Grace To Endure
Grace can be a difficult concept to understand, it sure was for me for a long time. No matter how many times people would explain it to me, or I would read scriptures on it, I still didn’t get it. I had to come to an understanding that grace isn’t just a concept that we can understand but a gift from God that we begin to walk in, through a revelation.
See, grace is given to every man by God, if you’re reading this, then you have grace. You might be thinking well what is grace? Grace is the power God gives us to overcome our struggles. Now, this definition may seem very vague, but like I mentioned before, grace becomes real to you through a personal revelation of it. My own journey of accepting God’s grace in my life, and walking in it, has been a long one but it finally became clear to me one night. So, I have a bit of a temper, and I can be very argumentative, I’m still praying about it now (feel free to pray for me too, lol). I would argue with people and get frustrated very quickly, and I wouldn’t listen to people when they would speak. These are clearly not the fruits of the spirit. It says in James 1:9, be slow to speak, swift to listen and slow to anger. I was the exact opposite. I am learning to change gradually, but I did not like it when people saw my flaws, saw my anger etc. It just made me feel so small inside and like I was a ‘bad Christian’ and God was disappointed in me.
This was my first mistake, believing that God could be disappointed in me for being flawed and broken. God loves us and all our flaws. God knows that we are broken and have so many things wrong with us, externally and internally. God loves it all and wants to use it all, that is why He sent His son to die for us because He knows that we are flawed. So, if you are where I used to be, and feel like your flaws somehow disqualify you from being a Christian, you are very, very mistaken. Of course, God doesn’t like the spirit of anger but he will not push you away because of it. As long as you go to Him with a heart that wants to change, He will accept you and change you. We are supposed to boast in our WEAKNESS and testify of God’s grace, that He chooses to use us despite our weakness, not shy away from it. Paul said it in 2 Corinthians 12:8-9. It is through our weakness that we will receive a personal revelation of God’s grace and you will begin to understand how much grace God pours out on us each day.
I am not saying be proud of being angry and having a temper, definitely not, but I am saying you should not feel less deserving of God’s love because of it. You should not let anyone, even yourself make you feel small because you have flaws, because WE ALL DO! This is why God gives us grace and sent the Holy Spirit to guide us and daily transform us into His glorious image. 2 Corinthians 3:18. We are like clay in the hands of God and He is working on us. Just like a beautiful sculpture, once upon a time, it looked like a mess, but through the work of the potter, it became what it is.
So first of all, your flaws do not disqualify you of God’s love. Secondly, you do not become who God has called you to be through your own strengths.
I know this message has been preached and preached, and some of us might be familiar with the scripture that says, ‘God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it.’ (Ephesians 2:8-9 NLT) We really need to understand this. Stop seeing it as another amazing quote from Paul, but the truth and reality of life. Imagine the clay, by itself, tried to make itself into a sculpture. It wouldn’t work because the clay doesn’t have the ability or power to do so. So, even if it tried, all of its efforts would be in vain. That is how some of us are, we are getting so frustrated and angry because we want to iron out all of our flaws but we can’t because we don’t have the power or the ability to do so. We are the messed up clay, that is all we are supposed to be, we don’t need to come to God all figured out and in shape because God will mould us into whatever shape He desires us. All we have to be is the clay.
Let the potter do His job!
Anyway, back to my own journey. So, I have been praying to God about my character and my temper, I just didn’t like me to be honest. So I was in a meeting, and I was like to God, I want to become calm, less angry and not argue with people. I want to be all meek and gentle like Him. At the end of this meeting, we prayed for the filling of the Holy Spirit. So, the meeting had ended and we all left except three of us, I raised an issue which needed to be dealt with by the three of us who were left. One of the people who stayed behind and I saw the situation so differently and within minutes I had already started raising my voice and getting angry. I’m sure the Holy Spirit was trying to calm me down, but, me being as stubborn as I am, I did not listen and I continued to get angry. It took a while for me to relax and get out of my feelings and listen to the Holy Spirit. However, by that time, I had already walked away from the people I was talking to and went home. I don’t know if anyone of you can relate, but I will so often pray about overcoming something and minutes later, I’ve fallen.
So, I’m on my way home and I’m still angry, partly because of what happened, but mostly because I felt like rubbish. I had literally just prayed to God to help me overcome anger moments before I started raising my voice. I was just thinking, like what is actually wrong with me, when will I change and get my behaviour under control. I started praying to God and asking Him to just change me. I was praying to Him now, slyly frustrated with Him, because I’m just there like isn’t this when the Holy Spirit is supposed to come in. I know the Holy Spirit must have tried to calm me down, but clearly, my flesh was stronger in that moment, and I don’t know how to kill my flesh. Sometimes I feel like I just can’t control my behaviour, I’m not saying you can’t, I know I can, but in that moment it was like I never even knew the Holy Spirit. At that point was I just wanted God to ‘fix me’. To just get rid of everything that is wrong with me. Trying to overcome anger was like walking around the same mountain, over and over and I was just so tired.
When I was done talking, I finally felt God impress a word onto my heart, that grace doesn’t teleport me straight from Egypt into the promised land. Grace is what takes me through the wilderness. At the moment, I finally began to understand grace. Grace is not a quick fix to our problems because God is not a quick fix kind of Father. He is a good Father, who will teach His children and help them to be better. If we always got instantaneous answers to all our prayers, we would never know about the God of the process. We would never learn how to depend on God daily and cast our cares on Him. Every struggle is positioned in your life to teach you a lesson, some of us are slow learners, like me, so it seems like we are given the same test over and over again. Even though it feels like you are not changing or growing, you are! You are growing and changing gradually. Each time you fall, you get a new revelation and an understanding of God’s love and that it will never grow weary.
Grace is given to us from God as a gift to see us through this journey and to help us endure the process, and God will never speed up the process, no matter how much you want Him to.
Sometimes we expect ourselves to never fall, because we have God and because we have grace, but it doesn’t work like that. I used to get so mad at God for not ‘fixing me’. I can be very self-critical, and harsh on myself for not being what and where I think I should be, mainly because of insecurities. I would just maximise all my flaws and it would just me make me feel so small inside and I would always pray to God to ‘fix me’. I didn’t like being imperfect and I felt that in this imperfect state God couldn’t use me and didn’t want me. I felt like I was unacceptable to God and to be honest, I just didn’t like me. I didn’t like how I behaved, responded to things I just wanted to change me. I wanted God to change me. I would cry and beg God to just make me like Him. I wanted God to be my genie, I wanted Him to just fulfil all my wishes and fix me overnight. It took me a long time to figure out, but I finally realised that God isn’t a fix it God. He’s a let me walk you through the process kind of God.
He’s the God of the process, and when we reject His process we reject his grace because His grace is hidden in HIs process. Without the process, we would learn nothing from our pain and our struggles. So, be encouraged, because God sees you and He sees the effort you are making, just remember to rely on Him and His plan. Whether it takes you 3 days to overcome your struggles of 3 years, please know that GOD LOVES YOU and He will still use you if you are willing to walk with Him.
Stay Blessed x