“Amazing grace, how sweet the sound, that saved a wretch like me. I once was lost, but now am found; was blind, but now I see.”
These opening lines to this beautiful, and arguably the most recognizable Christian hymn, touch me every single time we sing them. God’s grace, His unmerited favor, His crazy love for me, is so amazing, so terrifying, that you can’t help but wonder why. Why does God love me so much? Why did God chose to fix what I had broken, to repair the relationship with Him that I didn’t even know I wanted?
We looked at God’s grace for us in yesterday’s Worship Service. We also saw that God calls us to imitate Him- to show the same grace and love to every creature on earth, just as God has shown that grace and love for us.
We could, honestly, spend an entire year just talking about grace, studying the different nuances and understandings and workings of it, and not even scratch the surface. But there is one aspect of grace that I didn’t touch on yesterday that needs to be explored further: what it looks like to give ourselves some grace.
There are days I get up and look in the mirror, and think, “What a horrible, wretched person I am.” I see the bruises, the stains, the scars of my life choices and I am disgusted.
Then there are other days I get up and look in the mirror, and see a child of God saved by grace, who’s been forgiven for all the junk that she’s done. All those things that have scarred and bruised me are still there, but they’re less visible when I see myself as God does. Psalms 147:11 tells us that “The Lord delights in those…who put their hope in His unfailing love.”
Those mornings I get up and see myself as a wretched human being are hard, are tough. I forget that God’s grace is enough for me. I forget that I am called to be as gracious to myself as I am called to be to others. It’s easy sometimes to show grace to others. Easy sometimes too to accept that God has grace for us. But one of the hardest things, for me at least, is to have grace with myself. To look at myself and say, “If God thinks I am good enough, why can’t I? If God thinks I am deserving of love, why can’t I see myself that way?”
In God’s eyes, I am a beautifully forgiven and redeemed child of God. Hebrews 8:12 tell us, “I will be merciful toward their iniquities, and I will remember their sins no more.” If God is merciful towards me, why can’t I be, too?
I want to challenge you this week. When you get up and look in the mirror, and you’re tempted to see only a wretched soul, to see all the horribleness of who you are, say to yourself instead, “I am a child of God. He has poured His unmerited favor upon me. God’s grace is enough for me.” And keep doing it. Keep living that truth. Give yourself a little grace and you’ll be amazed at how sweet grace really is!
Sermon Notes for “Foundation: Grace” from Jan 12, 2014
Grace is defined as:
- God’s unmerited favor
- It is a kindness from God that we don’t deserve and could never earn
- God’s crazy love for us!
Why do we need grace?
- 1 Corinthians 5:21
- Romans 3:23-25a
What does grace do?
- Romans 5:1-2
o Makes us right with God
o Gives us peace with God
o Brings us into God’s continuing grace
o Gives us confidence and joy
What else can we learn about grace?
- Salvation comes from God when we believe
- It is a gift
- It cannot be earned
Important words to understand about grace:
o God works in our lives before we even know Him to show us our need for Him
o Our response to God’s grace and forgiveness as we turn from our sins and turn to God
- Justifying Grace
o God, through Jesus’ work on the cross, makes us righteous- right with Him
o God’s grace works in us to change our nature
- Sanctifying Grace
o God continues to change our actions, thoughts, and desires to be more holy and like Christ
Sounds good…but there’s one more thing:
- Ephesians 5:1
o We are to be imitators of God
o We are to show the same grace to others that God continually shows to us
Cori Cypret is the pastor of The United Methodist Church of Coopersville.