I clearly remember when I started learning about the grace life and it was painful. We were studying Roman’s at Good News Bible Church. By the time we hit Romans 3 and 4 my world was falling apart. I felt like someone had yanked the carpet out from under me. My old paradigm of the Christian life was under severe attack by a fresh and unsettling idea, grace.

By the time we hit Romans 3 and 4 my world was falling apart.

For much of my life I believed that obeying was the core of the Christian life. I believed we were saved by grace through faith in Jesus but I didn’t think we lived under the same principles of faith and grace. I was a legalist. Even though I don’t want to be one, in some ways I still am a legalist because earning God’s favor is more rewarding than receiving it by faith. Working to earn God’s favor builds my ego.  It’s an attitude I keep rejecting to this day.

Obeying isn’t the core of Christian living.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for obeying. But obeying isn’t the core of Christian living. Trusting Jesus is. When it started dawning on me that obeying wasn’t the core of Christian living I felt disoriented. I felt like a squirrel running on a round exercise wheels. I was running but getting nowhere. Life felt destabilized. I wanted to find something to bring stability. The transition from working for God’s favor to receiving God’s favor by faith was painful but worth it.

I can always tell when grace-life ideas hit a legalist.  They respond like I did.  They are upset, disoriented, and even angry.  When we place confidence in works/behaviors/obeying and someone explains that our confidence is misplaced, its upsetting.  I can see a sincere legalist coming from across the room. (no offense intended to any legalist readers).  Just like I did, they are scrammbling to make sense of an idea that blows us up.

Here is my advice to those struggling to embrace graceful living.  Stop!  Stop doing all the things you think Christians are supposed to do until God’s grace overwhelms you.  Please note, I’m not saying go join “Christians gone wild.”  I’m saying it’s more important to receive and enjoy God’s grace than it is to do something for God.  Actually our doing frequently blocks God’s grace.  Then, once God’s grace grips you again, and only then, begin doing the things Christians do.  You will have begun living the Christian life.

Grace Freak,

Dan Rockwell

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