The Messiness of Graceful Living

There will be no “knights in shining armor” in God’s kingdom; our armor will have many dings and dents. No, no perfect Hollywood heroes will ride to save the day; just wearied saints to look to God and, in weakness, find Christ’s strength. This, indeed, is the essence of God’s kingdom: divine greatness manifest in common people. 
~Francis Frangipane

“I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit. Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you.  Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in me he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned. If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples. As the Father has loved Me, so have I loved you. Abide in My love. If you keep my commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in His love. These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.  “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.”

~ Jesus, King of the Universe, in John 15

Oh beloved, it is true, there is nothing we can do – other than make a mess – apart from Him.  This writer is the primest of examples.   My life in the past caused so many people pain as i lived it apart from the One who only can enable me.  And even now, as i try to move with love and purpose into the people around me, all i tend to do – on some days – is make waves rather than amend the problems i was trying to address in the first place.

And He gives more grace.

We then try to fix the problems with those around us, but the tapes from the past, and the dysfunction of our humanity gets in the way of the true Love that does abound in a family that prays together and has surrendered to Him.

And His Love covers a multitude of sins.

We then, even in our willingness to grow, we stay willing to be hurt – and willing to try to establish our own positions – and take the place of the Spirit in other peoples lives.  We think, erringly, that if we simply speak truth, that others will willingly listen (even when we ourselves won’t).

And He speaks to us, and gives us counsel and comfort and courage and compassion.

Can we see it?  There is no way we can live rightly.  There is no one righteous.  No, not one apart from Him.  ANYTHING (read everything) we do on our own is bound to fail, because it is bound to the fallen flesh at work within us.

And yet, this is the very best news we have in our lives.  There is no longer any reason for us to try.  We have only one mission: connect with Him…. And even there, HE has already done the work to reconcile us to Himself.

And in finding this Connection made, it is finally where His Love can begin to flow throw us effectively into the lives of people around us.  There is.  Absolutely. No.  Other.  Way.

This writer has come to a conclusion tonight:  He is naught but a failure.  It is not that i have never known this, but the point gets driven deeper each time i learn the lesson.  And in learning the lesson, this makes me ever more thankful for the grace of G_d.  Because, in seeing the mess that i am, I get to see how crazily gracious our Gracious G_d is to me.

And you.

Courage brothers and sisters!  We are almost home.  Just let Him keep you (and me) connected to Him along the way.

You are a mess.  And God is crazy about you!
~ Larry Crabb