For they will inherit the earth
It’s one thing to sing “Amazing Grace.” It’s something else to experience amazing grace. Reverend Stan Long
When I came to the faith, I don’t think there was a single Sunday during those first six months that didn’t weep in church. My tears spoke of a deep conviction and gratitude that I, a sinner, was accepted and adopted into God’s family. I was humbled because His amazing grace made me an heir to His kingdom alongside my Savior, though I had done nothing to deserve it.
Over several years, this journey has taken me on a process of letting go – of preconceived notions, of things I used to hold valuable, of people whose opinions I used to hold sacred, of control of the way and timing of the shape of my life. However, the most difficult thing to let go has been my past sin.
God released it when He sent Jesus to take our sins from us:
“This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days,” declares the Lord. “I will put my laws on their hearts and write them on their minds.” Then he adds, “I will remember their sins and their lawless deeds no more.” Hebrews 10:16-17 (Jeremiah 31:33-34)
As I come to know the heart of my God and focus on Him, the process of my own release is like looking into a rear view mirror. Two things occur. The first is, as I set my eyes on what is directly before me, those things in the mirror become smaller over time. I become less concerned with them. I recognize that they must be put in the past if I am to be in the present with God.
Second, as I continue to humbly walk with God, He meets me where I am with love, grace and mercy, and propels me forward, which further reduces my attention on the past.
He has told you, O man, what is good;
And what does the Lord require of you
But to do justice, to love kindness,
And to walk humbly with your God?
If we are not walking humbly with God, we may be tempted to point our fingers at others, identifying them as EGRs. The first time I heard this expression, I had no idea what it meant. If you don’t either, EGR means Extra Grace Required. It is a sarcastic “Christian” expression meaning, “That person is really annoying, but instead of using the word ‘annoying,’ I’ll just use a nice ‘Christian’ euphemism.”
Friends, we are all EGRs. It’s the reason God sent His only Son, that whoever believes in him wouldn’t be lost but have eternal life. Whoever means you and me. Please don’t make the mistake of thinking this is written for someone else. It’s written for all of us. We are all sinners. We all need God’s grace and mercy. We all need to let go, open our hearts and let Him teach us. If Christ can be humble, so can we.
Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” Matthew 11:28-29
Next Week: The Hungry and Thirsty