For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.
For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them. (Eph. 2:8-10).
The older I get, the more I am amazed by grace. I am also amazed at how easily we begin to cheapen and take that grace for granted when we fail to spend time with the Father, communing with Him and drawing closer to His great heart. For the more I know of Him, the more I recognize my unworthiness to be in His presence or to hear Him call me “daughter”—and the more I recognize my need for grace.
And that, of course, is what God requires of us—relationship with Him. If we claim to have relationship with Him but fail to spend time in His presence—well, maybe it’s time for a heart check to see if we really are born again. Do our hearts yearn to be in His presence? Do we miss Him when we’re away? Do we long to please Him and do His will, to hear Him say, “Well done, good and faithful servant,” not because we’ve done anything so wonderful but because He has allowed us to partner with Him and serve in His name?
As a believer of more than three decades, I tend to find my greatest temptation is to rationalize neglecting time spent WITH God by instead trying to do things FOR God. Busyness. It’s a curse, isn’t it? And I’m not just talking about the necessary things we do each day in relation to family or jobs, but rather, things like going to church or Sunday school or Bible study; witnessing to others; organizing or serving at church functions. Sure, those are good things, and I should hope that as born-again believers, we are involved in those necessary works. But why are we doing them? Because we’ve somehow slipped into the cult mentality that it can help us earn our way into heaven—or because we are so grateful to Jesus for already paying the price for our admission to heaven that we now want nothing more than to love and serve Him?
When asked to identify the greatest commandments, Jesus said, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind…. You shall love your neighbor as yourself” (Matt. 22:37, 39). Out of love, God saved and redeemed us and has promised that if we are born again, we will spend eternity with Him. He has already accomplished everything that needs to be done to assure the fulfillment of that promise. That’s grace. When we make that grace our own through faith in the sacrifice of God’s only Son, then out of love for God and others, we begin to walk in those “good works” that God has prepared for us to do.
Kathi Macias is a multi-award winning writer who has authored nearly 40 books and ghostwritten several others. A former newspaper columnist and string reporter, Kathi has taught creative and business writing in various venues and has been a guest on many radio and television programs. Kathi is a popular speaker at churches, women’s clubs and retreats, and writers’ conferences. She won the 2008 Member of the Year award from AWSA (Advanced Writers and Speakers Association) and was the 2011 Author of the Year from BooksandAuthors.net. Kathi “Easy Writer” Macias lives in Homeland, CA, with her husband.