In my church we’re doing a study of Timothy Keller’s book/DVD series “Gospel in Life: Grace Changes Everything”. I’ve only just started but I’m hoping that this will be a strong influence in my walk right now, as grace is a major issue in my life.
I’ve had a very hard time really believing in God’s grace. At first I wanted to say understanding God’s grace, but I rewrote that. I think I understand it fine. I don’t think that I apply it though.
I think that this is a major problem for a lot of Christians, and Keller identifies this as Christians being religious and Chrisitians being gospel to themselves and the world. I think most of us can give the nuts and bolts of what grace is, quote the appropriate verses and authors, and make it sound as if we have it completely together. Yet we understand grace but so often fail to live it and experience it.
I am having one difficulty with Keller though. Maybe it’s not as much of a difficulty as it is something just not jiving with my own experience. Keller often states that Christians tend to fall into moralism and works in order to credit their own salvation. While this certainly can be true, this doesn’t ring true to me. When I think about my own salvation and need for forgiveness, I do tend to fall sometimes on the need to make myself feel worthy of God’s grace. But when I think about why I strive for approval, try to gain acceptance and feel worthy, it doesn’t feel as much about earning my salvation to me as it is about self-worth. Perhaps my bigger issue with grace and accepting it as the free gift of God is how little I apparently cherish it. I strive so much more for the approval of others that I ignore the free gift in front of me.
I see many areas in my life where I have sought that blessing – from family, from work, from achievements, from parents and so on. And when I have that blessing it isn’t enough, because it still isn’t God’s blessing. So why chase so much after approval and the blessing of others when God’s approval and blessing have already been given?