Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Devotionals for the Heart: God's Grace


Grasping Grace

A devotional by Carrie Del Pizzo

“But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” ~Romans 5:8 (NASB)

Grace is a tricky subject. We get the gist of it: We sinned, Jesus died, we’re saved. But do we really understand? I confess that this is one I sometimes struggle with.

I’m told grace is the unmerited, unearned favor of God. The unmerited part seems pretty obvious. I know I’m a sinner. I hear it in my voice when I yell at my kids. I hear it in my mind when I think critical cutting thoughts about someone I don’t like. I feel it in my heart when God tells me to reach out to someone and I stop to debate whether or not I will obey.

The unearned bit is also pretty clear cut. Oh, sure, I’m a decent enough human being, but nothing earth-shattering. I like talking to kids, but I’m no Sunday school teacher. There’s always room for a friend at my table, but I’m not volunteering my weekends to serve meals at the homeless shelter. And I like sharing with you all a few words God has laid on my heart, but I’m not getting my theology degree or seeking ordination to become a great Bible teacher.

But then we come to the mic drop: favor of God.

Merriam-Webster.com says favor means “to show partiality toward,” and gives synonyms of prefer, handpick, adore, cherish.

What? Why?

Let’s think this through. We’re talking about the great big GOD of the whole wide universe. Creator of Heaven and Earth. King of kings, Lord of lords, the Big Kahuna. He knows what I’m like in public and private. He knows where I am and where I’d rather be. He knows what I say out loud and what I’m really thinking. So, if He knows the truth about me, why would he prefer me, handpick me, adore me, cherish me?

Love. The Bible book of Romans tells us that, “God demonstrates His own love toward us …”

This is the time I start thinking that serving friends dinner and writing this little devotional are getting me farther than I thought. I must be doing ok. I’m working pretty hard, trying to be a good person, doing everything I can to be good enough for God, and then His grace fills in the gaps. Right?

Let’s look at the rest of that verse. “… in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” That’s right, Jesus paid the highest price, gave up His throne, gave up His dignity, gave up His life, long before I ever got around to thinking up ways to try to impress Him (as though that were possible). Because my selfishness and dirtiness separated me from God, and because He couldn’t live without me, He died. And in that horrible, gruesome, painful, selfless act, He showed me favor that I could never begin to earn or merit. He made a way for me to be with Him again.

Ok, are you ready for the really great news? He did it for you, too.

Oh, yes, He did. Don’t shake your head at me. I know you’re thinking you’ve made too many mistakes, you’ve blown too many chances, you’ve gotten too dirty.

Or maybe you’ve been trying to impress God. Trying work really hard for Him. Trying to get really clean for Him. Trying to make yourself good enough for Him.

All of that is irrelevant because it’s already done. He already died for you. He already made you clean. He already opened the door for you to be with Him. Because He already loves you.

Did you catch that? Should I say it again?

He already loves you.

You may ask, “What about obedience and service?” Yeah, those are a portion of Christian life, but we’ll get to those later. Today we’re talking about GRACE, something that happened a long time ago.

So, sit back and rest in it for a while. You and I don’t deserve. We didn’t earn it. But God freely gave it to us anyway … because He loves us. Go figure.

~*~
Author Bio:
In this world of texts, memes, and emojis, slowing down to truly communicate can feel like straining a muscle you haven’t exercised in far too long.

Seventeen years of business experience across a variety of industries has taught Carrie Del Pizzo the fine art of professional communications. Partnering with corporate executives and entry-level employees alike, she has written and edited major project proposals, direct marketing pieces, sensitive client communications, employee handbooks, and user manuals.

Carrie’s love of literature and story has led her to develop and exercise her fiction writing skills as well. Aside from her personal creative efforts, she also edits for self- and traditionally-published authors and enjoys writing short dramas for church presentation.

Carrie is a wife, mom of three Americans and host-mom to numerous exchange students. Italian-by-marriage means she loves to cook and eat. She lives in Spokane, WA, with her hilarious family, who keeps her in stitches and provides piles of material for great stories.

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