Monday, March 2, 2015

Extravagant Grace

The last few years, I haven't given something up for Lent because I was already going through a lot. This year, I need to get out of my comfort zone myself. To remove the crutches and look to God to fill that void instead. To find energy, peace, and comfort in the Creator and not the created.

So, for the first time in a long, long time, I gave something up for Lent. Like truly gave it up. And I've been "good" about it. Except, well, I'm finding that I can follow the letter of the law but not the spirit of it. I don't know why I'm surprised.

I'm reading Extravagant Grace with some friends and this page stood out to me today (emphasis mine):

...When the Disney message is loudly proclaimed from the pulpits of well-meaning, Bible-believing churches, it is devastating to God's people. It tells us that if we just have enough faith, we can do or be anything we want to. We may not succumb to the crassest form of this belief that infects many churches, the form that teaches that our faith can make us healthy and wealthy. Yet we often buy into a more subtle form of the same malady. We really believe that if we have enough faith and try really, really hard that we can stop sinning and be just like Jesus. We are taught that it is within our power to allow or inhibit God's work of sanctification in our lives, so that our progress in personal holiness is up to us. If we try harder and cooperate with God, we can succeed and achieve virtual perfection, becoming spiritual princes and princesses. If we choose not to be fully committed to God, however, he is powerless to change us and can't possibly bless us as he longs to do.

That view ascribes fast too much power to people who are actually very weak and fully of sin. God planned it this way, remember? He could have made us strong or even perfect the moment he saved each of us, but he didn't. Instead he sent his Spirit to take up residence in people who are still bound to sinful flesh and full of remaining sin. As God calls us to obedience, he remembers that we are only dust, but we keep forgetting. We think that with a wish, a sprinkle of fairy dust, a great quiet time, and some prayer, we can all be spiritual heroes and do great things for God. We couldn't be more wrong, and as a result, we are devastated when reality crashes into fantasy day after grueling day.

I love, love, love this reminder.

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