THE BLESSING OF A BEATING HEART
Earlier last week as I laid on my bed, the position I was in enabled me to feel the rhythm of my heart. As I became relaxed and still, I paid special attention to the movements, visualizing the organ as it circulated blood flow through its valves. Feeling these pulsations in my chest brought me to peace as I fell in awe and wonder of God: Do we slow down enough to appreciate that which we have no control over, but which have such significant roles in our lives? Feeling my heartbeat reminded me I am not in control of anything other than my choices. And by the grace of God, even those are influenced through faith in Jesus, that I can see what I would otherwise remain blind to without. What is it we cannot see without the grace of the Holy Spirit?
BLIND TO GRACE
The truth is that the answer to this question would be fruitless to those having not first received God’s grace. But receiving God’s grace undoubtedly answers the question on its own. In other words, to have received God’s grace is to be humbled enough keep it; to not have God’s grace is to be blind to the treasure of knowing we need it.
I would like to spend this article appreciating God’s grace and looking more deeply into the experience of recognizing the beauty of what isn’t ours to give ourselves.
Honestly, grace was, more or less, a weightless spiritual term for me before recently. While it held its place in the spiritual conversation, the character of grace did not live up to its name. Little did I understand until recently that it was because I had not received grace more fully, rather, I had only taken notice of grace on the surface. To know of grace — as a religious term — is to have knowledge of a word without its context or purpose. To receive grace is to feel renewed in our heart by realizing we are in need of divine correction. Without grace, we will not desire correction. We may view ourselves as a work in progress, believing we know how to fix what is broken on our own. The problem is, we believe we can correct ourselves while misunderstanding what it means to be corrected, when in fact, it is our skewed understanding of “correctness” that prevents us from understanding that that very notion is the problem.
DIRECTIONS TO A MEANINGLESS DESTINATION
Grace instigates change on the inside. God reframes our understanding of what it means to receive an outpouring of His love, rather than knowing of His gift as if directions to a place we’ll never travel to. What difference would it make to know how to get somewhere we’re not interested in going? What difference would grace make if we could not understand the current state of our soul? Grace pulls away the veil and reveals, with the light of Christ, the dark space that is our blindness. We cannot remove a veil if we can’t take notice of an obscuration of our view.
INTERNAL EXCAVATION AND REBIRTH
It’s possible for grace to be believed, but still not received. There is a difference. Received grace can be noticed in the fruit of a person’s actions. When we receive grace, there is an internal shift—an entire excavation of our original self to make space for our new self. What’s amazing is that with in receiving grace, our spiritual eyes are opened, and we find ourselves desiring this excavation. Afterwards, we begin to understand Christ’s goal through His death and resurrection, and we become witnesses to our own transformation.
Some people fear or suspect this “excavation process” to be what some might call the brain-washing effects of Christianity. Let me be clear—there is no manipulation or deception taking place. The truth of the Spirit of Christ speaks for itself. We cannot stop grace from interacting with our spirits anymore than we can stop water from being wet— this is the natural communication between God’s grace and our spirit. Grace does not need manipulation to have an impact; its intrinsic form reveals our most inner self by wiping the manipulation and deception of sin from our eyes; no facades, no defenses, no excuses—only the truth.
The reality of grace is that it changes our view of ourselves. When we see ourselves differently—spiritually-speaking—our new spiritual view changes how we see the world around us as well. Likewise, once we understand who we are by the power of God’s grace, there is no returning to our previous identity (life before Christ) because to return would be to pretend not to see what cannot be unseen.
LIBERATED BY A LACK OF CONTROL
When I felt my heart beating while lying down, I acknowledged to myself that at any moment, my heart could simply stop. This realization is grace itself in action, reminding me how beautiful it is not to be in control of everything. We are given so much control, and yet to truly see our lives from the bigger picture (what I like to call the “bird’s eye view”), we realize that the control we have is so little—and yet, it is enough.
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