By Your Grace
I am no longer living in doubt and fear.
I am a reasonably well-adjusted, happy senior.
I have a purpose that gives me such contentment to fulfill.
I have a full life after the death of my husband.
I could go on and on about all that the Lord, by His grace, has done in my life to free me from the chains of my upbringing and of the culture. I could list all the things He has told me, all the personal experience I have of His ways and of His grace in my life. I won’t do that here, but I do want to make the point that the more we open our whole selves up to Him and to what he asks of us, the more we are graced with love, the more our needs are met, the more we can relax and not worry about anything outside of our relationship with him. The end goal of all this journeying with the Lord is to be so totally joined that we can’t see the difference between Him and us, so that we can pour out his love to everyone else.
Contrary to so much of what I was taught—that God was out there and I was totally separate from him, I now know that the deeper I go into my own true self, the more I let go of all the culture has taught me, the more I find God there, the Indwelling Spirit of God. That being made in his image [Genesis 1:26] means that within each of us lies the potential to follow His Spirit, to allow Him to mentor us and, finally, to realize the kingdom within us, despite our free will, despite a tendency to sin. That the more we surrender our small selves to Him, the more we tie ourselves to God. That the more he is able to act through us and with us and in us, the more we will realize our whole potential—the very person he created us to be.
It is not an outward journey into God, but an inner journey jettisoning all that is world-centered or ego-centered. And as we take that road inward we discover the treasure trove within us, created in us at our conception—the gifts and talents and even the learnings from the challenges we have faced in this lifetime—along with the Indwelling Spirit as our guide and mentor and friend and diviner of what our life is to be in God.
It’s a huge step into the unknown, but as we take step after step down his path for us, we find affirmation of who we were created to be, we find love of ourselves by God, but also love, embrace and acceptance of ourselves as we follow God’s example. We are abandoning the world’s wisdom for us and following God’s. We are, through love, bringing the ego under the aegis of the true self, the soul, the place within us where God dwells.
We are taking our whole self to God so that we might become holy, to be wholly devoted to God. It is the great adventure of a lifetime, because only God knows the path and only He knows the end result. We may get hints along the way, but only God knows the truth. The adventure requires a great trust in the providence of God, in his presence, in his caring, in his support, in his goodness. All this love is not solely for ourselves, so that we can feel a whole lot better, but ours to share with the world, however our purpose would ask of us.
I do think that God outlined for us the conditions which bless us in this lifetime and those which bring curses for us in the Exodus story. Several times he sketched out the results of our behavior this way [Deuteronomy 11:26-28 & 30:15ff]: If we follow the law and commandments, our lives will be blessed, whatever we put our hands and minds to will thrive, our families, too, and all that we touch will prosper. If we refuse to follow the law and commandments, we will be cursed; we will certainly be destroyed by the fear and paranoia and anger that going against the law will produce in us.
He has warned us about our behavior. The closer we live to his law—and especially to the Spirit of the Law, the two underlying principles outlined by Jesus—to love God with all of ourselves and to love our neighbor as ourselves—the more at peace we will be. The more we will look to God as the source of all love and goodness. The further from the law that we get, the unhappier, more anxious and paranoid we will be, the more we have to fear from God, from our own choices, from life itself. Pastor Nadia Bolz-Weber interprets the Bible’s teachings about sin: “in the end, we aren’t punished for our sins as much as we are punished by our sins.”[Nadia Bolz-Weber, Accidental Saints: Finding God in All the Wrong People, Convergent, New York, 2015, p.130]
God is God, as God is always. We, however, can change how we see him in a second, change the trajectory of our lives from hell on earth to blessed, any time we want. We can live in His grace forever.
Questions to ponder over the week: As I go through my days, am I aware of all the blessings and grace the Lord is sending my way? Do I see this journey as an outward one to God? What are the implications to me that God is out there? Or is it an inward journey to God’s Indwelling Spirit, to my true self? What makes the difference in how I believe, how I feel about God in each of these descriptions of the journey? Do I see my choice to sin as punishing me? That it is my own choosing to be punished? Do I see that my choices could bless me if I made the right ones?
Blessing for this week: May we be the people of God who know exactly who we are in relationship to Our Creator, who are aware of all that God is doing in our lives. May we be servants of the Most High.
*****I’m doing more research for my book. If you have had the experience of God revealing to you what your purpose is, would you write me in the Messages and tell me what that purpose is and how it came about. I would greatly appreciate your help. I’ll use it in my book, but the writer will remain anonymous.
My book, “Thy Kingdom Come!”, is up on Amazon in both paperback and Kindle versions. Look under Patricia Said Adams.
I have an essay published in an anthology of writings by Christian authors, entitled “What Can We Learn About Suffering From the Exodus Story.” The book is entitled Let Hope Arise by Authors for Christ and is available on Amazon.