! I'm learning a lot through writing all of this and connecting with the Lord in new ways, so I'm glad that it's useful to you. God is pretty cool like that!