We want control. We want to control what we do. We want to control how people react to us. Some of us even want to control the way people act when we’re around them! We want all this control because we imagine that it will make us feel better.
We might want the most control over the people closest to us, like our families. How many of us have said, “If only my husband (or wife) and my kids would look like this or act like this, then people would think that our family is good.” Sound familiar?
As a baseball player, I had to work very hard to develop my control. But it’s not just an issue in baseball. We all feel it. Wanting control is just part of being human.
Still, as a pitcher, I was very control-oriented. When I went out on that field, I couldn’t control when a hitter would take a swing at a pitch or where he would hit the ball. So I had to control everything before that. I controlled my environment at the field. I controlled my workouts and the development of my technique. I controlled the delivery of the pitch. All of this helped me succeed.
Controlling the baseball is one thing. It was critical to my success. But when it comes to family and relationships, control won’t work. You cannot control people. Off the mound, I had to learn to give up control.
What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you hear the word “grace”? 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. How often do you hear the word “grace,” and think, “mercy”? 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.
God took me on a journey into grace. Going on this journey, and understanding what it meant, was a big deal for me. It completely changed the way I read scripture. I began working in brand new ways with Biblical principles, and through that, I began enjoying fresh new insights. I’ve been learning what it really means when the scripture says, “Don’t live by the law.”
And I’ve found freedom. Letting go of control and living simply by grace has freed me.
More on this next time. See you Thursday.