But grow in grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. (2 Peter 3:18)
I once believed we could grow into grace through our own efforts, schemes, and formulas. It took me a long time to see that what I mostly grew through my own efforts, schemes, and formulas wasn’t grace, but self-righteousness, smugness, and condescension.
I’ve grown into grace not through success but failure, not through winning but losing, not through a break-through but through breaking apart. I haven’t achieved growing in grace; I’ve had to fall into grace.
I’ve grown into grace when I knew that it was the only way forward; when I accepted that without it I was lost, blind, and broken. There’s nothing heroic or triumphant about growing into grace. Growing into grace is painful, messy, and humbling.
Would that some book could tell us how to follow the seven grace-growing rules. The book we do have, the scriptures, reveals that God’s children grow into grace when God finds them when they’re lost, when God forgives their willfulness, when God loves their unloving selves.
We grow into grace when we finally let go of trying to earn grace. As long as we’re trying to earn grace, experiencing grace will elude us. There’re many things we can earn in this life—success at school, adulation at work, awards in the community—but not grace.
Grace insults our egos; mocks our self-improvement plans; shames our arrogance that we’re better than any other lost or broken child of God.
If we could grow into grace on our own, would God have had to send His Son? As we contemplate Jesus dying in on the cross, how could we presume to believe we can grow into grace by our own efforts?
I don’t know what roads of pain or loss you’ve experienced, but I do know that those roads are God’s means to bring you the grace of Jesus. When we continue to despise or deny those roads, we’re fighting the means by which grace becomes real in our lives.
Do you want to grow into grace? If so, then I encourage you to go to the places in your life where and how you most need it. At our most needy times and places, God’s grace has more room to enter and transform our lives.
- Do you acknowledge the defeats, mistakes, and failures that brought you to your knees, which then opened you to receive grace?
- Those who have accepted grace are called to share it. How much grace are you extending to others?
- When we know our desperate need for Jesus, we will be growing into grace. When we desperately try to hold onto our plans, our status, our egos, we will be growing away from it. Which way are you growing?