Living On Grace
James 4:10 Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up.
Last night I looked back at yesterday’s entry and I realized that I am not ready to move on from it yet. I wrote yesterday of mourning my destructive behavior but I barely mentioned the eventual outcome of that mourning. A half-truth can be as destructive as a lie, so I need to finish.
It is appropriate to be saddened by our failure and to weep for the pain we have caused. James, however, in verse ten reveals the inevitable outcome of our repentance. It is through our sadness and humility before God that He restores us to joy. It is only after we appropriately mourn and repent from sin that God can and will lift us up.
When I fail and am in the discomfort of that failure, I want the immediate gratification of God’s peace and the joy of his grace. It is however, a trick of the brain, I think, to forgive myself prematurely. James says it is a necessary step to grieve our destruction before we can enjoy the peace of God’s grace.
I often see God as an angry judge or a loving father. When I see others fail, I kind of hope that angry judge God shows up. When I fail, I want to run to loving father God. God however, is both just and loving. He is truth and mercy. When I fail, it is painful to him and it should be painful to me.
God does not keep me in a state of mourning forever though. When we are truly sorry for our sin and when we truly repent, He always forgives and He always lifts us up into his grace, peace and love. Like the father who disciplines his child, only to give a hug after, God embraces us when we humble ourselves before him.
So, this is where I live. I live in God’s grace. I am not in a perpetual state of guilt and shame. I still of course have failures and I still have painful reminders of the past but when I remain humble before God and I pursue him daily, I enjoy the peace and grace in which I was intended to live.
If we have faith in God, we have this assurance that we are eternally saved and forever forgiven. We do not lose our salvation when we fail. Our destructive behavior however, can and should cause us a tangible discomfort. Our repentance and humility before God however, allows us to live in the love, mercy and grace that He intends for us. We all live on grace.