Today is the first post in my series, Grace Under Pressure. I hope you are as excited as I am to hear what Esther Noe has to say, so here she is talking about: Living Grace.
Grace is such a beautiful word! It just flows perfectly, sounds lovely, and is fun to say too! However, it’s become so common that it’s biblical meaning tends to get lost. Grace isn’t just forgiving someone. It isn’t offering mercy. And grace is definitely not avoiding justice. Grace is the freely given, unmerited favor and overwhelming love of our Father in Heaven. In His perfect grace, God not only forgave us of our sin but had His Son take the punishment. God doesn’t just welcome us back when we return from our sinful ways but celebrates our return.
Ephesians 2:8-9 says, For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. (NKJV) We have been saved through grace! It was nothing we did. We couldn’t do enough to save ourselves if we tried. We were guilty! We deserved punishment for our sin, and Jesus, in His grace, stood in front of us and took it! We have been saved by grace.
What Christ has done for us just makes me want to cry! My heart is overwhelmed with the love of God. However, after a time that response can fade. We forget. Our guilt and shame return along with the rejection and hurt of our past. We can’t escape it, and it weighs us down like nothing else.
Why though? Why can’t we escape the past, the guilt, and the shame? If we have been forgiven and set free, why are we now enchained by past sins? My friends, there is a gap between being saved by grace and living grace. A gap that only God can fill, but one we all must come to recognize.
I love the way John Ortberg put it in his book, The Me I Want to Be. He says, “God’s plan is not just for us to be saved by grace—it is for us to live by grace. God’s plan is for my daily life to be given, guarded, and energized by the grace of God. To live in grace is to flow in the Spirit.”
Wow! When I first found that quote, I had to reread it several times to fully grasp it. Let’s take some time to unpack it together. We just talked about how we are saved by grace, but what does it mean to live by grace? I believe this means to truly leave our guilt, shame, and regret at the cross and to live unburdened and unashamed for the glory of God.
I don’t know about you, but I have a lot of baggage from my past. It weighs me down, and it clouds my thinking. More than anything else though, it hurts. When this pain of the past is upon me, I’m not myself. In fact, I can’t be myself! I cannot be who God created me to be when I’m carrying a weight that I was never intended to bear. Neither can you. We must lay our burdens down as 2 Peter 5:7 says, casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you. (NKJV) Only then can we live grace.
When we lay our burdens down, we are free to focus on God and what He has for us. We can pursue our callings without the panging questions of whether we’re doing it right or can succeed. We can interact with others with the love of Jesus flowing through our speech. We can worship with a reckless abandonment for God, whether that means jumping, dancing, raising our hands, or crying out to God. We can freely obey God without worrying about what other people will think of us. Why? Because when we do, we are flowing with the Spirit. Like the previous quote said, “To live in grace is to flow in the Spirit.”
This is where the gap is filled. The gap between guilt and grace. The gap between who we are and who we are in Christ. When we live in grace, our perspectives in life are changed. We’re able to have a joyful and peaceful outlook on life because we’re filled with the Holy Spirit. Our past can have no hold on us because our eyes are fixed on the One who saved us. When we live in grace, guilt becomes freedom, rejection becomes redemption, and hurt becomes hope. Where there once was shame, we can now move forward unashamed.
Living grace isn’t always easy. The enemy will do everything possible to break us down, to return us to that place of guilt, shame, and rejection. However, grace gives us the assurance that we never ever have to go back there. God’s grace has the ability to empower us to be who God created us to be. God’s grace is sufficient yesterday, today, and forever. My friends, today let’s choose to live grace.
The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit. Amen. ~ Philemon 25, NKJV
All is Grace,
About the Author
Esther Noe is a fun-loving young adult from Minnesota. She has been writing since she was eight years old, though her stories started long before that. Being part of a family of eight kids has given Esther the opportunity to learn a lot about different personality types. You may even find her siblings or parents sneaking into her characters. When not writing, Esther enjoys reading, listening to music, playing the guitar, crafts, baking, participating in Bible studies, and spending time with family and friends. She is also a ballet instructor for a local homeschool organization and loves to worship God through dance.