I have recently been reading a challenging and life giving book, “Emotionally Healthy Spirituality,” by Peter Scazzero. One day, while reading this book, a particular sentence jumped off the page…
“Remember grace, which reminds us there is nothing we can do or not do that would cause God to love us any more than he does right now.”
Now, I don’t know about you, but I find that to be an incredibly powerful and freeing truth. Over the years I have struggled with depression and feelings of inadequacy… that sense that I could never measure up. But, I have learned and accepted this truth...God loves me. Period. And He has chosen to do this by grace.
What does “grace” mean? In Christian belief, grace is defined as the free and unmerited favor of God. Or put more simply, God pours out on me what I don’t deserve! That is a gift, not something I can earn or increase by my actions!
In other words, I don’t have to work harder to earn God’s love!
We live in a culture that screams at us that the more we do the better we are. We are measured by our achievements and rewarded in society as such. Unfortunately, we often get caught up in this mindset with two major errors.
First, we use wanting to achieve accomplishments as our motivation to make us feel better about ourselves. We strive to achieve rather than allowing our achievements to flow from our natural passions and giftings. This always ends up in burnout. I saw this in a surgeon friend of mine. He was a very gifted surgeon in his field, but he confessed that he hated being a surgeon. He wanted to impress people and please his parents so he pushed himself to be the best surgeon he could be. Unfortunately, he did not enjoy his work and it inevitably showed in his bedside manner!
Second, we take this drive for accomplishment unknowingly into our spiritual life. When we do this we build a mindset and behavior into the false idea that if I do more for God He will love me more. Once on that slippery slope we will begin to believe that as God loves me more He will give me more. And like a hamster on a wheel we expend copious amounts of unnecessary energy striving and struggling to get more of God’s love. More of His gifts. More stuff. Stop the madness!
My friend, you are loved. We are loved! We don’t deserve it, but God’s grace is enough. I believe with all my heart when a person comes to understand God’s unmerited favor, His pouring out of what we don’t deserve, the response from the heart of man is a desire to draw closer to Almighty God.
I want to encourage you today to remember grace. God’s grace. Be still and know that He is God...the God who loves you. Slow down, enjoy His presence, and be restored!