Smoother

Jason and I had a really powerful conversation this morning. While I’d like to say we have them all the time, we don’t. Making the gospel a practical part of every day life and every day talk is still new to us.  We need practice. And training. And heaps of grace.  

I’ve been reading “Because He Loves Me: How Christ Transforms Our Every Day Life” by Elyse Fitzpatrick. Here’s an excerpt that helps better explain what I’m getting at:

“…even though we believe the gospel, the occasions in which the gospel (the incarnation, sinless life, death, bodily resurrection, and ascension of the Son of God) actually intersect and powerfully affect our daily life are infrequent.” 

I know Jesus died for me, but what does that mean on a Tuesday afternoon when my computer is freezing and Charlie just pooped on the carpet {again!} and the water has just boiled over and Liam’s drawing on the wall? What then of the cross, oh ye of little faith?

The gospel is as relevant then as it is at tragic news or deep sin or shocking crisis. But we seem to know the relevance when the weightier things take place. And not so much when the every day disappointments do. 

But if Christ wants and cares about all of me, and died for all my sin, then I want to know how to bring all of me to Him. Today we talked about what that looks like. Jason and I. 

One of us messed up. Plans changed and didn’t look how we wanted them to look for the day. So attitude ensued and a cold shoulder made its grand debut. Sin. What could easily look like mere “frustration” was actually pride rearing its ugly head. Almighty Self and Almighty Plans had gotten assigned a back seat to rainy campground and new agenda. And that wasn’t going to be okay. 

Normally we would have either let it go or brushed over it with an apology, but this morning we talked about it in light of the gospel and what resulted was very profound (tears and repentance profound) to me. When said “offender” was confronted with “What do you think God is trying to teach you in this” by the offended, the answer was so telling:

“I don’t know. That I need to do better.”

“Where is there room for the gospel in that?”

“I don’t know.”

When pressed further with the question, “What are you hearing right now?”, the response was:

“You’re stupid. You shouldn’t have responded that way. You failed again. Just like always.”

Crazy, right? Isn’t that an incredibly sad response for someone who knows Jesus and talks about the gospel with great frequency? But therein lies my point. And also the reason why I didn’t say who was the offender or who was offended. It could be either Jason OR I depending on the day. 

Elyse calls it “identity amnesia.” She asks, “in your pursuit of godliness have you left Jesus behind?” 

In other words, are you resting solely on works and performance to do it better next time and therefore {hopefully} attain salvation or Christ’s love? Our conversation this morning indicates that practically speaking, the answer would be YES!

But the GOOD NEWS of the gospel is that it is finished. Christ’s perfect life, death and resurrection completed the work that I could not complete on my own. And therefore frees me to say, “I’m sinful. I wanted today to go how I wanted it to go because I like to make things all about me for my glory. I’m so sorry for the way I treated you because of my sin. Would you please forgive me?”

And voila. Grace. Always from God and hopefully quickly from other believers. 

As I sit and write this, I’m alone on the beach. The waves here on the Pacific Coast are fierce and relentless. They have been crashing, LOUD, this entire time I’ve been writing. They keep coming. Without fail. Behind each wave is an ocean of waves. 

Behind each of God’s waves of grace is an ocean of grace. 

Because He loves us so. Do you need to hear that today? Will you believe that today? Just as the stones on this beach are smooth and shiny from being tossed by those waves again and again—God’s grace makes us smooth like Him. As we respond more quickly in repentance and receive His grace, we find freedom and joy. 

May you find joy in Christ today. 

It’s essential for us to think about God’s love today because it is only his love that can grant us the joy that will strengthen our hearts, the courage that will embolden us in our fight against sin, and the assurance that will enable us to open up our lives to him so that he might deal powerfully with our unbelief and idolatry. If we’re not completely convinced that his love is ours right now-fully and unalterably ours-we’ll always hide in the shadows, focusing on our performance, fearing his wrath. Prayer will be hard because we won’t want to approach him or be transparent before him. Witnessing will be a chore, for who would want to talk to others about a god who is demanding, angry, or cold? If we don’t consciously live in the light of his love, the gospel will be secondary, virtually meaningless, and Jesus Christ will fade into insignificance. Our faith will become all about us, our performance, and how we think we’re doing, and our transformation will be hindered. What must we remember? Simply that God loves us so much that he crushed his Son so that we might be his and that this love isn’t based on our worthiness or performance. His love doesn’t fluctuate from day-to-day. It was settled the moment he set it upon you before the foundation of the world. God has spoken to us about his love and the gospel in John 3:16: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” Will that love transform the way you live today?
-Elyse Fitzpatrick

Here’s to the gospel impacting every moment of every day. Happy Sunday. 

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4 Replies to “Smoother”

  1. Have to share this short thought. I attended Tres Dias earlier this year. If you have never gone to spend “3 Days w/ God” then I highly recommend that you & Jason go, Kate. My husband went to a Tres Dias weekend over 10 years ago. I was supposed to follow immediately (and even got an invite from your mom who offered to sponsor me) but I was stubborn and dragged my feet for 10 years. Timing is everything and God’s timing is perfect. This was my year, my weekend and my moment of coming to God’s abundant Grace. Anyway, while I was there, one evening after a powerful eye-opening event, I went outside alone in the courtyard to just bask in God’s Glory. It was a full moon and the courtyard was well lit. I stopped and looked up at a billion stars and it was breathtaking. Then, I bowed my head and prayed. When I opened my eyes, there were two stones at my feet. One was sharp-edged and the other was smooth as glass. I p/u the stones and put them in my pocked, deciding to carry them w/ me to remind me that when I’m left on my own, I am a sharp-edged, cutting stone. Jesus is the smooth stone that is gentle to the touch, comforting when my fingers slide over the cool granite. I wanna be smooth like Jesus. More of Him, less of me – that’s the goal everyday. I still carry those stones in my pocket. Love shelly

    1. Shelly, I love this. What a loving word your Father spoke to you that weekend. I think it’s beautiful that it still holds as much meaning and significance to you today. And that you carry them with you. Thank you for taking the time to share this. I love you, friend!

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