Session 7: Liberated By God’s Gospel of Grace.

I have sinned in my cowardly refusal—out of fear of rejection—to think, feel, act, respond, and live from my authentic self.  We even refuse to be our true self with God—and then wonder why we lack intimacy with Him. From the first moment of our existence our most powerful yearning is to fulfill the original purpose of our lives—‘to see Him more clearly, love Him more dearly, follow Him more nearly.’ We are made for God, and nothing less will really satisfy us. When we accept the truth of what we really are and surrender it to Jesus Christ, we are enveloped in peace, whether or not we feel ourselves to be at peace. With graciousness and an understanding of human weakness that only God can exhibit, Jesus liberates us from alienation and self-condemnation and offers each of us a new possibility. He is the Savior who saves us from ourselves. Jesus discloses God’s true feelings toward us. As we turn the pages of the Gospels, we discover that the people Jesus encounters there are you and me. The understanding and compassion He offers them, He also offers you and me. Brennan Manning, Chapter Two

I’ve long known that Jesus came to save me from my sin. It’s only in recent years that I’ve come to appreciate God’s deeper truth. Jesus came to save me from my self.

The deep-down dirty secret in all of this is that when I’m left to my own devices, I’m woefully incapable of saving myself from the sea of self-driven interests found deep within my soul.

The heart is hopelessly dark and deceitful, a puzzle that no one can figure out. But I, God, search the heart and examine the mind. I get to the heart of the human. I get to the root of things. I treat them as they really are, not as they pretend to be. Jeremiah 17: 9-10

Thank God, we have a Savior who not only sees Truth but also is Truth, Himself. And as Brennan Manning states, “when we accept the truth of what we really are and surrender it to Jesus Christ, we are enveloped in peace.”

As I see it, this Peace of Christ (or shalom) that passes all understanding is the down payment of heaven, brought to us downtrodden earth-dwellers just when we need it. The New Testament is very clear about this. While I am still a dirty-rotten sinner and a self-centered son-of-a-gun, God releases His Gospel of Grace. A scandalous truth that rocks my legalistic mind while shocking my burden-weary heart back into life, liberty and pursuit of true happiness.

Just a few days ago, as I was reflecting on the Truth found in God’s Gospel of Grace, I was suddenly hit with a joy beyond my understanding. For no reason at all, other than the fact that God, my Father not only loves me, but He likes me, I was suddenly feeling a smile on my face and a peace in my heart. Something, I must admit, I haven’t felt much of in quite some time.

And when Jesus says that His shalom is beyond our understanding, I think I’m beginning to really get it! On this particular day, for no apparent reason, I suddenly was attacked by a flock of uncontrollable ‘happies.’ Joy that was stirred up not by external circumstances but by God’s Gospel of Grace. In all honesty, it made no sense to my fleshly, self-centered mind, but when it happened, my wounded heart was strangely warmed by a touch of His endless mercies!

My guess, coming away from that experience, is when Jesus begins to disclose God’s truest feelings for us, beware. You might want to be prepared, if at all possible. The cheese that was once falling off your cracker because of your woundedness and past failure is now flying happily in the air because of the lightness you have on your feet!

Oh, the unspeakable joys of having a delivering King who loves us and likes us!

My prayer: Joy. Joy. Joy. In a world that is going to hell in a hand-basket, thank You for a real joy that comes, not from external circumstances, but from an internal peace that passes my earthly understanding. Because You live and love, I am able to face tomorrow! For Your name’s sake. Amen.

My questions to ponder: When was the last time I was hit by an attack of the uncontrollable ‘happies’? How have external pressures and difficult circumstances convinced me that life is not worth living? Can I, today, stop long enough in my self-centeredness so that His loving perspective on my life can break in and begin to set me free?

So what is God speaking to you today as you live as Abba’s child in the midst of His Gospel of Grace?

Over an eleven-week period, you and I will take a deeper look at God’s Gospel of Grace; Exploring the Good News of God’s Unconditional Love & Acceptance. We are using Brennan Manning’s classic book, Abba’s Child – The Cry of the Heart for Intimate Belonging as our guide. In order to keep all the blog sessions organized, we suggest you bookmark our Gospel of Grace home page for ease of use. ENJOY!

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