What is keeping you from walking in God's grace?

Tearing Down New Walls

Do you ever have a moment where you had no idea there was even a wall there?

I mean the walls we build around ourself appear to be so valuable, and needed. They offer us protection and in our heart and mind protection is a good thing, and risking the pain and hurt that comes from tearing down certain walls doesn't seem to be worth it. Or maybe we feel that cannot be what God has planned for us.

But the walls we build keep us from experiencing so many amazing things. Sometimes the wall has been placed there by other people. But most of the time the walls are there by our own doing.

We are actually having a marriage series going on at church. Yesterday as I sat through the message I knew my heart towards my husband was like stone. Of course I could have come up with a reason as to why I felt like that towards him, but in all honesty there was no particular situation where I felt I was holding a grudge.

Then I realized that my wall was built out of fear. The fear of the unknown as to what was going to happen to him and his disease, achalasia. You see my husband has a disease that can't be cured, and our attempt of managing it with surgery has failed. Then recently on our vacation my husband was having a lot of trouble keeping any food down. That was when my heart began to turn to stone out of protection.

Sometimes it may feel easier to have a heart of stone rather than loving deeply and also feeling that pain. “Through sickness and health” doesn't seem so bad until you learn what that means. It means I love my husband deeply and yet I have to watch him suffer with this disease every single day. Some days are good, and most days are not.

My new wall was towards my husband and it was put there simply because I love him so much and it hurts to seem him suffering.

But suffering he does so well. Never letting his disease stop him from loving us, caring for us, and being the husband and father God has called him to be.

The wall is down now. I feel vulnerable, but my heart is no longer made of stone, no longer filled with pride, but instead it is a heart made of flesh and filled with love, compassion, and gratitude for my husband.

Pride and Division in the Church

Sometimes pride is difficult to identify, especially in the Church. We all desire to glorify God and we know that it is our “duty” to other believers to be there for them and of course speak truth into their life.

I think as a church we take on this responsibility to convict our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ. Or maybe we truly know that their ways are simply WRONG and we feel the injustice of their behavior…I don’t think there is anything wrong with wanting to help each other grow, but if we as Christians don’t stop and have a heart check before we begin to speak then we might just be speaking in pride and causing division in the church.

I think our flesh desires so much to be right. In our eyes being right means salvation or that we are good enough. But when we bring this to our relationship with other believers it causes division.

However there is freedom in knowing the you don’t have to be right in order to be seen as righteous in the eyes of the Lord.

Out of our desire to be right, and the fact that others are wrong, we are too blind to see that maybe our words and actions result in us looking and sounding like hypocrites. Demanding religious obedience to do what is right instead of encouraging a heart to desire to follow the Lord and to be filled with the Holy Spirit.

In pride our hearts are filled with the spirit of religion. The spirit of religion says it is our responsibility to convict, judge, and even condemn the actions of our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ when they are doing something that is wrong in our eyes or even in the eyes of the Bible. It also says that in order to be a “true” Christian then you need to meet a certain standard. It begins to question the salvation of other believers based solely on what they do, believe, and how they act.

The church really needs to be filled with the Holy Spirit – the spirit of truth and grace. When the church is filled with the Holy Spirit we are then convicted gentle by the Lord and not others. The fruits are evident among our imperfect lives.

When we are filled with the Spirit we can then become the encouraging word, warm embrace, and shoulder to cry on for our fellow Christians. As the body of Christ we share scripture, not with the attitude and heart to condemn, but with the attitude of wanting to share truth and encourage each other in our walk with Christ.

It hurts my heart to see division within the church, but I also check my heart and see where I am contributing. I think the core of our walk with Jesus is to always find a away to share love, truth, grace, and mercy – to everyone, including our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ.

Embracing the Right to Be Wrong

Humility is tough. When we walk in pride we always need to be right. But when we embrace humility we are also embracing the right to choose to go ahead and just be wrong. In humility we find the freedom to quiet our mouth and we are no longer consumed with the desire to have the last word.

It’s not something that is easy to embrace, because in our heart we may know that it is right for us to want an apology, or justice in a particular situation. Pride might be covering the other persons heart, and we might be able to spot it a mile away! But when we embrace the right to be wrong we are embracing humility and grace.

God was right, He had the very authority to allow us to continue in our sin and despair. The gloom of our future was not His, but He claimed it as His. The ones who crucified Jesus on the cross were wrong…in every sense of the word, they were wrong. But Jesus embraced His right to be wrong. He chose humility instead of pride.

Next time you are in the heat of an argument embrace your right to be wrong, embrace humility and grace. The only way to break pride is through grace…

I Learned Grace

Meanwhile, the older son was in the field. When he came near the house, he heard music and dancing. So he called one of the servants and asked him what was going on. ‘Your brother has come,’ he replied, ‘and your father has killed the fattened calf because he has him back safe and sound.’ The older brother became angry and refused to go in. So his father went out and pleaded with him. But he answered his father, ‘Look! All these years I’ve been slaving for you and never disobeyed your orders. Yet you never gave me even a young goat so I could celebrate with my friends. But when this son of yours who has squandered your property with prostitutes comes home, you kill the fattened calf for him! ‘My son,’ the father said, ‘you are always with me, and everything I have is yours. But we had to celebrate and be glad, because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ Luke 15:25-32

I was hurt by someone and today it is still difficult to not feel a twinge of bitterness or hurt towards this person. Especially when I hear of the wonderful things God is doing for them.

You see I learned about grace by watching others who have hurt me, and whom I felt didn’t deserve God’s blessing, receive His blessings ten fold!

I was confused the moment it happened – “But God that’s NOT FAIR!” All blessings come from God and are to be used for His purpose. In my mind this person wasn’t good enough to receive this blessing, but through this hurt and His blessings God was teaching me about grace…

Grace isn’t fair. Humility is knowing what you deserve but receiving His grace. Pride is always wanting justice. But do we really want to receive justice? No matter what the other person did, my actions were not clean and neither was my heart. I had to ask myself if I really wanted to get what *I* deserved…

I learned grace by watching others receive what I felt they didn’t deserve. That was when I realized my own pride, and the darkness in my own heart. I want God’s grace, and I now pray for His grace in the life of those around me.

What Pride LOVES!

A prideful heart LOVES the good. A humble heart LOVES the broken, because we are also broken. - Heather Bixler