For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God – not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. --Ephesians 2:8-10

A friend and I had been studying these verses, focusing on the fact that we are saved by grace and not by works. However, God does have good works prepared for each of us. We agreed that we both have a tendency to work sometimes as if our salvation was dependent on our works. Grace is such a generous gift that sometimes it’s hard for me to wrap my mind around it. Why would someone die in my place and not expect something in return? Yet, that is exactly what Jesus did for us.

So why do we work so hard, my friend and I? Why are we so concerned about our friends and family? The main reason, we decided, was because we wanted to play a part in passing this wonderful gift on to others. Then my evening prayer helped me better understand grace and works.

I closed my eyes with a familiar prayer, “Thank you God for all You do for me, for us. Thank You for all You’ve given us.”

During the night, I woke up. Perhaps the Holy Spirit opened my eyes. I saw that all I have is because of grace.

According to the NIV Bible Dictionary, biblical writers used the term, “grace,” in a variety of ways. It can mean that which affords joy, pleasure, delight, charm, sweetness, loveliness, good will, loving-kindness, or mercy. It can refer to the kindness of a master toward a slave, and by analogy, grace signified the kindness of God to man. Grace often means kindness given to someone who doesn’t deserve it, such as the unmerited favor God bestowed on us when He provided redemption through His Son, Jesus Christ. Everything I have is because of God’s grace, not because of my works. It is undeserved. I’ve always felt gratitude for what God has given me, but have also felt a vague sense of guilt. Now I know it’s because I really don’t deserve any of it. God has given it all to me by grace. I searched the Scriptures to find a better understanding. Was there even more link between grace and works?

But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it. Ephesians 4:7

Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God's grace in its various forms. 1 Peter 4:10

And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work. 2 Corinthians 9:8

Christ has given each of us grace, all that we need, so that we can serve others and abound in every good work! All that God has given me, all that I was thanking Him for, isn’t just because of His grace, it is His grace. I am to use it to serve others and to do the work He has set before me.

Cherry Pedrick is the coauthor of The OCD Workbook Second Edtition, The Habit Change Workbook (also in Polish), The BDD Workbook (also in Polish), Helping Your Child with OCD (also in Chinese), and Loving Someone with OCD: New Harbinger Publications; Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, and Anxiety Disorders: Lerner Publications. You can visit her website at CherryPedrick.com.