Grace Means Giving Up ~ BitterSweetLife

Friday, June 02, 2006

Grace Means Giving Up

Spiritual redemption

If I am really drowning in a pool of self, and the evidence seems good, then I won’t be able to suction the pool dry on my own. I’m in the pool, sunk in me. Pumping it dry would be like pulling up the carpet while I’m standing on it.

So you won’t find me laboriously bailing the self out of my soul to “make a space” for Jesus. Christ will need to make room for himself. Fortunately, this is precisely what he intends to do.

The message of grace goes something like this: Put down the sump pump and step away from your cellar-like soul with your hands in the air. Grace requires a whole-hearted abandonment of “self-improvement.” Later there will be a place for work. But never at the point of redemption.

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Andrew Simone said...

Later there will be a place for work. But never at the point of redemption.

I like those last lines. It is important to realize the beginnings are not our doings.

Belinda said...

I only make it through my blogroll on a random and sporadic basis. So why is it, that each time I come here, I find something that is so precisely what I need? See--even when from your view you're "drowning in self," you're still being used to God's purpose. Poetic, that.

Jess said...

It's a good thing too, cause if we had to do the work ourselves, it would probably be a pretty shoddy job. I know that I'd manage to stuff it up. It is not until you reach the point of realising how terribly wrong everything is and how hopeless you are to change it that you realise just how sweet God's grace is, what a gift it is. Sometimes seeing through broken eyes is just more effective.

Captain Mom said...

I like the idea that it's as if we're putting our hands in the air. Because God's grace is all about that...Him, not us. We cannot do anything, even in our vain efforts to do everything.

It's all about giving up. Giving everything up.

Thanks for pondering this...

Will Robison said...

I'm honestly confused here. I understand what you're saying in terms of this post, but what does that mean in real life? Should I quit striving to improve myself and wait for God to do it for me? Or will God provide me with an opportunity to improve myself? Or is improving myself even what God wants me to be doing? I'm willing to give up and let God take charge, but I'm just not sure how this whole thing works.

Ariel said...

This post materialized as I was thinking about what is traditionally known as "saving grace" - the special, intervening action that God takes to save a human soul.

In this context, it's fitting to make sweeping statements ("Give up, don't bother working at it!") that would be baffling if applied to other parts of life in Christ.

I didn't spell out this emphasis very clearly, though, which explains your confusion, Will. Later, the pattern of grace continues (there is always a sense in which we must surrender, and give up) but we're called to work in order to enter into this labor of love that Christ is accomplishing in us.

Thus we find paradoxical verses like Philippians 2:12-13: "Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure."

What are we to conclude? That while we are asked to exert ourselves in pursuing Christ and becoming more like him, our exertions are only secondary. We sweat in order to rest. We labor in order to gain the peace of God.

Thanks for the kind words and good reflections!


Culture. Photos. Life's nagging questions. - BitterSweetLife