Monday, June 15, 2009

That's Not Grace!!!

The other morning I heard a message by a wonderful pastor that I love and respect very much. The message was about Elijah and some of the miracles that God had performed in his life. As I was listening to the message, I began to think back on many of the messages that I heard at my former church. Many of these messages were about what I had to do in order to get God to move on my behalf. I was instructed to "Sow a seed if I had a need". We were always hearing about what we were supposed to do in order to move the hand of God. If we needed a financial miracle, we were to sow a huge financial gift into the church, if we needed a personal miracle in our lives we were to serve and serve in the church, and things like that.

In the course of this message, the pastor brought out the fact that God performed miracles and provided supernaturally for Elijah even when he was not moving in faith. God didn't look at Elijah and say, "Well if he does this then I will provide a way for him", that God moving on our behalf is not contingent on whether we tithe or not or whether we "do" something to earn it or qualify for it. That's not grace!!!

The dictionary defines grace as the freely given, unmerited favor and love of God. This grace comes to us not because of any thing we can do but because of the blood that Jesus freely and willingly chose to shed for us when He chose to make the ultimate sacrifice and gave Himself for us. Grace does not mean.... "if you do this, then I will do this"!

Since the time that I left my former church, God has done so many awesome miracles in my life and blessed me so abundantly it is almost beyond belief. Yet I did not do one thing to merit or deserve any of these miracles or blessings. I actually made it a point NOT to do anything that I had been taught I was supposed to do in order to be blessed by God because I needed to remember the God that I knew before I allowed myself to be manipulated into trying to be some kind of "faith giant" in order to receive from God. He does it because I am His, because He loves me, because I know Him and because my savior, Jesus, purchased it for me with His blood. I asked Him to forgive me for ever belittling what was purchased by His blood by thinking that I could get something from God because of what "I" could do. Thank goodness I realized that I don't have to perform my way through life, I can just look to Him and live a life more wonderful than I could have ever hoped or imagined.


GW said...

Yeah, how many times were we supposed to make sure our positive confession covered all our bases? And if you made a bad confession or God forbid, missed a tithe payment, you ran the risk of all kinds of trouble happening. If it's all up to me and my ability to “sow the right seed” or say the right thing, then there's no hope!

re-Barr said...

Awesome post, this has been one real learning point for me. My former church was the same way. Whenever I felt inadequate at my old church I tried to find a new way to serve... to get into good graces with God. Only to feel less human, less happy, less adequate.