Work of Grace

I was reminded today, by a friend, about a work that God did in my life many years ago.  I was in a holier than thou stage of life.  Actually, it was and is really a part of my personality.  I think that it is human nature to look at others and compare ourselves.  I think that we are desperate to feel accepted in some way or another so we hunt for their weaknesses.  Somehow it makes us feel better about ourselves to look down on people different than us. In my case it was a religious snobbery.  Because I was a “good girl,” I felt superior to those around me that were not.  I have always been a seeker of God to some degree, and he has been a life long friend and companion for me.  It was not especially hard to follow the rules because I had a relationship with him.  Not too deep, but a relationship just the same.  I didn’t desire the stuff that could have gotten me into big trouble as a teen.  That is what we all wish for our kids…that they will love God so much that they won’t want to hurt him.  For me however, I thought that because I survived adolescence without major problems I was special…different…better than everyone else. 

Through a series of events I became extremely judgmental of others, because of the fact that God spoke to me so clearly. (In case you can’t get the tone of my writing here…this is sarcasm :)  It came in the way of my marriage; because I thought if Bill could just be more organized, less impulsive…more like me…things would be so much easier.  I was praying one day in the car early in our marriage; pouring out my heart to God for my husband.  He clearly, strongly spoke to my prideful heart, “I am not making him in YOUR image.” Ouch!  I was humbled by that statement. 
          Another time, I had a dream, too long to go into here, which made it clear that I was not operating in the love of God for others.  Yet again another time, (Do you get the idea that I am rather hardheaded?) God spoke to me in the midst of a blow up between friends.  This time it was as if my eyes were opened to see the ugliness of my self-righteousness.  I was cut to the heart, convicted and it still brings tears to my eyes to think of it. This was a deep, deep work of facing my sin, and allowing God to show me his view of it.  After this season of repentance I was a changed woman.  I have since ceased trying to be the Holy Spirit to others. (Most of the time J) It is not my job to convict others of their faults and sins.  It is my job to love them with the abundant love God so freely pours on me.  It is his job to lead them to himself.  I am overjoyed that there are times he uses me to point the way to his loving arms. 

         Now, when he says to me “You are enough” I think of the transformation that HE did so many years ago and continues to do. Today, he graciously, reminded me through the comments of a friend who sees the new me.  I again was humbled by his amazing grace.  He defined grace in those times of repentance. Now, I try to extend it, just as I received it.  My works and efforts of that time were as filthy rags to him and he allowed me to see the putrid poison they became to others.  I know that is strong language but I think it is accurate.  Now I do not feel the need to point out faults and failings, I go to my knees as God leads me to lift others up rather than tear them down.  I try to encourage and lift up with my words.  I am not perfect and praise God he doesn’t expect me to be!  I slip back into my old ways from time to time and allow the negative to rise up…but he is faithful to reveal it to me and correct me and lead me gently back to his side because…I am enough.

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