2 Corinthians 3:6
6 He has made us competent as ministers of a new covenant—not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.
I’m a recovering legalist. There was a time in my life when my relationship with God was based on how well I did and how well I performed. But, that’s not the Gospel.
The verse from Ephesians reminds us that the law brings death. It’s taken me a long time to realize that. If something isn’t working in my life there’s a simple reason. I’m not talking about those things that take time. There’s seed time and harvest. Sometimes we have to plant seeds and wait for them to germinate. We have to wait for them to develop and we seek a harvest on that.
I’m talking about things that are flat out not working and you know they’re not working. Whether it’s a relationship, how you’re connected to people, how you talk to people; maybe your financial goals and you realize – this just isn’t working. Weight loss, parenting, a dream… If something isn’t working in my life I’ve found that I’m not operating in grace in that area. Because – GRACE WORKS.
Grace works every single time. It gives life. It increases, it prospers, and it grows. Grace works. There’s life in it. It’s that life giving seed planted in the ground and you know what it will do.
For about three years my wife Krissy and I planted a garden. Before I go any further – you know we’ve all had our dumb moments. We’ve all done stupid things. This was one of those things for me. No joke, the first year I planted the seeds – I’m looking at the back of the package and it says the corn will grow in 6-10 days. Day 6, day 7…I was getting irritated because there was nothing there.
So, I’m serious – I actually went to the garden and dug up the corn to see if the seeds had germinated. And I immediately remembered Jesus’ parable in which He says no one plants a field and then digs it up to see if it’s growing. And I was like, well, this kid does!
And as silly as all that sounds – we do it all the time. We say, “God, you said this was what I was supposed to do. Is it working? Why isn’t it working yet?” And we push and prod and pull.
Bottom line – grace works. And it develops in our lives and we cannot stop that.
What doesn’t work is legalism and law and performance. When we have that kind of thinking and are consistently falling apart in our finances – then there’s legalism. It’s an attitude of lack and performance in our finances that is preventing that area from growing and developing.
Believe that God wants you to prosper and that it happens when we put him first and we worry about him and we let him worry about us. That’s the starting point. We have to start there – in parenting, health – we have to look in the mirror and ask, “Lord, am I doing this through grace?”
There are still those areas in my life as a grace pastor that I’m still open to that I haven’t yet been able to identify. Areas that God is going to show me and he’s going to eradicate those blind spots and I’m going to be able to walk in grace in those areas. And that’s humility that allows us to ask for help.
God uses others to speak to us when we can’t see it ourselves. He uses others to share these areas – but I have a rule. I do not let someone who doesn’t understand the Gospel of grace to speak into my life on heart issues, heart level – grace oriented stuff. Other areas – tech stuff, construction – sure. But, not heart matters because it’s the heart of the Gospel of Grace.