Late last night as it was impossible to sleep in a strange bed, I reviewed the many voices I heard during the day at the CCEF convention.  My response at about 3 a.m. was a paradox. 

Sadness came first.  It is so sadness that God’s grace is so high, so long, so deep and yet, we run from it in our selfishness to be right, affirmed, fixed, and anything else that is far from the glory of God.  We will chase all the attributes and characteristics of being good people and even Godly people except for being living and visible expressions of God’s grace.  I was sad that even I struggle to realize that I too along with everyone else will give grace and receive grace as long as I am not the offended person.  Once someone offends me and causes me great pain, I want to run as fast as I can from them.  More than likely the people who will hurt us the most are those who we love the most.  It is our default setting to run to the law instead of being full of love and be driven to grace.  That makes me sad. 

Incredible contentment followed the sadness.  See, that is just it.  I am incapable of being a bearer of grace on my own.  I need the relationship with the Lord.  I need the time in prayer.  I need the time with the body of Christ, yes, the church.  I need to worship.  I need any aspect of God I can freely have.  Why?  Not to be right.  Not to be good.  I need it to have the attitude of Christ who humbled himself and came to give his live as a ransom for me.  I was a prisoner of my own sin.  He came to set the prisoners free.  Our real calling in life is to be the example of this grace not just in our obedience but in our outpouring of grace and love.  That means we are going to be hurt.  That means we are going to be trampled.  That means we are going to suffer.  That means it is unfair. 

Again, that is just it.  Everywhere I turn Jesus came to give a different life.  It was a kingdom life.  No, it is a kingdom life and he even told the disciples it is not and would not be like this worlds kingdoms.  It is about suffering and serving and sacrifice.  It is a life that Peter made mention that people would ask us of our hope.  In order to ask, people have to take notice of something different and it had nothing to do with dress, hair length and many of the other crazy issues conservative Christians have attached to the gospel over the years.  It has to do with how we love.  Love has always been thrown around in our world.  People talk about falling out of love.  Guess what, maybe you were never in love to begin with since real love does not turn on and off.  Christians are to be great lovers.  How are they to love…with unmatachable and unimaginable grace.

That is the key to our relationship with Christ.  I spent too many years thinking a relationship with Christ was a devotional and church attendance and many other THINGS.  While many of those things are good, they are not the object of our faith.  Loving God and then loving our brothers and sisters and then loving those who are not children of God are the objects of our faith.  It is how we love. 

How can we do this.  It always comes full circle.  The way of love and the outpouring of grace even to those who hurt us is only through Christ.  Christ alone.  We are not to worship the Bible.  We are to worship the author of the Bible.  We are free in Christ to truly love.  I am not saying that boundaries are not to be set.  I am not saying that gross sin is to be  let go without consequences.  I am saying that grace has to be the driver of all the above.  That grace can only come from the Redeemer, Jesus. 

If there is no movement in the heart concerning such a great salvation where we are recipients of such a grace and a lack of love is evident, we each need to take a moment in the presence of our Lord and come to him.  We are to open our hearts to the Savior is our only hope.  It is the only way to love. 

Yes, I am content.  I am content that it rests with Christ.  I can’t.  I know he can.  I also know he will.