Boasting of Grace
Then what becomes of boasting? It is excluded. By what law? By that of works? No, but by the law of faith. For we hold that a person is justified by faith apart from works prescribed by the law. – Romans 3:27-28
As a child growing up in the Bible Belt, I thought Christians were supposed to be perfect. That’s probably why it took me a while to become one. I heard Christian classmates judging others for what they did wrong, and I knew that I could never measure up to those kinds of standards. A club for perfect people was one I could never join.
Later on in seminary, I learned about grace. Far from what I thought Christians believed when I was growing up, it turns out that God doesn’t require perfection from us in order to love us. God loves us so much that God gives us grace; unearned and undeserved. As an academic concept, it was beautiful.
After seminary, when I was going through a rough patch in my own life, my imperfection became even more apparent to me. The good news is: that’s when grace did, too. No longer an academic concept, the knowledge that God was full of grace became my comfort and strength.
Years later my life is quite good. I am sometimes tempted to feel superior about that. Sometimes I could almost boast that I pulled myself up by my own bootstraps. That’s nonsense, though. The reality is that the grace of God found me, and lifted me up, often through the hands of a whole lot of good people. I had to do my part to respond, but God’s grace is what got me there.
God, help me to boast more about God’s grace, and less about my own works.