Grace Upon Grace
by Impact Church
“And from His fullness we have all received, grace upon grace.” John 1:16
“Today will be different,” I declare to myself while staring at my tired reflection in the bathroom mirror. For once I will get it right. I will not lose my patience or raise my voice. My words will be full of kindness and compassion. If something goes wrong I will pause to pray and then handle each scenario with grace and poise. Yes, today I will do better. I turned to walk into the living room only to find a plant knocked over and my son gleefully throwing dirt everywhere. Just then my oldest, the self proclaimed substitute disciplinarian, yells at her brother to “stop!” He despises being bossed around by her so by the time “stop” rolls off her tongue he’s already pushed her down. Next thing I know I’m pulling them off of each other like a certified referee and yelling for them to “just go to time out right now!” Within 30 seconds I’ve lost both my patience and hopes of “getting it right.”
Motherhood has been the most sanctifying and humbling season I have ever walked through. I imagined that I would be the perfect mother. They would be the perfect children. It would be butterflies and rainbows 24-7 while a chorus of angels sang heavenly music in the background. What I’ve discovered is that I am a sinner saved by grace. I learned that I like control and when something is out of my control I have a tendency to get cranky fast. I found out that lack of sleep affects me more now than when I was in college. I learned that while I enjoy a spotless house toddlers have zero concern for such things. And the kicker – I discovered that I am not perfect in my own strength no matter how hard I try.
I need Jesus.
Sweet friends, know this, God is good at being God. He knew we would work, strive, and pursue the illusion of perfection. He knew our commitments to pull ourselves up by our boot straps and “do better” would end in disappointment. He knew trying and failing would leave us exhausted. He knew we were sinners and that we would need help. So He planned our rescue before we ever took our first breath. He sent Jesus. Jesus took the punishment we deserved for our sins and shortcomings and we received credit for His perfection. This is the greatest exchange that has ever taken place.
We can rest now.
Ephesians 2:8-9 says, “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God – not by works, so that no one can boast.” Grace has nothing to do with us but everything to do with God and His unchanging nature. Grace is defined as “the free and unmerited favor of God.” In other words, grace is an extravagant demonstration of God’s great love and it is independent from our works. Our works earn us nothing. His works earned us everything. Grace is ours for the taking.
Please listen. My bad moments don’t make me a bad mom. Your bad moments don’t make you a bad Christian. Sin doesn’t minimize the power of the gospel. If anything, it emphasizes why we need it. Romans 5:20-21 says, “But where sin increased, grace increased all the more, so that, just as sin reigned in death, so also grace might reign through righteousness to bring eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Where sin is great, rest assured, grace is greater.
Now when God looks at us He doesn’t see our bad moments, He only sees His precious Son; perfect and righteous. 1 Corinthians 1:10 says, “By the grace of God I am what I am.” And it’s in that beautiful biblical truth that we discover our identity. Beloved, we are children of God; living testimonies of God’s great grace and affection for us.
The truth is that we are forgiven, free, favored, and loved right now. Let’s tether ourselves to our identities in Christ despite what we feel. And might we confidently know that Jesus can and will shine brightly through our cracks, brokenness, and imperfections. After all, the world most needs to see Him. “That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” (2 Corinthians 12:10) When we are weak, He is strong in us.
As we begin this week let’s choose to rest in His grace. Heaven does not have a limited supply. There is enough for us. We can acknowledge our frailties yet remain sure about the work that grace is doing in our lives. It’s changing us from the inside out day by day, grace upon grace.