I cringed to notice that I seemed to identify with the Pharisees and where they were coming from. Although I knew that good works were not what saved me, I still believed I deserved salvation.
My story begins like that of many others. I was raised by wonderful, Christian parents who took me to church and taught me about Jesus. Because of that, I always knew the truth that Jesus died to save me from my sin, and I trusted Christ at a very young age.
Growing up, I was the good girl.
I always wanted to please my parents and teachers and I was devastated when I let them down or got in trouble. Even as a teenager, I never rebelled. (Looking back, I think I was just too lazy! It was easier for me to follow rules and do what was expected, than to be wild and get in trouble.) I knew I was a sinner, and that even small sins were offensive to a holy God, but because I was saved so young, it was hard for me to clearly see how my life had changed since I trusted Christ.
I never would have said out loud that pride was not something I struggled with (because I knew only a prideful person would say such a thing!), but I always struggled with the parts of Scripture that said things like, “He who is forgiven little, loves little.”
I guess I felt like I didn’t sin much, at least not “big” sins, so maybe I couldn’t love Jesus as much as other people who had struggled more.
As I read the gospels, I cringed to notice that I seemed to identify with the Pharisees and where they were coming from. Although I knew that good works were not what saved me,
I think somewhere in my heart I believed that I deserved salvation;
or at least God’s blessings.
Even as I went through Bible college, married a youth pastor, and served in churches, I still sometimes struggled to see how my boring, mostly obedient testimony fit into the story of God’s grace.
Recently, my husband was preaching through Ephesians, and he talked about how God’s grace works in two ways. Sometimes, God’s grace is redemptive. He takes all the bad things we’ve done, all the sins we’ve committed, and all the evils done against us, and He redeems them for His glory.
But other times, God’s grace is preventative.
That’s when it clicked for me. You see, even though I had been a Christian most of my life and hadn’t gone through major struggles like many others,
there was still nothing I did to deserve God’s grace-filled blessings.
The godly home I grew up in, the Bible-believing church that helped me grow, the lack of abuse, tragedy, bad choices, or painful situations that so many others experienced were not “rewards” for my good behavior; this was the richness of GRACE! There is nothing in me that deserves my salvation or any good thing in my life, it was grace all along!
Now that I can see God’s grace in my past, my pride is stripped away and I can see how it is Christ’s righteousness that covers me moment by moment.
I need Jesus every hour!
I need Him in my marriage, in my parenting, in my own thoughts, and in how I process things going on in the world.
I am so grateful for a God who loves and guides me through
the good days,
the bad days,
the days when I seek His face,
and especially on the days that I try (and fail) to do it on my own.