Grace has been a reoccurring theme, woven throughout many aspects of my life, lately. Yet, being disciplined, in a non-legalistic way, has also been arising as well. I have read a bit on God's Grace a very long time ago and I know the two "discipline" and "grace" appear to be opposites but are in reality two parts of a greater whole.
Sections of the first chapter have just jumped off the page waving at me like brilliant flags. I wanted a place to share them. I encourage you to pick up the book, but if you don't have time, can't find it, or simply want the "Kristi's Notes" version feel free to read on. Much of it is directly quoted from his book.
Let me also warn you if you want to know more you might actually HAVE to go get a copy of the book since it is summer ball season, gardening season, we are summer schooling, and I seem to only remember to log onto my blog a few times a year lately. That *might* change. We shall see. I can't promise I will actually get back here to tell you about chapter 2. The book is old and likely sells for pennies on used book sites.
Here are some notes.... Oh, and you all will have to forgive me because I will be typing snippets with very little explanation or segue from one to another. (Why? Cause I'm excited but tired and don't want to spend a week in "compose" mode... OH!!, and it's my blog and I don't hafta! I know, I know! It'll LOOK BETTER if I do.....but currently I just want to give you the snippets!)
p13: "An understanding of how grace and personal, vigorous effort work together is essential for a lifelong pursuit of holiness."p17: "Regardless of our performance, we are always dependent on God's grace, His undeserved favor to those who deserve His wrath."
p21: "Without a continual reminder of the good news of the gospel, we can easily fall into one of two errors. The first is to focus on our external performance and become proud like the Pharisees. The second is the exact opposite of the first. It is the feeling of guilt."p.22: "Because we are focusing on our performance, we forget the meaning of grace: God's unmerited favor to those who deserve only His wrath. Pharisee-type believers unconsciously think they have earned God's blessing through their behavior. Guilt-laden believers are quite sure they have forfeited God's blessing through their lack of discipline or their disobedience. Both have forgotten the meaning of grace because they have moved away from the gospel and have slipped into a performance relationship with God.
p24: "Years ago I heard a godly minister say, 'Discipline without desire is drudgery.'"p24-25: "What compelled or motivated Paul in such a strong manner was not a continual challenge to be more disciplined, or more committed, or more holy. Rather it was his constant heartfelt awareness of Christ's love for him. It was not the thought that "I ought to do this or that" or a feeling of guilt for not doing something that motivated him. Rather it was his overwhelming sense of Christ's love for him that spurred him on. . . . Duty or guilt may motivate us for awhile, but ONLY a sense of Christ's love for us will motivate us for a lifetime. If the love of Christ for us is to be the motivating force for a life of discipleship, how then can we come to the place where we are actually conscious of His love? The answer is, through the message of the gospel. As we continually reflect upon that gospel, the Holy Spirit floods our hearts with a sense of God's love to us in Christ. And that sense of His love motivates us in a compelling way to live for Him. . . . A sense of obligation and duty NEVER stimulates such a desire within us. Only love does that."
***Kristi side note: That last quote is SO POWERFUL to me. It has been my clinging to my basic tenets of faith and the hard to believe message of love behind the cross and resurrection that have pulled me through some of my biggest struggles. We *do* because we feel so loved we can't possibly imagine sitting without doing something. ***
p25-26: "Preaching the gospel to ourselves every day addresses both the self-righteous Pharisee and the guilt-laden sinner that dwell in our hearts. . . it reminds us that we ARE indeed sinners in need of God's grace. Perhaps more importantly, though, preaching the gospel to ourselves every day gives us the joy (... of the risen Lord), gives us courage to face the day, and offers us hope that God's favor will rest upon us, not because we are good, but because we are in Christ."p26: "Repentance is one of the Christian's highest privileges. A repentant Christian focuses on God's mercy and God's grace."
p27."May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ." (Galatians 6:14)