When we see something is free we ask ourselves ‘What’s the catch?’ If something is too good to be true the cynic in us tells us it can’t be true. The Christian faith is all about something that sounds too good to be true. The word we use to describe this is GRACE. Grace is all the things that God does for us that we don’t deserve. Grace is the ability to experience true freedom, to be proclaimed innocent even though we are guilty. Grace gives us the ability to not be ashamed, to reject arrogance and embrace humility. Grace allows us to Rest. It sounds good to be true – find out what it’s all about.
Don't we all long to be free, truly free? How can we be free to be who we were always meant to be? This week we are beginning a series on Grace - the amazing truth that God loves us and has set us free so we can know Him, whoever we are and whatever we've done. But, there are enemies to grace along the way that we need to overcome. This week will start a journey to show us how.
Justice is getting what we deserve. Mercy is not getting what we deserve. Grace is getting what we don’t deserve. We are guilt because we all think, say and do things we know we shouldn’t think, say or do. Yet Jesus has made it possible for us to be declared not guilty, but innocent!
Fear is a part of life, we are all afraid some of the time. Most people are afraid of something that may cause pain and suffering. Most people are also afraid of what people think about them. Fear isn’t necessarily bad, it can be helpful. However, fear becomes a problem when it starts to get in the way of us living our lives. Whilst it’s not possible or practical to be fearless, with faith we can fear less.
While healthy shame is really important to us as the foundation of our conscience, when shame becomes distorted because of our bad choices or by our being ‘shamed’ by others, it is a powerful and damaging force. Jesus’ radical acceptance neutralises shame, rather than letting it to define us. Living in relationship with Him we can genuinely be “Unashamed!”
Humility means having a realistic opinion of yourself – not denying your strengths, but being honest re your weaknesses. When we understand that God has declared us to be innocent & set us free- not because we have earned it or deserve it, but because of His love and grace- then we are free to be humble.
We live in a world where we are pressured to perform and to conform. We allow ourselves to live under this pressure and we place others under the same pressure. It leaves us feeling exhausted and empty. But is there another way? Can we find the balance between work and rest? What does grace look like in this context?