“…through whom we have received grace and apostleship to bring about the obedience of faith for the sake of his name among all the nations,…” – Romans 1:5
Our worship staff gathered this morning to discuss the first two chapters, and I must admit we were unsuccessful. We only made it through the first 15 verses of chapter 1. I, for one, was grateful because that was exactly how much I had made it through on my own. We had a beautiful honest time discussing many things that will probably appear in future blogs here. But I wanted to take a moment and share what we ran into in the ideas of grace, faith, and obedience.
I began to share about how much of God’s grace I overlook. I see where I fall short and wonder why I did not have enough grace to succeed, not that it is God’s fault. I wonder what I have done that has denied me access to that grace. Where does my faith fall short and hence my obedience as well? I am consumed with these ideas. But in focusing here, I have missed the grace that I have received. I never notice the grace that carried me through every act of obedience that day. I minimize the good, and focus on the bad. I never get to the end of a day, and thank God for the grace He gave me that allowed me not to murder anyone that day.
I know that may sound silly to you. Of course, I didn’t murder anyone today. But if I fail to notice God’s hand in that, then I am assuming I am capable of that good on my own. And I am quite sure that it not true. I believe that God is the source of every single good thing. And I am not capable of even one good thing without Him. Which means that every time I tell the truth, God is showing me grace. Every time I don’t commit adultery, grace. Every time I make it through a day without stealing, grace.
My friend Drake said it like this, “Our scorecard is only as long as our struggles.” We are only keeping track of our failures. Or as Hartmann said, “We’re only counting our losses, so we look at our lives, and see the score as zero to a million.” I don’t know that I’ve had a better picture drawn of how I look at life than the understanding my friends came to today.
So I’m going to take a little time today and thank God that I didn’t give my wife away to another man (Abraham, Genesis 20). That I didn’t worship a cow made of gold (Israel, Exodus 32). That I didn’t gather sticks on the Sabbath (Numbers 15). That I didn’t take a cloak and some money and hide it in my tent (Achan, Joshua 7). That I didn’t let a pretty girl cut my hair (Samson, Judges 16). That I didn’t sell my brother into slavery (Joseph’s brothers, Genesis 37). Okay, so I don’t even have a brother. But even that is a grace. Like so many other things, I don’t even have the opportunity to commit this sin. And that is the grace of God. Every kindness today, grace. Every faithfulness, grace. Every truth, grace. Every single good thing I accomplish from working hard to making dinner to praying for my kids as they go to bed is God’s grace alive in me.
I want to be thankful for that today. I want to see the whole scorecard. I think God and his plan for righteousness in my life is probably farther ahead than I think we are.