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Grace is the cushioning for when I fall. Because I’m going to fall.

Grace is what catches me, shields me, covers me,

helps me up and brushes me off,

and whispers to me,

All is not as it seems. Do not fear. Do not give up—only believe.

When my faith falters, when patience runs dry, as exhaustion sets in,

and for all those times my humanity leaks from even the best intentions…

Grace is there.

Yet grace is so much more.

Grace is what turns small faith into great faith,

what transforms defeat into victory.

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Grace is beside me in striving for all that is good

and right

and true

and beautiful.

But… a panacea grace is not.

It seems lately that grace too often trumps obedience.

We hear so much about grace—in books, from the pulpit, entwined in song…

Don’t be so serious. Lighten up. It’s all good. Nobody’s perfect. That’s what grace is for.

Like disposable wipes.

Got a spill? Grab some grace, and presto—all better. No worries.

But that’s not grace.

Grace cost an innocent man’s life, on an instrument of torture like none other.

Which is why some folks aren’t interested.

To infer they have need of such grace is distasteful, repulsive…

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Over the years I have learned about grace.

My belief in grace is the very thing that keeps me

trusting, waiting, praying, hoping and moving forward.

But I also believe in personal responsibility,

in the principle of sowing and reaping,

in walking in the Spirit instead of walking in the flesh…

Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? Certainly not!…

Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? Certainly not!…

Having been set free from sin, you became slaves of righteousness…  –  Romans 6

Fortunately grace isn’t just for the times when I give into the flesh,

And then shrug it off,

figuring I’ll show up later to ask forgiveness.

When I find myself thinking this way, I’ve become too casual.

I’ve forgotten the power of sin, the deceptiveness of my own heart,

and I’ve lost my reverence for a holy God.

Sorry, but I just can’t picture my Savior in sweats,

nudging me to loosen up and live a little, to exercise more grace.

I seem to remember in the New Testament,

grace is more about assisting me in holy living,

not condoning my unholy lifestyle…

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Grace gives sight to the blind man.

It reaches out to keep him from stumbling in the darkness.

Instead of continuing my bad habits.

Grace is what enables me to set those habits aside and make new habits.

So, I choose to remember the cost of grace,

to keep myself from taking it for granted,

to guard against presuming upon it,

and to rely upon His grace more and more as Christ works (and I cooperate)

in this process of becoming more like Him.

And God is able to make all grace abound toward you,

that you, always having all sufficiency in all things,

may have an abundance for every good work.  –  II Corinthians 9:8

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