“To live by grace means to acknowledge my whole life story, the light side and the dark. In admitting my shadow side I learn who I am and what God’s grace means.”
― Brennan Manning
Perhaps there are a few things we need to more fully grasp. There is a real and definite, ‘life of grace.’ And it’s a whole lot more than a polished niceness or an agreeable congeniality. It is Grace, and when you do connect with it, it’s like touching a bare wire. The first time— don’t be surprised if it throws across the room– figuratively speaking.
There is a special perception of grace. We must locate it and then live off its fatness. One of my favorite authors, Anne Lamott wrote,
“I do not understand the mystery of grace –” only that it meets us where we are and does not leave us where it found us.”
After just several sentences of writing this post, I simply come to this same place. I know precisely what grace is (but I can’t tell you.) I would like to, very very much. It simply is beyond a definition, and yet, I can tell you it is real. When you reach out and grab it, you suddenly realize that you have been ‘taken apart,’ and then reassembled in a changed way.
Manning talks about “acknowledging my whole life story.” There are very dark times, times when we promoted and revelled in our personal evil. I can tell you of many things in my own behavior that would curl your hair, or demand justice be done.
But the ‘light-part’ needs to be recognized. It does exist. But unquestionably I have done much more evil than good. On my knees recently, I’ve realized I have committed more sin as a believer— than I ever did in my darkness, before Christ. I was completely overwhelmed.
As I get familiar with my evil, it really schools me. It drops me into God’s classroom of grace. He tutors me, over and over. I learn of mercy, and grace, love and kindness. All which can only be decrypted by one simple word, “undeserved.” If you know that single word, heaven itself will open up like a golden sardine can.
But all of it pivots on grace. Grace was the total reason it all happened like it did.
“For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you by his poverty might become rich.” 2 Corinthians 8:9, ESV
“You are familiar with the generosity of our Master, Jesus Christ. Rich as he was, he gave it all away for us—in one stroke he became poor and we became rich.” The Message
One more thing: Sometimes we need a dramatic change in our perception of the truth. What I mean is this. When we accept Jesus as our Savior, we’re often drawn to more systematic and theological specifics. We want to read all about—
- End Times,
- the Trinity,
- the doctrine of healing/tongues,
- the proper formula to speak at baptism,
- women in ministry, and the like.
This is all well and good. We need to understand the fundamentals. Doctrine is important.
But just maybe what we really should do is think about—
We often make small things big, and big things small. We really should understand the ‘density’ of things spiritual. Let’s put our discipleship into perspective. To study something out isn’t the same as seeking God’s face, and grace.
Grace is one of those things for us; it is quite “amazing.” In it is such beauty and perfection— men could never, ever dream it up. It’s like an ocean where a child can splash, and yet it’s depths are still unfathomed and unexplored. God’s grace, in its truest sense, is eternally profound.