I am a girl covered in freckles. I love the quote that says, “A face without freckles is like a sky with no stars.” I always thought my freckles made me special. I love the image of God sprinkling a little extra sugar on me…
BUT – now that I am over thirty – my freckles are no longer cute. In fact, that are not even called freckles any more. Now, they are called age spots. Talk about a turn of connotations here…
As a matter a fact, about a year ago, I went to the dermatologist for adult acne, but before I could even express my concerns, she takes out her bright light and begins inspecting my “freckles.” Then she takes it one step further and freezes a few spots on my face. Wow! I guess these are not the cute defining characteristic I once thought they were.
And before it is all over with, she has prescribed a bleaching cream (which I ended up loving) to fade my age spots (formerly known as freckles).
This is a picture of our lives. Those freckles – that apparently reflect all my sun damage through the years – are like the sin in our lives, building up over time and showing out at more times than others. But, that bleaching cream is grace, grace that makes our sins disappear. However, we can get grace on our own.
We need an intervention to protect us. For my face, it was the dermatologist with her bleaching cream and freezing machine. But for us, the only intervention that will work is God and his grace.
The only problem is often times we don’t let grace do it’s job, much like an unused tube of bleaching cream. Don’t get me wrong. If you are a believer, you know about grace, probably confess you have it and need it, but more times than not, we don’t really accept the grace.
As we discussed last week, God does not take sin lightly, nor does He take the cross lightly, which enabled us to have grace. So we can’t take these lightly either.
Grace is not a valuable gift we received so that we could put it on our shelf and admire its beauty. Grace is that irreplaceable college hoodie that you have had for twenty years that you still love to put on on a chilly day and it instantly makes you feel like a different person. Sure, it is worn in a few places. It has obviously been used, but it only seems to get better each time it is put on. That is grace.
And we have to fully accept grace.
We have to wear it all the time.
It is a gift. It is not anything we can buy at the store or earn the right to have. It is unearned, unmerited, undeserved.
All that is true… BUT, God gifted us with grace anyway, and to fully show that appreciation for what he has done, we have to fully accept grace. Fully accept. Like diving in head first to the deep end on the first warm day of summer.
Many of us put on grace, only when we talk about “religious” things. Grace gets us into heaven. Grace enables us to have a relationship with Christ. Grace covers our sins. We view grace from the perfectly safe Sunday morning view.
Those things are so true, but grace is more than that. And grace is NOT safe. Grace is accepting we are trash, but getting up and being great through Christ anyway. Grace is courageously stepping out for God in ways we never would have before. Grace is seeing your talents and gifts and knowing, they may not be perfect, but they are placed by God, for God. Grace is knowing that no matter what we do, we are children of God.
Ephesians 2:8-10 says, For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.
See, grace is not from us. It is not something we made happen, nor is it something we earned. But it is a gift, a gift we may not understand or fully comprehend… but that is all the more reason to take it and fully absorb it. Let it all soak in, and stop trying to let grace cover us when it is safe, understandable, or Sunday School applicable.
Grace should be apart of every fiber of our body.
And because of that, We would see ourselves through grace.
Go back to Ephesians. We are God’s handiwork. He made us, exactly the way He wanted us. Our flaws are by his design. Our weaknesses are there to point us to Him. He designed us for a job, a job he prepared in advance. We are designed specifically to do good works – His good works.
When we see ourselves in any other way, then the flesh and the spirit battle against each other, and that brings so much heartache.
However, when we see ourselves as God intended us – covered in HIS grace – then we can surrender to the spirit, ignore the flesh, and accomplish those good works God predestined just for us.
I mean, think about it… Do you think Moses, after killing someone, ever thought he would be salvation for the Israelites? Or do you think shepherd boy David daydreamed about becoming a great war hero and greater king? Do you think Ester ever imagined herself as queen or even being in a position to save her people? And lets be real now. Mary never said, “yep, I think I can be mother to the savior of the world. I got this.”
I am sure none of these people felt qualified to fill their role in God’s plan, but they had faith in God. They saw themselves through God’s eyes. They worked off of God’s qualifications and not their own. And that is grace – knowing that we have been covered in His abilities and strengths. We are no longer just depending on our own.
And when we truly accept and act on that, then the possibilities are endless in who we can become and what we can do for God.
But when we don’t make that realization, the opposite is true.
Our negative view of ourselves – without grace – ripples into many areas of our lives.
It can affect our family, career, friends, and most importantly our walk with Christ.
When we fail to see ourselves as new creations, then we fail to see our possibilities. Often times, we limit ourselves and therefore limit our walk with Christ. We are not fully trusting in Him, but instead trusting in ourselves.
And when we trust in us and we fail, we are scared to act again. In a sense, we break our own trust.
Man, I know what happened last time I tried to do this. No way I am doing it again…
And many times that attitude snowballs. We become insecure over one matter, which begins to reflect in many other areas of our lives. The fear of failure makes decisions for us instead of fully trusting in the grace that covers us, no matter what.
Hebrews 13:5 says …Be satisfied with what you have , for he himself has said, I will never leave you or abandon you.
Part of Him never leaving us is that He will never take back the grace or mercy He gave us. We will always be covered. And because of that, we can be satisfied. We don’t have to worry and fret over over the times we trusted in ourselves and then failed. We don’t have to look at what we have as limits, but instead as exactly what God knew we would need.
God sees us as a tool to be used by Him. His power and wisdom goes into using me, not my own power and wisdom, and because of that I can be satisfied in His grace poured on my life instead of looking to the lesser.
When we accept grace in our lives – like really and truly accept it, not just say we do – then we should see ourselves differently. We should see the new creation that we are and with that we should see the new possibilities. But as long as we see ourselves as the same ol’ rags, just with a ticket to heaven, then we will always miss out on the infinite possibilities to serve Him that God has designed in our lives.