For years I struggled with understanding God’s grace concerning my life. I could not comprehend how He could love me knowing what a terrible person I had been. If I couldn’t like myself then why would God want to love me and what use would I be? I continually sold myself short and was not capable of seeing myself as a deserving godly man. Each day seemed to bring new temptation and sin, which resulted in guilt.
Amazingly enough, during my divorce, I was struck with that “AHA” moment where everything just fell into place, and the scales fell from my eyes. It dawned on me that; I was not deserving Romans 3:9 says, “…We have already made the charge that Jews and Gentiles alike are all under sin.” Every one of us are sinners, and yet God still loves us and has a plan for us, and even more, He wants to forgive ALL of our sin (me included).
Grace is something that is God-given, it can’t be earned, bought, or taken, it is only possible through Jesus Christ.
With all my efforts to try and make things better to earn God’s love, I was only making things worse, and I felt it physically. I was miserable, and then in a blink of an eye I realized what grace meant, and I was able to let everything go – I gave it to God. During this time I was able to show compassion towards my soon to be ex, and I forgive myself for my life’s mistakes – why was I still keeping track when God wasn’t.
The freedom I experienced is beyond words. The joy I felt in the midst of turmoil was incredible, and my life turned around for the better. For years I craved this kind of relationship with God, the feeling that He loves me and that He has forgiven me. I knew from that moment that I was going to be alright, that my walk with Him was meaningful.
I came to realize that I had placed many expectations on myself and measured my Christian life by what I did, good and bad. The bad seemed to always overshadow the good. With the measuring stick I was using to gauge my godliness and deservingness, I was never able to meet my expectations (if I couldn’t meet my expectations how could I come close to Gods’?). While all along if I would have been relying on God’s grace I could have saved myself much self-condemnation and grief.
The revelation came to me upon reading the book “Why Grace Changes Everything” and answering these 5 questions:
- Will I rely on my own righteousness? Or will I trust in God’s gracious provision?
- Will I remain in the simple message of salvation by grace through faith? Or will I add my list of righteous works to the finished work of Christ?
- Will I walk in the flesh or the Spirit?
- Will I glory in the cross of Christ alone?
- Will I continue to seek the approval and rewards of this world or will I accept the grace of God and seek the Kingdom rewards?