Going through the motions doesn’t please you,
a flawless performance is nothing to you.
I learned God-worship
when my pride was shattered.
Heart-shattered lives ready for love
don’t for a moment escape God’s notice. (Psalm 51:16-17, The Message paraphrase)
The process of changing and growing includes the gift of the Spirit’s conviction in our lives. It doesn’t feel like a gift when we experience it. Guilt, a realization of failure, a shattering of pride — it feels awful.
And if we don’t understand something crucial, then we can distort conviction and misunderstand it as condemnation. We must understand — in head, heart, and soul — that we live within and are sustained by the grace of God. The Grace that suffered alongside a thief on the cross, that forgave his executioners in the moment of death, that triumphed over sin and left it empty as the tomb. This grace of Christ is for you and for me, both in our moments of “success” as well as our moments of faith-failure: sin, shortcoming, selfishness.
Grace buoys us, sustains us, and even empowers us to change. Grace picks us up and dusts us off and sets us aright again. As we embrace this grace, come to know it more and more, grace becomes the catalyst that transforms static into dynamic.
God, make a fresh start in me,
shape a Genesis week from the chaos of my life.
Don’t throw me out with the trash,
or fail to breathe holiness in me.
Bring me back from gray exile,
put a fresh wind in my sails! (Psalm 51:10-12, The Message paraphrase)
God’s grace answers this prayer for us, willingly and daily.