In Christian terms, Grace is defined as "the free and unmerited favor of God, as manifested in the salvation of sinners and the bestowal of blessings."
I think we are a culture that has a really hard time with GRACE—myself included. We want to make-up rules and pretend like God’s love is conditional. After all, "free anything" (without earning it) does not seem fair; we value the ability to “earn things” in America. We earn money, we earn good grades, we earn respect, and we earn a fit body at the gym. The very act of “earning” makes us feel “more deserving,” so that we can reap the benefits of our reward with a clear conscience.
I don’t think this mindset is bad. In fact, I think that this way of thinking has noble intentions (to avoid entitlement). However, when it comes to GRACE, we have to switch gears and “accept it”—not earn it. It is so hard to wrap my head around this, but we literally can NOT earn God’s Grace. His LOVE is freely given—and there is enough LOVE and LIGHT for everyone!
Just like fire, Grace is NOT a limited resource. I am always reminded of this metaphor when we sing “Silent Night” on Christmas Eve at my church in Houston. Everyone in our church receives a candle, and my Pastor (Pastor Chris) starts with one candle, and lights the candle next to him. One by one, we share the candle-light with our neighbor, lighting their candle (and passing it down) until everyone in the church is holding a lit candle.
I think God’s Grace works the same way. While He is the original light, he is constantly offering his light to us (every single day) and it is up to us if we want to accept it, and most importantly— it is up to us if we want to pass it on. Just as God doesn’t make us earn his light, we too are supposed to share our light (freely) with others.
This metaphor of sharing candle-light was a HUGE AH-HAH moment for me, because before I understood that I could accept God’s love and pass it on (as opposed to earn his love) I was terrified of failure and struggling with perfectionism (I was too worried about the hot wax and my hairspray catching fire, to accept his light). But I now know that I don’t have to earn GRACE.
Grace is free, and because of this, we must never forget that we too are “free” . . . we are free to live a bold, beautiful, and ambitious life, and even on the days when we are messy and complicated—we are loved anyway!
Here are 3 ways to shift your thoughts on grace...
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Theology Lover + Founder of Project 88