“Your pre-approved offer is included. Limited time offer, no annual fee (or any other fees ever). Life-time guarantee. Recommend to all your friends!” When these offers come in the mail, they go straight to the trash. But sometimes this chance can come in more meaningful ways. We look for it in relationships…but they never turn out to come without hidden fees.
But there is one offer that is more like coming to the college/marriage crossroads on a Life board game: it changes everything that comes after it. God offers to give us grace, and transform our lives. It is not an offer that we earn eligibility for like Girl Scout badges in Bible reading or frequent flyer miles at church. This offer comes when we are most disgusting, least attractive, digging ourselves deeper into sin trouble. And Jesus handed us a different identity card (Ephesians 2). It’s not just a fast-pass onto a “nice” list. It is the start of a relationship with God who loves us more than we will ever understand (John 3:16).
Grace is not easy though. It has to fight all the sin we have stashed in dark, comfy corners of our life. And we do not want to give it up. But Grace abounds more (Romans 5). And Jesus will help us change loyalties from working for sin to working for God (Romans 6). We all have gifts and abilities that can be used for powerful good, and He wants to help us harness those.
The tricky thing is to remember that no matter how much we do, it would never be enough to earn the grace. It is a response, in love, to what God has already started. We tend to believe that God’s love is like a thermometer, and we can make Him view us more warmly by doing things for Him. But if the desire and the motivation come from us, they usually tend to burn out as selfish desires (Titus 2). And He in grace always picks us back up, helps us reorient our focus, and begin walking again.
God, thank You for Your grace. We sing about it and talk about it, but I am only slowly beginning to realize how far You went to begin a relationship with us, and how far You will go with us on this journey in Your kingdom. My tendency is to be self-focused, even in good works. Please help me to recognize the gifts are from You and rely on You for strength to keep going. You are a loving Father. Thank You, God. Amen.