We want control. We want to control what we do, and how people react to us. Some of us even want control over how people act when we’re around them! The thought process is something like this: “I want people to act a certain way when I’m around because that will make me feel better.”
We might want control over the people closest to us, like our families. How many of us have said this: “If my husband (or wife) and my kids look like this or act like this, then people will think that our family is good.” Sound familiar?
You could say that I want control because I’m a baseball player, but I think it’s just because I’m a person. It’s a human thing. We want control.
Still, as a baseball player, I am very control-oriented. When I go out on that field, I don’t control where a hitter hits a ball. I don’t control when a hitter swings at it. So I have to control everything before that. I control my environment at the field. I control my workouts and the development of my technique, and I control the delivery of the pitch. All of this has helped me to succeed.
Controlling the baseball is one thing. But when it comes to family and relationships, control won’t work. You cannot control people. You have to give up control.
What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you hear the word “grace”? Is it “mercy”? How many times have you heard someone say, “Oh, I’ll give them grace this time.” It’s like saying, “I’ll just let it slide.” It’s kind of a non-spiritual way of looking at it. Grace has acquired an almost casual quality. Or we hear the word “grace” and we say, “Grace? That is Jesus dying for us. Grace is allowing us into His kingdom. It’s allowing us into His family.”
I think that perspective has merit, but there’s more to it. I finally started to truly understand grace when I heard the definition from the Oxford English Dictionary. The OED defines grace as “the free and unmerited favor of God.” How do we get God’s grace? Grace is free and unmerited. We can’t earn it. God just gives it to us.
In some ways that is so foreign! He just gives it to us? Who does that? Well, God does! Truly, that’s what He does. He just gives it to us. He simply gives us favor. And when God gives us grace, He allows us to live in it.
In the last couple of months, God has taken me on a journey into grace. Going on this journey, and understanding what it means, has been a big deal for me. I’ve been going through scripture and seeing it in a new way. I’ve been working with Biblical principles and gaining fresh insight. I’ve been learning what it really means when it says, “Don’t live by the law.” And I’ve found freedom.
Letting go of control and living strictly by grace has freed me. More on this next time. See you Thursday.