I believe in God, I have an idea of what He’s like, and I want to do well by Him. I know He loves me, accepts me, and when I die, I’m going to heaven.
So, what now?
How do we live each day with God as the elephant in the room? How do we deal with stress and anxiety? What’s His role in our lives? Do we exhaust ourselves trying to please Him? Or rest in the knowledge that He loves us just the way we are? When we sin, will He bust our chops? Or can we use a get-out-of-jail-free card, claim forgiveness, and party on with no fear?
How do we establish the rules of engagement with God? It’s the “How then shall we live?” question. Will we crawl back into our “I’m just a sinner” hole and never shine the light of Jesus into a single life? Or will we take Him at His Word and live a different kind of life?
I believe the answer is in understanding, receiving, and living in God’s grace.
We have to recognize and embrace His unconditional love and receive His full forgiveness from our sins. And then, from that, we have to develop an attitude of gratitude and trust. It’s the key to navigating this life without anxiety.
If we want to lead ourselves, our families, and others through good times as well as adversity, we have to learn to see God’s hand in circumstances, interpret His will and the lessons He’s teaching, and then communicate it in a way that gives others peace and confidence. We’re interpreters of God’s grace.
One of my favorite Bible stories is in Luke 17, where Jesus tells the story of “the returner.” Remember . . . the one leper (of the ten He healed) who came back to say thank you? That guy got it.
The Jesus-followers who “get it” are like that guy, they have grateful hearts that remember, “Hey, I don’t deserve anything, but God, for whatever reason, has chosen to adopt me, to heal me . . . to forgive me and to give me ‘life and life to the full.’”
Somehow, they know those blessings aren’t deserved. There’s a sense of humility deep in their hearts; God gets all the credit for everything good in their lives. They serve quietly, love deeply, give generously (and often anonymously), and are rock-solid, go-to guys for their families, churches, and for those in their spheres of influence.
It’s easier to understand the grace of God conceptually then it is to apply it to our futures. We still get stuck on things like, “Will I have a successful career?” “Will my marriage stay healthy?” “Will my kids turn out all right?”
Since the only sure cure for anxiety is a grateful heart, we have to learn to trust God with outcomes . . . to develop an attitude of gratitude and trust towards Him.
Grace is the answer. Will you receive it, embrace it, and humbly let others see it as you live your life?
Scripture: One of them, when he saw he was healed, came back, praising God in a loud voice. He threw himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked him—and he was a Samaritan. (Luke 17:15-16)