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Refining the Art of Grace-based Living

July 21, 2011

By: Carole D. Hicks (July 16, 2011)

Part I

There is an adage that many well-meaning Christian folk will tout as an attempt at showing mercy to one who has succumb to sin or bad choices, “If not for grace, there go I.”

Have you ever heard it?  Have you ever said it?  It’s not a bad thing. In fact, if genuine it is a foundational attitude toward grace-based living.  Each of us needs to realize that without grace we would either be working our butts off to attain some kind of “self” redemption, or we would give up and give in to the cynicism and hardness that comes from living without that hope.

I have been thinking a lot about grace lately. And truly, my heart … my mind … my soul has been duly convicted of the obvious.  I have not been living a very grace-based life.  And, it is time for some serious repentance.

As so many of us have heard from pulpits, Sunday School teachers and wise spiritual sages in our lives, if we “draw nigh to God, He will draw nigh to you,” I truly believe that God will not leave you in a state of spiritual despair if you ask Him to help you.  And … for this Truth … I am so grateful.

One of the main fiery darts of the Devil is “busy-ness” — and through busy-ness, we can so easily become distanced, even separated, from our Lord, leaving us to walk in despair, defeat, and depression.  Who wants to live there, right?  And yet, we will stay there far longer than necessary simply because our “people-ness” causes us to reject (and then forget) the art of grace-based living.  At the root of it all … pride. So again, serious repentance is necessary!

Let us draw near to God with a sincere heart and with the full assurance that faith brings, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water.  Hebrews 10:22

Bear with me!

            Father God … You are Holy, Powerful, Almighty and Sovereign.  You are Truth, Love, Mercy and Grace.  I am in AWE of You and Your Goodness.  Forgive me, I pray.  Without You and Your Son, Jesus, I have none of these attributes … and on my own, I fail miserably at my own attempts at redemption.  What a colossal waste of time, huh, Lord?  Especially, when I know the TRUTH of Your Grace and Love.  I am sorry.  I’m sorry for allowing the “busy-ness” of life to interfere with my walk with You.  I am sorry for taking so long to humble my selfish-human pride and allow Your Truth to rule in my heart and life.  I am sorry, yet again, for trying to be “in control” when I know and have experienced too many times in my life … that I’m just no good at it.  I need You … plain and simple.  I am sorry for trying to live on my own.   Please forgive for my arrogance. Please forgive me … for the cynicism I have developed. Please forgive and even break this hard heart … so that it is more pliable and useful to You.  Father God, I do love you. I am amazed at Your Grace.  I so want to get out of this terrible rut of busy-ness and “stone-throwing”, and refine the art (and practice) of grace-based living.  I want to know it, and show it to others so that Your Son is lifted up, exalted and glorified. 

Forgive me, Lord, and please create in me a clean heart and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not keep me from Your Presence because of my sin. Restore to me the joy of Your Salvation and give me a spirit that is willing to learn and will keep me close to You. I love You, Lord. Please help me live and work within the bounds of Your Love and Grace. Thank you for loving and saving me. Thank you for the freedom of our relationship so that I can come before You and feel the embrace of Your Grace.  In Jesus Holy Name I pray … Amen.

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