As much as we’d like to be transformed immediately when we accept Christ into our hearts, it is a lifelong process. We become a new person in Christ, but it takes effort and determination to build the character of Jesus within us. I beg to differ with anyone who says it’s a cakewalk. It’s a day-by-day, dying to ourselves, and choosing where we put our focus and shifting our desires to no longer please ourselves, but to please God.
John 15:1-5 (KJV)
1 I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman. 2 Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit. 3 Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you. 4 Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me. 5 I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.
I am so thankful for the gift of the Holy Spirit once I accepted Jesus as my Lord and Savior.
John 14:26 (KJV)
But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.
I am now on a journey of grace. I have been picked up, brushed off, and held up by the loving arms of my Father. But that doesn’t mean that life doesn’t continue. We’re not put in a bubble that keeps us from getting knocked around by circumstances and situations. But how we respond to what we go through is where grace happens.
As I wrote in my previous post, I allowed myself to be offended, feeling left out at a luncheon at work. I went inward, determined that I would not allow anyone close enough to hurt me. One day led to a week of eating lunch at my desk alone. But then God spoke. Yes, I felt hurt, but the wonderful thing He said was that I had allowed my walls to come down in the first place and to trust again.
Without going too far on a rabbit trail, I am divorced. I discovered that some women who I counted as friends actually vied for my husband’s attention. And other female friends who I thought would stand beside me through the healing process after, were nowhere to be found. I built and stayed in a self-made prison of protection for years. I am so thankful that God loved me enough to not allow me to stay there any longer. By His grace, by the Holy Spirit and company of Godly women, the walls came down and I was freed.
I’ve learned that I really need a better understanding of His grace. After the offense at work, one afternoon God said “Go for a walk.” I rebutted quickly with “I don’t want to.” And again, the gentle voice came “Go for a walk.” He said it wouldn’t be a long walk, and I was led to the town library 2 blocks away. My library card was actually chewed up by a dog we had a few years earlier, but I went in, paid for a replacement card and immediately went upstairs, down a specific aisle, and looked up and knew I had to pull out 3 specific books (not by my choosing but led by Holy Spirit). All 3 books had “Grace” in the title. I chuckled, and God said ever so softly, “You need a deeper understanding of My grace”.
I know in my heart this was all God, because I had my mind made up the only book I should be reading was the actual Bible, along with using a Concordance. Not coming to really accept Christ until I was 50 years old, I believed I had to “catch up” with where others were in church and couldn’t be bothered with other books.
So begins this journey of a deeper understanding of His grace.