Our Mess, God’s Grace
“And He has said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.’ Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me.”
Over the years, Psalm 32 has been one of my go-to chapters in the Old Testament during seasons when I need reminding of just how profound the healing power of God’s grace can be.
David opens with these words: “How blessed is he whose wrongdoing is forgiven, whose sin is covered! How blessed is a person whose guilt the LORD does not take into account, and in whose spirit there is no deceit!”
The Blessings of Divine Forgiveness
In this Psalm, David reflects on the blessing of divine forgiveness, the type of forgiveness that only comes when someone truly examines themself and their shortcomings, confessing to God and accepting that their actions were wrong.
In his Daily Devotional book New Morning Mercies (you can get a copy here), author and pastor Paul David Tripp puts it this way: “You and I need to say it again and again. We need to look in the mirror and make the confession as a part of our morning routine.”
Tripp continues by offering examples of the rationalizations we tell ourselves every day: “It wasn’t really a lie, it was just a different way of recounting the facts;” or “I’m not being coldhearted and stingy, I’m just trying to be a good steward of what God has given me;” or one of my personal favorites, “I wasn’t being proud, I just thought someone needed to take control of the conversation.”
Everyone Suffers From Weakness
It’s natural for Christians, even the most well-meaning believers, to consider ourselves righteous, perhaps more righteous than we really are. We don’t want to admit our weaknesses, or how every day we fall short in the eyes of God.
The culture around us celebrates strength and self-reliance. And so, we downplay our shortcomings, or even blame others. We build up walls of self-righteousness, denying any hint that we’re broken inside. While hiding our failures, we seek the admiration of others. We may even believe that when we achieve “remarkable things” and earn the favor of those around us, we are earning God’s favor as well.
Yet, as Proverbs 14:32 reminds us, “The wicked is thrust down by his own wrongdoing.”
We practice this constantly, don’t we? We sing praises to God and thank him for His grace on Sunday morning only to ignore our need for that same grace on Monday. We try to fix what we see broken in those around us while ignoring our own problems. In Jesus’ words, “Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye?” (Matthew 7:3)
We’ll Never Outgrow Our Need For Grace
Simply put, we will never outgrow our need for grace, regardless of how much we grow in our faith. As the apostle Paul wrote in his letter to the church at Philippi, “Not that I have already attained or have already been perfected, but I follow after it so that I may lay hold of that for which I was seized by Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:12).
Confessing our weaknesses and sins before God leads to the blessing and relief David describes in his Psalm. It’s not human achievements that showcase the grace and blessings of God. It’s our own, frail, human helplessness.
The best way to acknowledge our need for the grace God offers us is to accept how broken we are, admit how much we need His forgiveness, and ask every day for His blessings.
Here’s a prayer that might help you get a start:
Gracious and loving Father,
Thank you for hearing this prayer. You have loved me even in my most unloveable moments, Lord. I am grateful that You have revealed Your wonderful presence to me and continue showing me every day how much I need Your grace in my life.
Father, I realize it is in my moments of greatest weakness that Your grace is made most manifest. Lead me by Your Holy Spirit and fill me with Your guidance to not do things contrary to Your desire for me. Give me wisdom and gentleness in how I interact with others. Help me have a mind that is open to reason and shows mercy.
In all I do, Lord, forgive me when I fall short of Your expectations. Grant me wisdom and grace to come to You in meekness and sincerity, humbly asking for Your blessings over my life.
Thank You for pouring out Your grace to me.
May God continuously lead your path