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The Pattern of Grace

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Habits can be very hard to break. For some reason, this is especially true with unhealthy ones. Human nature, in its fallen state, tends to lean towards its baser tendencies, like muddy water running into a sewer.

“As a dog returneth to his vomit, so a fool returneth to his folly.” ~ Proverbs 26:11

We see this pattern in the lives around us. Dysfunction within families tends to be transmitted to the next generation. Children of alcoholics often follow their elders into the bottle. Abusive behaviors often turn victims themselves into perpetrators. Generational sin is a real and observable phenomenon on our world.

“Keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, and that will by no means clear the guilty; visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children, and upon the children’s children, unto the third and to the fourth generation.” ~ Exodus 34:7

But, there is more to the picture than just the pattern of sin. There is also the pattern of grace.

“Lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh.” ~ Luke 21:28b

Left on our own, our species would undoubtedly swallow itself whole in greed and debauchery. But there is One who comes to us with a different way. Like the sun breaking through the clouds, he brings warmth and life and a way out of the mire. We need only to raise our heads and take the hand of help that is extended to us; and even for that, He provides us the strength! The cost is nothing more than to leave the mud and walk with Him on the heights. The rest has been already paid for through His infinite love and wealth.

“What? Know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.” ~ 1 Corinthians 6:19-20

Paul describes the new life as one who has been widowed from one husband and then married to another (Romans 7). As the bride of a new and infinitely better husband, we are free to live a new life, free from the obligations to sin and degradation under which we once suffered. That freedom is real and present; but the patterns we learn under the old way of being can be hard to break. Like an abused spouse, we believe the lies our old owner told us: that we are worthless; that we are doomed to failure; that we are sure to wear out our new Lord’s patience and will be returned to the gutter from which He rescued us.

“And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night.” ~ Revelation 12:10

Jesus rescues us not only from our sin, but from the one who constantly throws that sin in our faces. He did not come to condemn us, but to save us through His own blood. More than once during His ministry here on earth that He assured us that did not come as a judge, but as a redeemer (John 5:45, John 8:10).

I confess to having struggled many times through the lies told us by our enemies. It is easier to believe that we are unworthy, because we are! It is easy to believe that we are hopeless because in our own power we are completely without hope of pleasing God. The thread of truth that runs through the deception makes it hard to distinguish reality from fiction, and we so often cave to the pressure of trying to bear our own sins.

But there is One Who does not condemn us, Who does not accuse us, Whose conviction only ever serves to point us towards the hope we have in Himself, never to turn our faces away in shame. Jesus is standing at the right hand of the Father (Romans 8:34), constantly interceding on our behalf (Isaiah 53:12). We just need to deafen our ears to the wheedling lies of the accuser and place our hope and faith in the One who purchased our freedom.

We are not obligated to fall to the lies of Satan. The very fact that he constantly assails us speaks to their deceptive nature; God does not constantly nag us with the truth, He places the truth there for us to embrace and receive. If you are struggling with constant feelings of worthlessness, frustration and despair I can guarantee that you are not being harassed by the voice of God, but rather burdened by the hissing of the serpent.

Jesus always leads us to hope and love, constantly encouraging us to “Fear not!”, entreating us to mercy and forgiveness. Jesus knew the price He would pay for you, and He was willing to pay it; and what is good enough for Him is good enough for us also; Not just good enough, but rich in blessings and abundance of life!

“The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.” ~ John 10:10

So lift up your head, weary saint! Your salvation is VERY close, and it is held secure in the hands of One Who loves you. In your faith you will please Him, so do not wallow in shame. Let go of the pattern of corruption, and embrace the Pattern of Grace!

Contributed by Joelle Heilemann

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