Grace proclaims the awesome truth that all is a gift. All that is good is ours, not by right, but by the sheer bounty of a gracious God. We have been given God in our souls and Christ in our flesh. We have the power to believe where others deny, to hope where others despair, to love where others hurt. This and so much more is sheer gift; it is not reward for our faithfulness, our generous disposition, or our heroic life of prayer. Even our fidelity is a gift. “If we but turn to God,” said St. Augustine, “that itself is a gift of God.” My deepest awareness of myself is that I am deeply loved by Jesus Christ and I have done nothing to earn it or deserve it.
~ Excerpted from The Ragamuffin Gospel by Brennan Manning
Much of what I’ve come to understand and embrace regarding God’s grace began with Brennan Manning and The Ragamuffin Gospel. One of the most significant statements Brennan makes is the final one in the paragraph above.
“My deepest awareness of myself is that I am deeply loved by Jesus Christ and I have done nothing to earn it or deserve it.”
Don’t race past it. Pause long enough to read that sentence again. In fact, I challenge you to take five full minutes and just meditate on the reality of what Brennan is saying. It expresses well what Paul states in his letter to the believers in Rome.
“But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” ~ Romans 5:8
At the very core of who you are, how do you see yourself? It is no small question. From our core identity flows how we do life, how we view others, even how we respond to the circumstances of life.
Many different voices and experiences of life speak to who we are and how we see ourselves. Some are well-meaning and helpful; many are negative and detrimental. God wants us to hear his voice above all others as He speaks into our hearts…