The Place of Grace

There is in Christianity it seems ditches to land in on both sides of the road of faith.      The truth, more often than not lands in the middle.    We tend to get stuck in one ditch, wallow and wander through it for years, and then finally we get free.  Only to wander too far from it, lest we fall in it again, and, bam, land right in the other ditch.

It is not the most efficient way to walk this path we are traveling, nor is it the most enjoyable.     The true and narrow way involves one small step at a time, following the quiet, patient, and calculated walk of our Lord Jesus Christ.

The wrong way leads us either in a ditch or on another path of destruction.   Proverbs 13:15 says Good understanding giveth favour: but the way of transgressors is hard.    The way of sin is a hard, miserable, destructive way.    However, far too often the church puts a yoke of bondage on you and creates a way that keeps you just as stuck and is just as hard.  Jesus is a narrow way, but Jesus is the way of joy, peace, and fruit.    The way of Freedom is Jesus — if you are not FREE even if you aren’t in your addictions, if you are not JOYFUL even though you are now in the “truth”, if you don’t compassion for others who have landed in the ditch or are lost in their way – you likely need to get more out of the way and MAKE WAY for the KING OF KINGS!

Instead of bringing people to JESUS, often we just throw tough love at them and step back and do nothing, and when we see them in a ditch, walk past them and think, “Wow, thank God I am not like them!”

In John 14, Jesus says he is the way, and this is a way that few find.   Most in the church even won’t find it.

5 Thomas saith unto him, Lord, we know not whither thou goest; and how can we know the way?

Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.

Isaiah 30:21 says, And thine ears shall hear a word behind thee, saying, This is the way, walk ye in it, when ye turn to the right hand, and when ye turn to the left.

Matthew 7:14 Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.

Moses is speaking in Exodus 33 looking for the way and looking for God’s Grace.   In verse 14 God is saying He is that way Moses is looking for, and God will give the rest.

1Now therefore, I pray thee, if I have found grace in thy sight, shew me now thy way, that I may know thee, that I may find grace in thy sight: and consider that this nation is thy people.

14 And he said, My presence shall go with thee, and I will give thee rest.

The way of religion is exhausting — you never feel you measure up.  You have all these burdens added on your life and there is no one to life a finger to help you.  Jesus says in Luke 11,But woe unto you, Pharisees! ,  46 And he said, Woe unto you also, ye lawyers! for ye lade men with burdens grievous to be borne, and ye yourselves touch not the burdens with one of your fingers.

In Matthew 11,  Jesus expands on that rest.  Jesus doesn’t do what religion does.

28 Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.

29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.

30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.

God’s grace is a gift from God himself.   The bible says in 2nd Corinthians 12:9  And he (God) said unto me (Paul), My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I (Paul) rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.

God’s grace is a gift, something we can’t earn or boast about.   What does this have to do with freedom from addiction?  Everything.

What does this have to do with ditches?  A lot.      Today you tend to see a false grace — which is an attitude that says, “I’m saved, and I have a get-out-of-hell-free card, and I can live however I want.  I’m under grace, not under law!”     And the other ditch to fall into that those who recognize the error in the license-to-sin ditch is the “I’m still under law!”  You have those preaching law and legalism and then those preaching license to live above the law.  In the middle is the real saving grace that keeps you saved and let’s Jesus shine through.

Fake GRACE is “I’m saved, Lord, now leave me alone!”   Real GRACE is “WOW, I can’t believe this AMAZING GRACE that saved a WRETCH LIKE ME!  Lord, I don’t deserve it, but please don’t leave me alone!  I will make a mess of this again without you!”

Titus 2 says

11 For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men,

12 Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world;

13 Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ;

14 Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.

GRACE is often the missing ingredient today.    We cannot earn God’s favor no matter how much we give or how many church services we attend.    The end result of legalism is you only feel like God loves you if you are in full time ministry and doing everything your church says you are to do.   GRACE doesn’t work like that and with GRACE you GET to serve the true and LIVING GOD.  You WANT to serve God, but it doesn’t devastate you if you are waiting on Jesus feet in the shadows, instead of waiting on the brethren in the limelight.    Grace produces contentment and patience and breaks you out of the performance trap of never feeling you measure up.

When you are full of GRACE you are led by the SPIRIT and not by guilt.

The key to freedom from addiction works like this.    Compare two marriages.  Marriage one is a husband who is insecure and controlling.  He threatens his wife into submission and will beat her if she talks to another man.   He watches her every move and won’t trust her for a second.   She may be faithful to him out of fear, but her heart isn’t toward him, and if he let go of the leash, she would run as far as she can.    However, usually she won’t run because she has been shackled so long, she doesn’t even think she deserves to be anywhere but where she is.

The other marriage is a woman being married to a strong man who is secure in who he is, and is devoted to his wife unconditionally, and that doesn’t change no matter what she does or throws at him.   She has his heart and he loves her because she is his.    He loves her, but if somehow, she wanted to leave and give her heart to someone else, as heart breaking as that would be, he would rather her have that freedom than demand she stay with him.    If that were to happen, he would be waiting for her return, sad, but knowing someday she would return to him when the other man broke her heart.   This type of sacrificial love would leave this woman totally devoted and no matter how suave a suitor that would try to woo her away, that man would hold her heart and her affections.

The first husband is one of law.   It is cold and distant and you never feel truly loved or free.  The second one is one of grace.   Real vibrant grace is the only ingredient that will get you to say no to all the other suitors trying to win your heart.    God’s grace is something we need to experience and we need to experience it daily to be able to walk in freedom.

That is the WAY out of addictions.  Of empty lifeless religion.  Of passionless Christianity.  Of always feeling guilty and never feeling you are good enough.      Stay in the way of feeling worthless and that God is against everything you do and every step you take – and eventually you give up and say, “I might as well sin, anyway.”        Or leave that way for a better way — the way of GRACE!

Grace is the way.  Walk ye in it.

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