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Today’s Truth

For if by one man’s offense death reigned through the one, much more those who receive abundance of grace and the gift of righteousness will rein in life through the One, Jesus Christ.

Romans 5:17

Friend to Friend

I was born to be a rule-follower. It’s in my nature. I never acted out in public as a child. It has always bothered me when people talk while the teacher (or preacher) is talking. I have memories of telling my classmates to stop running in the halls in elementary school because they weren’t supposed to. Yes, that’s me. The rule following, teacher’s pet-kind-of-gal. Right now you are probably thinking I’m trying to make myself sound like a saint. But the truth is that being this way made it very challenging for me to understand God’s grace for a very long time. As Children of God, we are called to live in freedom, and I was allowing rule following to keep me in bondage.

That is until I went to high school. I was attending the youth group at my church and I kept hearing the word “grace.” “Grace this”…”grace that”… and then I realized that I had no idea what grace meant. I understood the definition of grace, and I understood what the Bible had to say about grace. But I didn’t have a revelation of it in my own life. So I decided to approach God and ask Him to give me a revelation of what Grace really is; And He did.

I want to paint you the picture God painted for me. I want you to visualize it right where you are physically and spiritually.

I was standing on a dirt field. Everything was brown and the field went far beyond where my eyes could see. Jesus was standing next to me.

Then, I noticed a shovel on the ground next to me. I picked it up and looked at Jesus. He kindly looked at me and said, “Don’t do that.” I turned away and began to dig.

After a few moments of digging I looked at Jesus. Once again, He kindly said, “Don’t do that.” I looked back down and continued to dig. Sweat was dripping down my forehead, and dirt was what now appeared to be my clothes.

Before I knew it, I had dug myself into a hole so deep, I couldn’t get out. I looked around and found myself surrounded by walls of dirt. I stood at the pit of it all. Understanding now why Jesus had told me not to do this, I was ashamed to look up and see if He was even still there. I had no choice. I couldn’t get out. I had literally dug myself into this mess, and I had no way out.

I slowly looked up, to find Jesus standing there. I expected to see a look of disappointment, or even anger. I expected him to say, “See what you did? I told you not to do this, and you didn’t listen to me! Now look at the mess you are in!”

Instead, He reached down into the hole, He lifted me up and out of it, and He began to dust the dirt off my clothes until I was clean again. He hugged me with the most loving and comforting embrace, with no sign of bitterness, disappointment, or anger.

THAT is grace. God’s complete love and forgiveness in our life, especially when we don’t deserve it.

That is how God explained it to me when I asked. Every time I share this so intimate and personal encounter I can’t help but cry, and usually find those I share it with crying too. I have experienced sharing it with non-believers and having the presence of God fill the room and their hearts. Why? Because we serve a God of love and grace, and that is the message this world so desperately needs.

It is so important for us to understand God’s grace. Whether you are naturally a rule-follower or naturally a rebel, Scripture says that we are all in need of God’s grace.

For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus (Romans 3:23, NKJV)

I love this scripture. I love that it says “being justified freely by His grace.” I was reading it this morning as I drank my Jasmine Green tea and the word “freely” stood out to me because it isn’t needed in order to complete the sentence. It can so easily read, “being justified by His grace.” Instead that word is there because we serve a God who “freely” wants us to be justified.

That is the freedom we are called to live in. As natural rule-followers or rebels, we live our lives righteously and then allow grace to come in when we don’t. We repent and thank God for His grace when we miss it knowing we have been covered by His grace. That is the grace I sought to understand. It was the grace I needed to understand. And when I did, I was able to live freely from the bondage of falling short, knowing He has redeemed me, and God wants you to know more than anything that He loves you and that He has redeemed you.

Let’s Pray

Heavenly Father, I come before Your throne and I thank You for your grace. I thank You for the power of grace in our lives and for a revelation of it. I ask that You fill the hearts of every woman reading this right now with Your love. That you would give her an understanding and revelation of how you see her Father, washed white as snow. You alone had the power to redeem us, and You did out of Your love for us. We are so grateful for You our love and grace.

In Jesus’ name,

Amen.

Now It’s Your Turn

Today, I want you to reflect on things you haven’t forgiven yourself for. What areas of your life do you feel like you fall short in? Do you feel like you lack as a woman, a wife, a spouse, a Christian? I want you to uncover those areas and bring them before God. Allow His grace to take those areas of your life and call them redeemed.

More from the Girlfriends

Need help learning to trust God? Do you want to experience His grace and love in a fresh new way? The Girlfriends in God book, Trusting God, is filled with devotions written by Sharon, Gwen and Mary that will help you step out in faith and trust God. Check it out!

Today’s devotion is written by Natalia Crawford. Visit Natalia on her website at SheLeadsDaily.com.

15 Responses to “Understanding God’s Grace by Natalia Crawford”

  1. Mandy says:

    Thank you so much for such the powerful word. It spoke right to me. I can relate completely. I am an extreme natural rule-follower and it kind of made me feel too good about myself, as if I deserved good to be done for me too missing the whole point of God’s grace. The past 2 years have given me a different view to life, in my complacency i had always thought my life would be perfect because I simply follow rules but I suffered with bitterness and anger every time things didn’t go the way i wanted because i thought i deserved things to go the way i want simply because i follow rules. I totally missed the grace part. What a wonderful scripture. Thank you

    • Mandy, I’m so glad to hear that today’s devotional blessed you! I know that I can relate to a lot of what you shared, and I have also seen how God’s grace towards me helps me extend that same grace toward others. He is so loving and faithful, we can always rely on Him to help us live and walk in the freedom of HIs grace.

