Elyse Fitzpatrick, a counselor, once told her small group about how God had moved her from a legalistic, works-oriented faith to a "grace-filled, peaceful existence with my merciful heavenly Father."
"The pressure is off me," she told them. "Don't get me wrong; it's not that I'm not pursuing holiness. It's just that I know that my Father will get me where He wants me to be and that even my failures serve, in some way, to glorify Him. My relationship with God is growing to be all about His grace, His mercy, His power."
Then Elyse's friend "astounded" her by responding, "That must be such a blessing for your husband, Elyse. To be walking in that kind of grace must enable you to be so patient and so grace-filled with Phil. To know that God is working in him just as He's working in you must make your marriage so sweet and your husband so pleased. It must be great for hiim to know that the pressure is off for him too."
The reason this friend "astounded" Elyse is because Elyse rarely made the connection her friend made. "I scarcely ever extended to Phil the grace I enjoyed with the Lord. Instead, I was frequently more like the man in Jesus' parable, who after he was forgiven a great debt, went out and beat his fellow slave because he owed him some paltry sum."
Thursday, May 31, 2007
An excerpt from Gary Thomas' Sacred Influence: