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Grace, Holiness, Self-Righteousness…Oh My!

Well friends…Holiness is the topic of the month here at Butterfly Box! I have to admit that I do approach this topic with some trepidation. Maybe you do too. The rule-follower in me struggles to understand the supernatural relationship between grace and holiness (righteousness). The Pharisee in me that wants to claim what righteousness I do achieve as my own rather than to glorify the One by whom my righteousness was sacrificially secured. I battle daily with the black and white thinking of, “If you follow the rules, you are right and if not…you are wrong!”

Intellectually I know that Jesus died to set me free of that thinking. The thinking that reminds me of the commandments laid out for this rule-follower to adhere to and the condemnation that results from even the slightest deviation from those rules. Rules that were not designed to condemn, but to show us that we could never achieve the righteousness through our own feeble attempts, that our Savior provided to us once for all on the cross. I continually struggle to deconstruct this erroneous thinking that has prevented me from receiving the fullness of His grace and grow in holiness as Jesus would have me.

Am I alone in this? Somehow, I don’t believe I am.

So it is prayerfully that I approach the topic of holiness. After all, in this season of my life, with the heaviness of issues surrounding my family, most days I feel as though I am trekking through mud rather than walking on water. How does holiness emerge from this “rule-following Christian girl” while wading through the fallout of much “rule-breaking” in my direct vicinity?

How do I grow in holiness when, because of my own convoluted beliefs, that looks a lot like self-righteousness to those around me who desperately need to see grace?

I know the Lord has me here for a divine purpose. Most likely it’s to teach me what it looks like to step off my platform of self-righteousness in order to extend (and keep extended) a hand of grace to those not so inclined to follow the rules. Perhaps He has me here to show me that the exact people He came to save were not those who “think” they have it all together, but those who realize their brokenness, whatever road the Lord has them travel to meet this realization. Maybe it’s to help me grasp that in order for those rule-breakers to ever come to know their Savior, they need to see the grace-filled LOVE of people faithfully walking beside them as they traverse the path toward His providential brokenness and thus repentance.

And maybe, just maybe, it’s to keep me weak and humble enough to see that I AM one of "those" rule breakers as I revert to fleshly reactions to life’s challenges every…single…day.

So how is it that we push toward spiritual maturity into holiness while embracing grace? Grace for ourselves? Grace for others? How do we allow righteousness to increase while self-righteousness decreases? How do we quiet the voice of condemnation while tuning into the Voice that reminds us that the battle over sin and unrighteousness was won on the cross and that we are victorious, saved, redeemed, righteous and loved through our faith alone?

How do we live a life that agrees with who He says we are while breaking free from the notion of who the world says we are?

I realize there are a lot of questions here. But maybe we share the same questions. I only have one true, reliable, trustworthy answer… JESUS. I am thankful that I have a Father who has ALL the answers to my questions. He is sovereign and He patiently walks me through the lessons which will answer the questions of my soul while lifting my gaze to Him as my role modelI am thankful that He is faithful enough to diligently and consistently tear down the lies that I have believed replacing them with truth. I am thankful to have fellow sisters in Christ to share the journey toward the abundant life that Jesus offers. I am thankful for you.

Humbly yours,

Stephanie


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