These past two weeks I had the privilege of being ministered to by Life Action Ministries. I think that they are a great ministry and what I find most amazing is how sometimes the simplest truth is the most life changing. I grew from Life Action’s ministry because they ministered to my spirit, my family, and my needs.
Before they even came to our church, I had no doubts that I was a Christian and that I had committed my life to Christ. I knew that by faith in God’s grace alone through Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross that I had eternal salvation. Life Action had even explained that the point of this summit was a “revival,” which is reviving . . . you can’t revive something that has not already had life. I have had God’s life, but something was definitely missing.
On the first or second day, Steve from Life Action Ministries explained that an orange, when squeezed, squirts out orange juice. However, if you take out all of the juice out of the orange, inject ink into the orange, then squeeze it, the orange will squirt out ink not juice. Our lives are like the orange. If we are living in Christ and we are filled with the Holy Spirit, when squeezed we pour out the fruits of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. If we are living in disobedience and not according to the Spirit, when squeezed we pour out fear, despair, anxiety, bitterness, hostility, hypocrisy, selfishness, harshness, and rage. It was as if Steve held up the mirror of God’s Word and it didn’t look like the mirror I had been using. My mirror had a special film on it . . . called excuses. The film on my mirror said, “Not like this all of the time,” “It’s just these circumstances that are making me act like this,” “I only act like this around this person who I don’t like,” or “Why doesn’t this other person act better/drive better/do it right?” Steve made me realize that the film had to come off my mirror for me to reflect Christ. My excuses get me no where. When I’m squeezed, the grossness that comes out is my sin. I can’t excuse my sin due to circumstances, other people, or because it’s a bad day.
I realized was filled with ink, not orange juice.
I don’t honestly know how long it has been going on, but I have been working hard on being a good Christian. Me, myself, and I. I have been making checklists, making plans, desperately trying to do good things, and serve God. I have been doing great at being an ink-filled Christian whose outer orange peel is nice and shiny. If you squeezed hard enough, the ink would be just as dark as the next Pharisees.
Why? I had to ask myself why was I trying so hard to live like Christ and yet I was filled with anger, bitterness, hypocrisy, selfishness, and anxiety.
I mentioned before that I knew that I was saved by grace. I knew that grace was that thing that God gave you that allowed you the gift of salvation though I did not and do not deserve it. But is that all grace is? I had no idea that I was missing grace.
1 Corinthians 15:10 – “But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace toward me was not in vain. On the contrary, I worked harder than any of them, though it was not I, but the grace of God that is with me.”
I learned the first part of this verse about six years ago. It helped me to accept that God’s grace had brought me to where I was today. He had helped me through my past and gave me a future blessed so richly. However, I didn’t memorize the rest of this verse. Read on . . . “his grace toward me was not in vain.” God’s grace had brought him that far and because of God’s grace Paul, “worked harder than any of them.” Not Paul, but God’s grace!!!!
Wait, so instead of working hard to be what God wanted me to be . . . I needed to let God’s grace work through me. The I needed to stop and God’s grace needed to thrive! Paul didn’t say, “He worked harder than any of them and checked off his checklists and met all his deadlines and did life according to his plans to be God honoring.” He said that the grace of God with him worked harder. The Holy Spirit did the work. He could not.
God’s Daily Grace
What God impressed on my heart is that I had received his grace in salvation, but I was rejecting his daily grace. How as I rejecting it? I wasn’t asking for it. I wasn’t admitting my need.
I was screaming to the rooftops that I was self-sufficient, capable, and in control.
All the while, I was falling apart, not following through, and lacking joy.
I cannot glorify myself and glorify God at the same time.
After I realized that I had been missing grace, I repented. I repented for trying to make things happen on my own. I repented for doing so many things without his grace. I needed to get humble. I needed to lay my life down at God’s feet. More than anything I want to have God’s daily grace. Steve from Life Action mentioned that God’s daily grace is what gives you the strength and joy to get out of the bed in the morning. I had been missing that joy for a while!
Since last week, things have been different. I’ve been different. I haven’t mastered life (God has), but asking for God’s daily grace has made an impact on my walk with Christ. I have God’s strength to finish up some tasks that I have been hiding from out of shame. In fact, shame is the opposite of God’s daily grace! I haven’t felt shame since I got down on my knees each morning and began asking God for his grace for the day and letting Him know how much I need Him. No more shame. The shame of not sending out presents to my dear ladies, shame for my to do list that has not made any progress, shame for all the mornings I didn’t finish our homeschooling for the day . . . his grace has sent my shame PACKING. Instead of shame, God’s strength has helped me to send out a few more presents and follow through, do some things around the house that have been sitting undone, and to find joy in my mornings. I don’t have to hide from each day with it’s looming to do list. I don’t have to hide from the stack of presents that represent months of lack of follow through. I don’t have to ignore the unorganized cabinet, because I can’t deal with the stress of how it makes me feel. God’s grace has given me freedom!
God’s grace is sufficient for me. His power is made perfect in my weakness (2 Corinthians 12:9).
If you have been hiding from your shame, you need God’s grace. His grace that removes your yoke and let’s Him carry it. His daily grace that carries you. You don’t have to struggle through each day, each hour, each minute. He is sufficient for you.
How to Receive God’s Daily Grace
Get humble – recognize your sin of self-sufficiency and your desire for control. Confess to God that you aren’t capable and that He is.
Confess – Don’t just confess your sins that led you to reject his daily grace, go all in. Spend some time with God and get your life straight with Him. Go down the list . . . pride, selfishness, and anger. Whatever you are holding onto, confess and repent.
Admit Your Need – Let God know that you need Him. Right now. Today. Tomorrow morning. Admit your need every single morning.
Ask for His Grace – Ask God for the grace that only He can give. Receive God’s daily grace that allows you to live your day in the power of the Holy Spirit.