Grace

I wrote this in regards to someone saying that they were wrestling with condemnation as a result of not feeling like they had done what they felt God had told them to.

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I can certainly relate to you in regards to feeling the temptation to beat myself up or to not think God will want to bless me with more opportunities because I did not take advantage of the last ones. However, I think all of this is rooted in condemnation. I think it was only in the last few months that I started to see how big of a deal grace is. Grace is what gives the opportunities to do the things that will stretch and grow me. It had nothing to do with me doing everything right. At best all I can do is indirectly keep them from happening due to how I live. And grace will continue to give opportunities (if I believe that it will), even if I mess up the ones given in the past. While I seem to like to only believe for good things when I do everything right in the previous opportunities given, the reality is that the opportunities are a result of grace, not my strivings, spirituality, or whatever. While this may cause grace to be abused, I am starting to believe that grace in and of itself is wonderfully, incredibly ridiculous. Who would kill their perfect Son to give people who will not truly value what has been given everything? I am not deserving of it. But that's why it is grace, it is the opposite of effort. And when I line up on the side of grace in how I approach things is when I line up where Jesus died so that I could be positioned.

In case anyone wants to take my note in a way I did not intend it to be taken: Please do not think I am cheapening grace as a license to do whatever one wants. However, grace needs to be viewed as what sets one free from wrong mindsets and so forth - not a license to live in a way that is contrary to God's Word.

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And I wrote this in regards to someone asking how to defend their faith to an appologetics question about God being nothing more than one who tries to control and manipulate people in to getting them to do what He wants them to.
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God does the exact opposite of controlling and manipulating. Clearly, whoever has this idea has not looked much at the life of Christ and grace. God clearly gives choices and lets people have freedom to choose to follow him or not. However, it is only through obedience, which ultimately only comes through grace and relationship with Him, that one finds freedom. If one thinks that God is controlling them, they likely have a very poor grasp of God's love for them or the joy of being in relationship with Him. Or they might think that what they are hearing is God is really only a deceiving spirit masquerading as God (2 Cor. 11:14). Regardless, when one has a healthy concept of God they will realize that the Holy Spirit works through empowerment, not through control and manipulation. God just created a world that is obedience friendly, and disobedience unfriendly in how one reaps what they sow.