Accepting Grace

I’ve learned a lot in the past several months about offering grace to those around me. I’ve learned to not harbor anger against others, to give cheerfully and sacrificially, and to forgive patiently and unceasingly ((not by any means am I perfect at those things, but God has been teaching me and working in me))

But what I haven’t learned is to let others do those same things for me.

I don’t think I should get help. I don’t think I’m worth it. I don’t think I deserve grace. And frankly, I don’t deserve grace.

But God didn’t take that into account when He forgave us {according to the riches of His grace. Which He lavished upon us — Ephesians 1:7-8}

I like to think I don’t need help. I like to think I can do it myself and take responsibility for everything on my own. I like to be the first to help everyone else, and the last to ask for help myself. I’ve claimed 2 Corinthians 12:9 as my life verse, and yet, I act as if I don’t need His grace. I try to make myself enough without it.

{if you are ready to partake of grace you have not to atone for your sins–you have merely to accept of the atonement. All that you want to do is to cry, “God have mercy upon me,” and you will receive the blessing — Dwight L. Moody}

I’m not supposed to try to make myself enough. God has only asked me to stand here with hands open and accept the grace that He lavishes on me through Himself and the people He has put around me.

He didn’t ask me to be the answer to every problem or to do everything for myself. Rather, He commanded the opposite. He asked me to be a member of His body and to work in unity with other believers.

{for as in one body we have many members, and the members do not all have the same function, so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members of one another — Romans 12:4-5}

{two are better than one, because they have a better return for their labor: if either of them falls down, one can help the other up — Ecclesiastes 4:9-10}

If I truly believe in the power of the church working as a body, I have to not only work as one of its members, but let those around me build me up and help me as well. I have to learn to accept grace from those around me and most of all grace from God. I can’t do this life alone, but I can do it through Christ and His people because I’m drowning in His sufficient grace.

So to all of the people around me who have shown me grace this week, thank you. I’m sorry that I held on to my stubborn pride and didn’t want to let anyone help me. I’m sorry I wasn’t grateful enough and rather remained adamant that I could do it all myself. I can’t. God knew I needed every one of you, and you’ve helped me more than you will ever know.

I can’t do life alone, and praise the LORD, I am not designed or required to live in solidarity. I need only be humble enough to ask for and accept help and grace from those around me who want to show it. Most of all, I need to humble myself before the throne of the King of Kings and Lord of Lords every day of my life and ask Him to forgive me, redeem me, cleanse me, and thank Him for His abundant grace. He has never yet failed me and I know He won’t start failing me now.

Taryn

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Faith Like a Child

We weren’t born with an inclination towards fear. Fear isn’t something we innately possess as infants. Without even thinking about it, newborns have full faith in their parents. They trust them with every need, because they don’t even realize what their own needs are. Fear has to be learned. Bad experiences and let down have to burst our bubbles of what we thought life was supposed to be like leaving us scarred and confused. 
Life with Jesus is exactly the same way.

I remember singing “Jesus Loves Me” in choir as a four year old and believing it as wholeheartedly as I do now. Nothing had ever challenged that. No one had ever given me a reason to doubt that Jesus loved me. I just believed it. I knew the Bible was true and that’s all I needed to know. 
Fast forward a dozen or so years, and I wish it could be that simple. 
Hard times and hard questions come up. People ask me how I would reconcile Jesus loving us with all this hurt and pain  around us. How I reconcile His faithfulness and provision with sickness and poverty and terror around our world. And you know what? I don’t understand. I can’t reconcile it perfectly. And I have my own doubts every day of my life. 

But I am starting to understand what Jesus said in Matthew 18 when He told us we all must become like children to enter the Kingdom of Heaven. 

He doesn’t need me to understand. 

Jesus never asked me to have all the answers, in fact, He told me that I wouldn’t. But I need to go back to believing as simply and purely as I did as a little girl. Taking Him at His Word without having to understand. Believing and trusting just because He says it and letting that be enough. 
I don’t understand so many things, and those unknowns cause me to walk in fear. 

But Christ came to replace my fear with faith. To remind me that there is nothing in this world that He  hasn’t already overcome. That that’s all I need to know. He is enough, He is love, He is faithful
I don’t want to wrestle with the whys tonight. I want to go back to the simple truths I already knew and believed as a four year old. Because with Jesus on my side, there’s no reason I ever need to learn fear. Because of my God is for me, NO ONE can stand against me and nothing can separate me from His powerful love {Romans 8}
I’m going to stand firmly on the Rock that never moves and not let my eyes stray to the storms around me. They can’t take my solid foundation out from underneath my feet. 

Taryn

The Myth of “Righteous Anger”

Search “righteous anger” on Bible Gateway

Since I know you didn’t actually do that, let me tell you what it says. Nothing shows up.

Those two words don’t appear side by side in the Bible. 

In fact, James 1:20 says quite the opposite

{for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God}

So where did this term come from?

Who came up with the idea of “righteous anger”?

Who decided that as Christians it would be righteous of us to be angry, even if our anger is directed towards sin? 

God doesn’t need our anger or want our anger. He didn’t call us to anger. He called us to love. That’s what Jesus emphasized over and over during His earthly ministry. 

If anyone were going to be angered by sin, it should have been Jesus. He was the one they were sinning against. He was the one who was going to have to bleed and die for it. And He is the only one to ever walk this earth and not be just like them — sinners. And yet there are very few times when the Bible mentions Jesus getting angry or acting in anger. 