  2. Lanette says:

    Thank you for this. I’m a rule follower as well. When I fall short or mess up, I’m always afraid God will give up on me. And I live in complete condemnation afterwards. I’ve never heard Grace explained this way and feel God spoke to me about it thru you. Thank you for your word and your gift of sharing God.
    Lanette

    • Lanette, always remember that God will never turn away from you. I know I struggled with that for a while, and then I realized that God made me His home (Don’t you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God? 1 Corinthians 6:19) and that He would never leave me. God’s grace covers our mistakes and like any healthy relationship all we have to do is go to Him and repent and He is always ready and willing to forgive. He is such a loving Father and His grace is something we get to live in every day.

  3. sandra says:

    Thank you so much for your story. I too dug myself into a hole. This is the abyss that I fell into, but The Lord is freely lifting me out. The love and grace are so abundant that it just has to be shared. I feel like I am bursting right this very moment. I Believe, I have Faith and I Trust. Amen

  4. Amber says:

    I too missed the grace.

  5. Kenesha says:

    Mandy, My experience is slightly different but my thoughts were the same. I kept saying I must obey but keep failing to obey then feel so ashamed because I was failing. I am so grateful to be reminded of Gods Grace.

  6. Janey says:

    Thank you for sharing this beautiful illustration of grace. For a long time I would see grace in others lives but refused to accept it in to my own even though I had accepted Jesus. It doesn’t make sense to me either! I just never felt deserving. I felt loved but never quite felt forgiven. one day as I was reading John 3:16 I felt God tell me to replace the words “the world” with Janey. For God so loved JANEY that He gave His only begotten Son! He did it because He loves me. In that moment I truly understood grace. It’s not a reward for good behavior. It’s love inspite of it.

  7. Alycia says:

    Thank you. A friend sent this to my mom, my mom sent it to me without knowing about the whole I had dug in my relationship with God this past year. Just thank you for allowing God to speak through you to the stubborn.

  8. Kathaleen says:

    I on the other hand was a rebel. I would like to hear a perspective from that point of view? I have always had a faith in God but it took me awhile to “lean into Jesus” I’m afraid because of my rebel ways. However looking back there were aspects that served me well but kept me from serving Him, and I’m only now feeling like I’m fulfilling my purpose.. for His purpose . ☺

  9. Teresa says:

    I am happy to read this. (but I have a REAL problem) with “Sin” and “grace’. I don’t understand….”forgiveness”…of a sin….that is constantly replaying itself over and over. Is that “grace”? or…are we lying to ourselves…that God will …”Forgive” that sin?

    I am truly not sure how ‘forgiveness” works. And for that matter…”grace”…because we all fall short of the glory of God. No one is truly worthy of God. He is sooo perfect and holy.

    So…anyone who might.. know how this works….i’d like to hear your point of view.

    Thank You

    • Marie says:

      Dear Teresa, it took me a long time to understand the sin-forgiveness-grace connection as well. It was a process of learningfor me. Here’s what I’ve learned so far that might help you understand more clearly. When we make the decision to commit our life to Jesus as our Lord and Savior (confess and repent of our sinful ways), the blood He shed on the cross covers our sin (ALL of our sins-past, present, and future) so that when Father God looks down on us He sees us as pure white, just as Jesus is – sinless! He no longer sees the sin stain that used to keep us from heaven’s gate. Jesus’ sacrifice of death on the cross gives us eternal life. We don’t earn our salvation because it is a gift to receive with repentant and thankful hearts. We also don’t lose our salvation when we continue to sin either.

      But as we continue to walk in this dirty world our “feet” get dirty with things that weigh us down (but don’t affect our salvation) like disappointments, frustration, hurt, sin patterns, lack of faith, etc. By repenting of these “dirty feet sins” on a regular basis it frees us to walk in righteousness and be better lights in this dark world. He knew that perfection would not be possible for us (only Jesus was perfect) so His plan allows us to keep coming to His eternal springs of love, forgiveness and restoration to help us grow and become more Christ-lik as we “work out our salvation”.

      Understanding God’s MERCY is important too. If we are in Christ He does not punish us as we deserve for our sin (although eternal punishment is coming for those who have not placed their faith in Christ). Jesus took our punishment for us! He does not “shake His finger” or become disappointed or mad at us – that’s MERCY – not giving us what we deserve. His GRACE is unmerited, unearned favor. Even though we mess up and fall short, He continues to love us, help us, and bless us, even though we don’t deserve it at all. It can be hard to understand and accept this kind if extravagant love, but do yourself a favor and let yourself know and feel His love for you. Bask in His Presence and find strength there. The enemy will try to give you doubts that such a love can be possible. Stand firm and KNOW you are a forgiven, loved, treasured Child of God and heir to His throne of a multitude of blessings! God Bless you!

  10. Kim says:

    Thank you for sharing this devotion. As I read it tears started falling because it was like God was litterly speaking to my heart.I have done a lot I am not proud of and still regret my changes to this day. I know God has forgiven me but yet I hang on to the past. This New Year 2017 I am going to devote more time to God…read his word more,and my daily devotion from you. Thank you for bringing God’s word and plan for all of us everyday. You are a blessing.

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"We loved you so much that we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well…" 1 Thessalonians 2:8