For by grace you have been saved through faith. (Ephesians 2:8 ESV)
Over the years, my heart has settled on a few important things that I value above all else. This journey has been long and hard, and I am not naïve enough to think that journey is over. But for now, these things I find myself coming back to as the foundation for all that’s really important in life.
Grace, trust, and love.
Without grace, trust, and love, I cannot find much to be hopeful or excited about in life. Anything else of importance seems to stem from these three things. Worthwhile relationships are built on trust. Grace gives us the capacity to practice humility, which in and of itself branches off into other significant things such as forgiveness, acceptance, honesty, and authenticity. And without love, there is nothing of lasting importance. No connection. Only rules to follow inside heartless systems (religious or secular) that use us and leave us lonely and empty.
Grace alleviates self-effort and striving to do better in order to feel better about ourselves. It allows us to discover and accept who we really are. It drives us to appreciate and love who others really are as well.
When I speak of love, I speak of the only kind that counts: unconditional. Grace makes that possible. Trust allows us to experience it.
God has created each one of us. We are uniquely and wonderfully made. He has prepared a destiny for us…a life to enjoy. We don’t have to work to please God or anyone else. Who we really are is really enough. When we learn to trust our authentic selves, we experience real love.
Be still and know that I am God…” (Psalm 46:10, ESV)
This is one of my favorite verses of scripture and it describes the foundation of my beliefs. The depth of its meaning has continued to grow more and more for me. The Message version says it like this, “Step out of the traffic! Take a long, loving look at me, your High God, above politics, above everything.”
God wants a relationship with us. He wants us to know the real Him. This is foundational to living in the freedom of God’s grace. Our view of Him can become altered through various ways. We start to see God and others through the lens of our shame and guilt. We start to see God only as what others have told us.
Bondage and performance are the byproducts of these false beliefs. We see God as scary and never satisfied. We see ourselves as failures and unworthy. We not only think we have to perform to earn God’s love, we think we have to perform to earn love from others. We think we have to fake our way through life and we think we must control our sin.
Through all of this, God continues to love on us and cover us with his grace as he pursues a relationship with us. He wants us to see Him “outside of the traffic”. He wants us to see Him for who He really is, a loving Father that wants a relationship with us. As we begin to trust God for who He truly is, we can accept the love He has for us. This leads to love flowing out of us because we now can believe what He says about us as believers is true.