A man can no more take in a supply of grace for the future than he can eat enough today to last him for the next 6 months, nor can he inhale sufficient air into his lungs with one breath to sustain life for a week to come. We are permitted to draw upon God’s store of grace from day to day as we need it. — D. L. Moody
I have to be honest. There’s a difference between Christians who embrace grace and those that do not. Sometimes those that are not living in grace have a hard time understanding why the rest of us are always bringing everything back to grace. I take it even further than that: I think we should never have left grace in the first place! But, we do. At least, I do. And the moment that grace leaves my mind, a sneaky form of Christian legalism takes its place.
It’s so subtle. Like when I miss my “quiet time” of Bible study and prayer. In the first ten years of my ministry at Bent Tree, every single Sunday morning I had a quiet time. I didn’t miss one, because in the back of my mind I had this thought: If I don’t have my quiet time, my sermon’s gonna stink. God won’t bless my sermon if I don’t spend any time with Him. So my quiet time became my way of twisting God’s arm to make sure I didn’t lay an egg. See how that works? That’s law-thinking. The fact of the matter is God can speak through me as He sees fit, whether I’ve had a quiet time or not. (Certainly Balaam’s donkey taught us that much!)
Do I want to have uninterrupted time meditating on the Word and praying? Yeah, of course, I do. I usually experience an intimate connection with my Savior, with my King of Kings and Lord of Lords. But the moment it’s not an extension of grace I start to feel that I must have a quiet time so that He’ll bless me.
Now this is our boast. Our conscience testifies that we have conducted ourselves in the world, and especially in our relations with you, with integrity and godly sincerity. We have done so, relying not on worldly wisdom but on God’s grace. (2 Corinthians 1:12)
Worldly wisdom says X amount of performance earns X amount of blessings from God. Grace says God just wants our works to be done as an extension of a grace-based relationship. Once legalism creeps in, the relationship gets tainted and the unconditional love of God becomes a theory rather than an experience.
God of Grace, search my heart, Lord. Show me where I have made laws in my own mind, where I have constructed bargains to get Your blessings. Bring me back to pure grace where my works are nothing more than heartfelt overflow of Your Spirit’s work through me. Amen.
Listen to Pete, Jill & Stuart Briscoe on the Telling the Truth broadcast at OnePlace.com