Jesus didn’t ignore the injustices all around Him, but rather than letting His actions be fueled by anger, He let them be fueled by compassion and love. 

Love is what God commands in the Great Commandment. Love is what Paul describes as bearing, believing, hoping, and enduring all things (1 Corinthians 13:8). Love is what Jesus showed on the cross to a broken and dying world, devoid of any reason to be loved. Love is what no one deserves, by what Christ calls us to show. 

Anger won’t draw anyone to the Father, but love will

“Jesus will not accept the common distinction between righteous indignation and unjustifiable anger. The disciple must be entirely innocent of anger, because anger is an offence against both God and his neighbour.” — Dietrich Bonhoeffer

There are surely injustices in this world. There are surely things we must fight against in this world. But rather than convincing ourselves that our anger towards these things is righteous and is what should be going on, why don’t we focus on letting love drive us to do great things. To share hope and comfort with this broken world. And to point every person that we see back to Jesus. 

I’m not here to tell you you’re an awful human for getting angry. I’m here to tell you that unless we do something with that anger, unless we allow Christ to take it from us and replace it with love and passion to do something about the injustice in our world, then it’s meaningless. And worse than that, it’s stealing our joy. 

When you really think about it, why would we want to be angry in the first place? I sure don’t want to be. I don’t like how it makes me feel and I certainly don’t like the person that I am when I’m angry. So, as much as possible, I’m going to choose not to be angry. Even if it seems like I’m in the right, or that my anger may be “righteous”. I don’t want to choose anger anymore, I want to choose love. 

Taryn

When “No” is Your Best “Yes”

The Bible outlines almost everything in black and white… or so it seems. The Bible is full of things it tells us to say YES to:
* Obeying our parents (Ephesians 6:1)

* Tithing (Malachi 3:10)

* Having faith (Hebrews 11)
And I could go on for pages if that’s what this were about. In addition, the Bible gives us plenty of NOs, all the “thou shalt not” commandments, or namely, sin. 
But it’s come to seem like every “good thing” every thing that isn’t sin, even every Christ-honoring thing… we should probably say yes to. Yes to every ministry opportunity, yes to every fellowship, yes to everyone and everything that asks you. Because Jesus would have done that… right?
In the hustle and bustle of the world around us, it’s easy to feel judged if we take time to rest. And people are sure to judge us if we don’t say “yes” to every seemingly great opportunity. Yes to every mission trip, every ministry, every class and event and job. 
Now, don’t get me wrong, these are all GREAT things. One of the most fulfilling things in my life has been teaching kids or leading worship at my church. But I get burnt out. 
—-

I’m in one of those slumps right now. I’m so burnt out and tired that I feel incapable of putting my best foot forward in anything. I feel like a chicken running around with my head cut off. I’m flirting about from place to place trying to fulfill all my tasks and duties… and it just isn’t working. 
Last week, I was crashing. I was too tired to think straight and there didn’t seem to be any hope on the horizon of things getting calmer. But I felt trapped. I couldn’t say no to anything… that would make me a failure. God said His power is perfected in weakness, so that must mean I should just keep pushing… right?
The people around me who loved me kept telling me that I needed to slow down. But I didn’t even listen because I felt like they were saying that because they didn’t believe I could do it all and I wanted to prove that I could. So I fought harder to the detriment of my health, my grades, and my relationships.
Finally, I hit a breaking point. I was talking to the chaplain at my job and trying to be cheery about everything going on in my life. But she could easily see how tired I was and when she asked about it, all of my stresses began to pour out. I couldn’t keep doing everything. But I felt trapped. I couldn’t honestly identify a single thing that could go. It was all important. 
She remained adamant. Gently but firmly, she told me I needed to make a list of absolutely everything that was filling up my time and pray over it until I had laid down the things that God was telling me to lay down. 
I didn’t think I would find anything. I honestly thought that I would just use my list to make a more updated schedule and become a better time manager and let that be enough. But God had different plans. 
He began laying on my heart the same lesson that He taught me all of last school year and that I had become so busy that I was forgetting — lay down what’s good, and find what’s BEST. 

—-

One of my dear mentors always tells me that we should do everything we do for God with excellence.
I sure wasn’t doing anything with excellence when I was giving it the bare minimum amount of my time possible before flying to the next task. And so it was time for things to go. 
I never thought I would drop out of a college class, it seemed like that would make me a failure, but God said do it. 
I thought that it would be wrong to give up being involved in a certain ministry at my church, but God said to slow down. 
I thought it would make me a failure to cut my blog back to one post a week, but He reminded me that this is all for Him, and He decides when and what I need to write. 
Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.” — Matthew 11:28-30

God didn’t design me to keep putting such a heavy load on myself. He designed me to need rest. And when I’m overloaded, my heart isn’t soft to the new things that He may be bringing to my life. 
I’ve always believed that I had to say yes to too many things. Be committed too many places. Do every “good” thing. But this week, God taught be that sometimes, “No” is the best yes to my life. The best yes to His plans for me. The best yes to having time for the things that really matter. 
The LORD replied, “I will personally go with you, Moses, and I will give you rest—everything will be fine for you.” — Exodus 33:14

As You went with Moses, LORD, go with me in everything I do. May I glorify You in all and find rest in You alone. Amen. 

Taryn