The pastors of Ekklesia just got back from a retreat on Saturday and during the retreat each of us pastors got a chance to give a short message to the interns on what we've learned from our time in the ministry. My warning to them was to not get bored with grace.
Grace is an undeserved gift. It is a Christian term that gets thrown around a lot and unfortunately, the result many times is that the power of the grace's meaning begins to lose its power in our eyes. Especially for those of us in the ministry, we are constantly around the things of God that it is so easy to become numb to the beauty of what He is doing. You become desensitized.
Those of us in the Pacific Northwest will understand this, but when it rains for six months out of the year it can begin to get old really quickly. Instead of being excited every time it rains, it is easy to get bored or annoyed. Yet we forget that without that constant rainfall we would not have the lush green forests that the Pacific Northwest is famous for. Ask the people in Africa; they would do anything for a little bit of rain. We are around it so much that we forget the beauty and life giving power of rain.
It is the same thing for those who are in the church.
By grace you have been saved. Jesus gives you grace. Grace to you. Grace and truth. Trust grace. Accept grace. Grace this. Grace that. We are so immersed in messages of grace, acts of grace, and salvation by grace that—as perverse as it sounds—it gets boring.
It is so easy for grace to become the white noise behind our relationship with Christ.
So how do we regain a wonder for grace? We must grow in the indicatives—the facts—of the Gospel.
CALL THIS TO MIND
The book of Lamentations is all about sorrow, but it is also about holding onto God in the midst of that sorrow. After three chapters of straight emo verses, Jeremiah the prophet in 3:21-25 states, "But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope: The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; His mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. 'The Lord is my portion,' says my soul, 'therefore I will hope in Him.'"
Even in the middle of the deepest and darkest trial, Jeremiah is able to remember God's grace and it is enough to sustain his soul.
To have an attitude like Jeremiah you must have a mind like Jeremiah. You can do this in two ways:
1. Think specifically about what God has done for you in grace.
Look back in your life and remember who you were before Christ. Who you were two years ago. Who you were one month ago. God has given you a lot of grace to get you to where you are today.
Don't be vague or abstract. What specific things has God given you in grace? Perhaps He has lifted an addiction from you or a destructive thought pattern. Maybe He has taught you to be a more loving spouse or friend.
All of it is grace poured out on you and it was not finished at the moment of salvation. You still sin. You still fail. Guess what? You still get amazing grace.
2. Think deeply about what God has done for you in grace.
Don't just think specifically about God's grace acts but think deeply. What this means is that God's grace does not just include salvation, forgiveness, and sanctification.
The very fact that you are alive today and not blown to bits over your sin is an act of grace. The fact that you have breath, food, shelter, clothing, family, friends, and money is an act of God's loving kindness towards you. A sunset. An ice cream cone. A good joke. Every day you live is a new gift given from above full of thousands more—all for you to receive. "His mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning."
Every day is a new chance to experience the grace of God. You don't deserve any of it, but even so He gives it freely.
May we never be bored with His grace again.