It's Not Fair
Sometime over the last couple of years, our youngest daughter hit the “it’s not fair” stage. Her heightened awareness of injustice has caused many teary-eyed storm-offs and I would be lying if I said that I have always handled them with tact and the love of Jesus but I want to and it is a goal that I am pressing towards.
Recently we dealt with the biggest breakdown yet. Her older sister received an invitation for an all-expenses-paid trip to Disney World from her dad’s side of the family. (For the sake of clarity they are half-sisters, though we never refer to them that way.) Someone had to back out last minute due to some medical complications which left a seat open for my daughter. Of course, I couldn’t say no but I knew that the fallout from the news would be significant, to say the least. There was some screaming, many tears, and nothing that I could say to alleviate her hurt and disappointment. Yes, it was a teachable moment, one that I tried to capitalize on but when I watched her face as her sister was driven away to go on this grand adventure I could still see all those emotions written there. No, it was not fair, but as I was often told by my own parents, “life is not fair”. Thank God it's not!
I’ve been thinking a lot about grace for the past couple of weeks, ever since God began to speak to my heart through Hebrews 4:16 (which I wrote about last week). Honestly, I was sort of worried about what I was going to write about this week because the same thing is still burning on my heart and He’s still teaching me through that verse. I didn’t necessarily have anything “new” to bring to the table. So this week is written in addition to last week’s blog as I’m still learning about how to approach the throne of grace.
There was a point in my Christian journey where grace almost became like a four-letter word to me. I had heard so much teaching against the hyper-grace movement and had seen its misuse firsthand as an excuse for people to stay in cycles of sin that I began to throw the baby out with the bathwater. When I would hear the word grace I would find myself internally bristling and hardening my heart against it. Horrible, I know! I had worked through much frustration for the people that threw out all of the spiritual gifts due to fear of misuse and negative experiences and here I was doing the same thing with grace. Which I must point out is a doctrine that is much more important and integral to our spiritual walk than the gifts are!
Because we serve such a good Father, He didn’t allow me to walk down that path long before He started to redirect my perspective (i.e. prune) but recently He’s been drawing me back to what I know about the topic and I’ve realized there are still holes in my theology when it comes to grace. So I’ve been on a search recently to understand it better so that I can accept it for what it is, undeserved and therefore unfair.
What better time than Passion week to explore this topic further? We are told in scripture that God is a God of justice (Deuteronomy 32:4). How beautifully ironic is it that He, the God of Justice, would send His Son to die the most unjust death there ever was! How unfair. He paid for all sin while He hung on that tree, not just the sin that we would accept His forgiveness for, but the sins of those who would never accept Him as their savior. How unfair. He died a death that He didn’t deserve so that we can have the eternal life that we don’t deserve. How unfair! Because He died we can truly live lives far beyond our wildest dreams, lives unaffected by the shame of sin that once had us bound, because He died we are transformed into the image of the God who gave all for us to live. How wonderfully, beautifully, miraculously unfair!
That is the grace that we are offered. That is the throne that we approach with boldness. That is the grace that changes us, that transforms us, and empowers us to live beyond the control of sin.
“Sin is no longer your master, for you no longer live under the requirements of the law. Instead, you live under the freedom of God’s grace. Well then, since God’s grace has set us free from the law, does that mean we can go on sinning? Of course not! Don’t you realize that you become a slave of whatever you choose to obey? You can be a slave to sin, which leads to death, or you can choose to obey God, which leads to righteous living.”
- Romans 6:14-16 NLT
That is the good news! We don’t have to be slaves to sin any longer! There is freedom that was paid for on that cross, the very cross that we are celebrating this week. It’s time beloved that we stop making excuses for our sin, that we stop lording our experiences over the Word, and that we start believing what it says regardless of what we are currently walking in. It’s time that we expect more than what we’ve seen and start pressing on to experience the life that Christ died for us to receive, the life that He paid for when He choose to hang on the tree for you, for me. It's when we accept grace, when we stop trying to fix it ourselves that we can finally be transformed. How ridiculously, magnificently unfair, and oh how I love my Jesus because He chose to disregard the shame so that I can be free.
So let's accept His grace and walk in the freedom that He died for. Let's approach His throne boldly to be transformed into the image of His Son and let's keep pressing on until what we read is what we experience. It's time that we quit stopping short of what He paid for. It's time that we press on, no matter what the hold out, and keep seeking until we find.
Happy Easter beloved. Remember this week what He died for and press on so that He will one day receive the full reward for His suffering. It’s all that we have to offer Him and it’s only fair that we try. It’s only fair that we surrender all for the One who bled for us.
Written by Amanda Strauser