Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Grace isn’t flashy, but it’s ‘weird’

Sometimes I think this thing about grace cannot be captured through writing blogs or books. It can't be contained in any digital, electronic or physical form. Because there is nothing to be 'seen'. We can't make a movie about grace or God's love. If we try to do so, we will do injustice to the depth of His love. There is nothing 'flashy' about this. We can't add a 'mega' to it and make it to the headlines. His kingdom is unseen; there aren’t big buildings and flashy people. It’s about ordinary people living in a relationship with Jesus.

Jesus was the same. He chose ‘Bethlehem’ to be born. A barn was Mary's 'labor and recovery' room and a manger was Jesus's comfy crib. Mary herself was an ordinary woman. Jesus was extraordinary by being ordinary, He chose everything ordinary or even below ordinary. That's true about His love. If it was today, the mainstream media wouldn't probably notice. Who would care what is happening in a tiny town in a tiny country? There might be some local news papers making fun of the 'carpenter-turned-spiritual-guru' who was born out of wed-lock and of his ‘weird’ set of disciples.

He didn't build mega churches and wasn't the most influential evangelical Christian. The entire nation didn’t admire Him. He was a regular guy – mostly homeless, hungry, thirsty and ultimately was killed like a criminal. His message wasn’t about material prosperity. It wasn’t about finding happiness in the ‘stuff’ of this world. He didn’t mail out letters seeking ‘partners’ for His ministry. His message wasn’t about how to make the best out of this world. He said, we are in the world but not of the world. He said he came with a sword to make divisions. Do you think today’s politically correct crowd would accept someone who says he is here to make divisions?

I can tell you from my experience, grace does make divisions. It is true.

Jesus wasn’t necessarily eloquent and didn’t posses much charisma. He talked straight. He was blunt. He was not politically correct. He didn’t give the expected answers for their questions. I doubt he was even good looking despite the fact that some of the movies and pictures portray Him as handsome and attractive.

Why is the people who has accepted the grace of God, a minority? And probably going to be a minority always? Because grace isn’t flashy! Grace is about love and it’s about RECEIVING love, it isn’t about earning or achieving, thus it goes against the grain of the religion of ‘self improvement’. It is about humility. It’s about laying down our pride of self-righteousness and accepting the GIFT of righteousness. It is not about ’10 spiritual things you can do to improve the quality of your life’. It isn’t about ‘christ-centered yoga’ to improve your devotional life. It isn’t about ’21 Christian principles for a prosperous life’. Instead, it is about REST. It is about being contented in ALL the circumstances.

Does this world know, what is it being contented in all circumstances? This world would call a person who is not working his butt off, a fool or lazy. This is true in religion as well. If you aren’t a ‘hardworking’ minister, you are probably not eligible to be a minister. Who would hire you if you don’t have a thick resume?

I have stopped looking for a big group of people with whom I can validate my faith because I am convinced that I would be part of a minority as long as I live under grace. I can’t make grace enough flashy to attract people to this message.

I can tell only the truth.

Grace is not going to fix all your problems in this world. Grace is not going to make you rich. Grace is not going to heal you from all your sicknesses. Grace is not going to make you famous. Grace is not going to make you happy all the time. Grace is not going to make you achieve sinless perfection. Throw all those unrealistic expectations out of the window and come to Jesus empty handed and here is the thing: your deep longing to be loved and accepted will be met in Him. Guaranteed! And for eternity He will never leave you nor forsake you. You will be perfectly loved as you are right now, right here without making any behavior changes or self improvements. You will be safe in His hands.

Isn't it 'weird' that someone accepting and loving us perfectly and unconditionally with all our of shortcomings, weaknesses and pettiness?

9 comments:

Amy said...

Bino,
Excellent post! Indeed, Grace isn't flashy, doesn't "conform" to any standards (human-wise), and doesn't have guarentees or promises that it will make everything in life dandy.

But Grace, Himself is so beautiful. So...of Love. So...amazing.

I love your 2nd to last paragraph. You spell it out so perfectly:

"Grace is not going to fix all your problems in this world. Grace is not going to make you rich. Grace is not going to heal you from all your sicknesses. Grace is not going to make you famous. Grace is not going to make you happy all the time. Grace is not going to make you achieve sinless perfection. Throw all those unrealistic expectations out of the window and come to Jesus empty handed and here is the thing: your deep longing to be loved and accepted will be met in Him. Guaranteed! And for eternity He will never leave you nor forsake you. You will be perfectly loved as you are right now, right here without making any behavior changes or self improvements. You will be safe in His hands."

Amen!

Blessings,
~Amy :)

Leonard said...

Amy, I hate to disagree with you, but I'm going to have to part ways with you on this one, instead of excellent, I'm going with "MOST EXCELLENT"
Best
Leonard

Bino M. said...

Leonard, You make me smile! :)

Ike said...

If God finds incentives for grace within himself, then nothing in us can disqualify us from his grace.

Aida said...

Wow! Great post, Bino!

“. . . come to Jesus empty handed and here is the thing: your deep longing to be loved and accepted will be met in Him.”

Like Amy, I love this. How wonderful to be loved by him. If we could just grasp this truth, all the other stuff wouldn’t seem so important.

Also, I agree with your statement that grace brings division. That’s very true and just seems to be the way it is. Grace has never been popular and probably never will be.

Walking Church said...

Bino - you got honourable mention at meeting of one...JA 18

lionwoman said...

Great post Bino! When we lived in the city, there were many non-denominational, charismatic churches and they all had 'grace' somewhere in their name. I believe they all meant to teach grace and even thought they were teaching grace. I attended 2 of them long term... it was confusing to hear about the freedom in Christ preached while the practices of the institution made it impossible for me to realize this freedom. You really have to 'dig' to find and see untainted grace sometimes. thanks for sharing!

Nicole said...

Wow, now isn't that freedom handed to us on a silver platter? I can't even imagine my life without Father's grace now that I know what it is! I don't have to be perfect! Yippy! I can be myself along with all the baggage that comes with me! I am still accepted and love.... It is weird, but amazingly awesome too!

Bino, love these posts brother!

Bino M. said...

WC- Thanks! Hope you didn't talk bad about me :)

Amy (LW)- I too have learned that everything with a 'grace' in it's name is not necessarily preaching/teaching/believing grace for what it is...
It looks like everybody likes that term, but when it comes to believing it for what it is, people shy away.

Thanks for sharing!

Nicole - Thank you, sis!