More than a decade ago a mentor asked me if I could define grace. I couldn’t. I honestly didn’t understand the concept of grace. So I did what I always do, I researched it. Because girls who base their lives on performance and competency don’t like it when we don’t know the answer to something. In my spare time I researched and wrote an essay on the subject of grace. Yes, I know, the irony isn’t lost on me.
I figured out what grace was. Created a two word definition that summed it all up and wrote a 3 page paper of the deeper issues of grace. I’ll spare you the thesis paper, but my definition was simply this: unmerited favor.
Having done my research and created a catch phrase to describe grace (so I would never be caught without an answer again) I moved on. I thought my lesson on grace was over. Boy, was I wrong. I mean… I was so wrong!
The last decade of my life has been a war… between my desire to perform and God’s desire for me to receive grace. I was convinced that grace was a good thing. In fact I liked grace. I added to my life daily. Bible Study and some grace. Church attendance and some grace. Service and a little grace. Grace became the cherry to my hot fudge sundae of good religious works.
But unmerited favor only works when the favor is actually unmerited. I was working really hard to earn the grace that I was never asked to work for, but simply receive.
I have a Latin phrase tattooed on my arm, sola gratia, it reads. Grace alone. Grace, unmerited favor. Alone.
Here’s the truth, His love for me is unmerited. I’ve done nothing to earn it. It’s just simply mine. Hard to believe? You bet. A huge relief? You have no idea.
Every day I see these words; grace alone, sola gratia, and it makes me pause. Grace alone brings rest. Grace alone brings joy. Grace alone brings gratitude. And, ironically, grace alone brings a security in a relationship with Jesus that works and striving never can.
I’m still learning what it means to live in grace- alone. Care to join me?