And now that the provocative title has you here, let me explain- Gods grace: is beautiful and perfect. Our grace: is a cheap knock off of the original. And until we take on and ingest the true article, we cant know the all consuming, life changing, beautiful design of God's perfect gift.... So, how do we find this grace when so many counterfeit graces exist?
Well let's start where we all must.. Realizing our darkness.
Until we realize how dark our shadows really are, until we realize how broken and disgustingly-destructive our rebellion and sin really is, we can never know to the full extent the beauty of the a saving and loving grace that Jesus offers us so freely.
So often instead of staring our darkness in the face and calling it what it is- we justify, explain, and excuse ours and others sin. Saying "there's room for this or that" "it's not that bad" "it's just what culture does, it's okay". Then when we are confronted with our sin, we say "grace is all I need" wipe our hands and carry on business as usual... But in doing this, we are not actually living in the grace we claim we are. Instead in doing this, we abuse, contaminate, and make light of the gift if grace that was given to us-not to excuse our bad behavior but instead empower us to change!
Jesus came and died to bring a new Kingdom to earth, a kingdom that is here to redeem, remake. But also a kingdom that is here to destroy the painful, destructive power of sin and the brokenness we've allowed it to have over us. I think in our minds that Jesus simply came to say -
"never mind, don't worry about sin anymore, you're all good, so do whatever you want and 'grace' will totally cover like whatever"
But if you look at what he really said in his words and life was (paraphrased)
"I have come to give you a new way, a perfect way. Leave your old self behind and find who you were made to be in me, and yes I know that your not perfect and will fail, that's why I died for you, so that anytime you cannot do it, it's on me... But you still have to try and work everyday at forsaking your flesh and the destructive things that you have allowed you rule you, and move towards me and the beautiful, living Kingdom I have come to establish"
When we "get" and grasp this, and hear what Jesus was truly saying, is when we actually realize the depth of his love and the meaning if his sacrifice. When our darkness in confronted by his light. We can no longer live in the shadows cheeping his beautiful creation of grace he gave us out of love.
When Jesus kneeled down to a woman he had just saved from stoning for being caught in the act of adultery, first he told her that he had forgiven her sins and no one could accuse her... BUT then he tells her something else "go and sin NO more."
Isn't that how Jesus deals with us though? He kneels down with love and gentleness next to us as we lay in the ruin of our mistakes, then he forgives us extending his beautiful and amazing "grace"... So often we think this is where the story ends, this is all that needs to happen, Jesus forgives us and that's it... But wait that's not where the story ends. Jesus then helped the woman up and said "Go... And sin NO more". What!? Did you see that? Jesus doesn't just leave us there on the ground, with forgiveness only. Instead, through His strength, He lifts us to our feet and gives us a command- First to "Go", to do something, to make an action and begin to change. Then to "Sin no more", to leave the old behind and to STOP the things that brought us to the ground in the first place. Jesus doesn't just forgive us, He does one better, He sets us on a new path and invites us to leave behind our dark and begin walking into his light... So we see that grace isn't the allowance of our sin and acceptance of staying on the ground, but instead it is the empowerment to even through our mistakes continue walking on towards the Kingdom Jesus has invited us into.
God says "I am Love" Jesus says "if you love me obey me" and "I am the way the truth and the life". Let these remind you that grace is not an acceptance of your darkness but an empowerment I walk towards light.