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Grace. What do you think of when you hear that word? How about "delight"? What do those words mean to you?
When I was at the beach recently, I was able to spend some time walking on the beach with my friend, Grace (not to be confused with the concept of grace 😋) as we talked about our lives, what God had been teaching us, and everything in between.
As we talked, the subject of God's grace and delighting in Him came up. And while neither of those topics are exactly easy to grasp right off the bat, they are both critical parts of the Christian faith. So today, I want to share a little bit about our conversation with you.
Words of GraceDuring our conversation, Grace started describing a beautiful concept she's been learning lately. She explained that a lot of people have this idea of God being disappointed in us when we sin. And of course, God does hate sin, and in one sense, He is disappointed when we sin against Him. And we are responsible for our wrong-doing. But, Grace went on to explain, disappointment comes when there are unmet expectations, but God knew from the time He saved us (really, He's known forever) all the sins we would ever commit. And with that knowledge of every wrong, and every heartache we would cause Him, He still saved us.
And knowing what He knew, He still says that He delights in us. God did not say "I delight in you", only to retract it when we mess up. He gave His delight knowing full-well the sins we will commit when we are 40, 60, and 80. His grace extends to all of those, and His delight in us continues even when we sin (in the "little sins" and the "big sins").
Despite my FeelingsI've always struggled with God's grace, and the concept of Him delighting in me. I've always felt that He saved me out of some sort of begrudging love. He didn't "have to", but He kind of did. This, of course, is entirely false, but I still struggle with feeling this way.
But God's word, the Bible, tells us that God loves us (Romans 8:37-39), God delights in us (Psalm 149:4; Zephaniah 3:17), and God gives grace to us (Romans 11:6; Romans 6:14; 1 John 1:9). He sees us and He accepts us. He sees us and He loves us. He sees us for who we are, yet He still delights in us.
Opposite Ends of the SpectrumOftentimes, Christians will fall into one of two extremes: grace or damnation.
I tend to focus on God's justice and hatred of sin to the point that I doubt his love and mercy towards me- that's damnation. Others however, focus so much on God's grace and love, that they forget that He hates sin. Everything is about love and acceptance and grace, skipping over the fact that God calls us to holiness and righteousness- this is a distortion of grace. But as in most things, there's a balance that needs to happen.
God loves us. God hates our sin. God gives us grace when we fail, but He calls us to true holiness. God delights in us as His children, but our poor choices still sadden Him.
Those things all work together. We as faulty humans have a hard time bringing them together, but God sure doesn't.
God gives us grace. That's not an excuse to keep on living however we want, or to keep on sinning (Romans 6:1), but it is an invitation to rejoice. It's an occasion to celebrate. It's a reason to live a life of peace and joy- all because of Jesus!
Do you feel you have a good grasp of God's grace and delight? Do you tend to overly focus on one side of God's character more than another? Comment below.