Who in the world is Grace and why are we talking about her all the time? What does this Grace have to do with weakness, struggle, healthy living, weight loss, addiction, cravings and 10,000 other things in this life?
Everything, my friend, everything because Grace is not a who, but is the very essence of who God is.
From the time I became a Christian at age 7 until several years ago, I never understood the hoopla over Grace.
I mean I know it’s by God’s Grace that I am saved. I always thought that meant God was just such a nice guy that He wanted to figure out a way to help me go to heaven.
That’s part of what Grace is, but thinking Grace exists just to give me an entrance ticket into heaven and wipe away all my sin so I can do whatever I want from now on, is a very child-like view.
Grace doesn’t exist just for the initial time when we accept Christ as savior. However even if it did, that in and of itself is miraculous. It required all the power in the universe to change my trajectory towards sure and certain death to sure and certain eternal life with God at the moment I accepted Christ’s sacrifice for my sin.
Why did God invent grace? I mean if I were God I’d do it different. I’d make everyone have to do a certain number of things to get into heaven.
And I certainly wouldn’t forgive all sins, past, present and future. That would mean anyone could go do their own thing and still get into heaven. It just doesn’t seem right.
God, however, did not want us to be obligated to love Him even though we have received the greatest gift ever given to us. He still wants us to come to Him out of love, not obligation.
God lifted the obligation and said our obedience to His suggestions for living a free and happy life would be indicators of our love for Him.
The only way I know how to understand it is through my relationship with my children. I don’t require them to love me, even though if it weren’t for me they wouldn’t be here. I want them to love me because they want to love me, not out of obligation.
This whole Grace thing goes even further than our obedience. When we struggle and mess up, God says to come to Him, repent and He will forgive us. Why?
We are the only work force He has on this earth. Our purpose is to carry out Kingdom business. He doesn’t want us wallowing in guilt and shame. He wants to forgive and send us out to build His Kingdom.
He tells us if we will use our gifts to serve others, He will give us abundant strength. Gifts are given so we can serve each other and Christ will be glorified.1 Even more than that, though, the gifts are given to give us Kingdom purpose.
This is a key to why we have Grace in the first place—to employ our gifts to serve each other and thereby complete our destiny.
Another aspect of Grace is to give us power when we are weak. God told Paul that Grace, which is His favor, loving kindness and mercy, is sufficient against any danger and would enable Paul to endure any trouble because God’s strength and power show themselves most effectively in weakness.2
Paul said then he would boast about his weaknesses so that the strength and power of Christ would rest and dwell on him.2
This passage comes right after he says he admitted to God he had a weakness and asked God to take it away.
Instead, God gave him something even more useful—the strength and power to overcome it. Why? Why do it that way? Why not just remove the difficulty.
Paul had a lot of good stuff going for him. This weakness kept him dependent on God. That’s why God said to him, in essence, “Don’t you understand that my power is all you need. You’re not perfect. Lean on me. Come to me. I’ve got Grace for whatever ails you.”
Mercy Me’s song, “Wishful Thinking,” has this line: “Without suffering Grace is hard to see.” It’s really hard to appreciate Grace if you’ve never had to overcome something monumental.
I don’t know what Paul’s weakness was, but I know mine. It’s food made with processed sugar and gluten. If I start eating anything with one or the other of those things I am off into an addictive spree.
I have a weakness—an addiction and I treat it as such. I do not eat things made with sugar or gluten. I have learned the hard way, one time weighing 430 pounds.
God, though, was faithful. When I admitted my weakness, it was if He said, “Well good. Now we’ve got something to work with.”
Kris Vallotton says, “Grace is the operational power of God to help you do what you couldn’t do one second before.” That definition is only activated when we humble ourselves and admit our need for God.
It felt very risky to step out and possibly fall flat on my face. I was already there, so the only way was up. Still I wondered when I committed to stop eating processed sugar would He really be there to help me?
When I took the first step, I found He was already there. It was like Grace was the wind at my back propelling me, urging me forward, giving me strength on my journey.
After losing over 250 pounds I can say, His Grace is sufficient for me. His power IS made perfect in my weakness.
If there’s one thing I do well—weakness. Thank God for His Sweet Grace.
What’s God’s Grace done for you?
11 Peter 4:10 AMP
22 Cor. 12:9 AMP
To listen to Mercy Me’s song, Wishful Thinking, go to Youtube or click HERE.
Teresa Shields Parker is a wife, mother, business owner, speaker and author of Sweet Grace: How I Lost 250 Pounds and Stopped Trying to Earn God’s Favor and Sweet Grace Study Guide: Practical Steps to Lose Weight and Overcome Sugar Addiction. Get a free chapter of her memoir on her blog at Teresa Shields Parker.com. Connect with her there or on her Facebook page.