What does it mean to live a Grace Empowered Life?
Lets talk about success and failure in America. We strive for it around the world, there is an innate in each and everyone of us to move forward where it concerns our lives. For each of us this is different. For some of us it is relationships, our connections to those around us. To others, it may be health and vitality while others it may be financial. To some it may be a life with less conflict or being more productive.
In America we have a deluge of information on the topic of how we succeed, what it means to succeed and move forward. Here is the weird thing we see some people where ti seems they were born with a silver spoon in their mouth, they have the right connections and they end up in failure. Newspapers showcase these failings, for example John Belushi and in recent years Michael Jackson. We read their stories of ending up on drugs or committing suicide. Self destructive patterns of behavior that destroyed their lives.
Yet, on the other side of the equation we have people like Nick Vujicic who was born with no legs and no arms yet he has learned how to make a difference in his world. He speaks to audiences around the world sharing a message of hope. The interesting question we have to ask ourselves is why do some who look like success should be easy for them because of being raised in a more positive environment yet we find those who came out of very difficult backgrounds soar to the top of their game?
So what is it that makes the difference between success and failure, victory and defeat? We know that everyone has an innate desire to move forward in our lives but what is the reason so many fail in the midst of having access to so many tools, resources and materials to help us along in our life's journey. The real question here is how can we turn the negative patterns that we deal with on a continual basis in our own heart and mind into more productive ones so that we can get what it is we want?
Stop and ask yourself, what is it that I want, what is important to me, what do I value and what is it I am striving for? It might be a relationship, less conflict in that relationship, your children. It could be related to your business life, your financial life, your health and vitality. Ask yourself and define that one thing that is near and dear to you that you are striving for. By becoming more clear and focused about those things is one of the first steps we can take in moving forward.
We realize in our world that ultimately people who are not responsible with their lives suffer the consequences of their behavior. An extreme example would be a thief, a murder or they get into addictions end up in prison or some type of program where we try to change or reinsert new patterns in their behavior. The unfortunate thing is that most of it is negatively driven through punishment. Society shakes the finger of shame and guilt at individuals like this. As for myself, I grew up in church and this was always an issue. We shake and point our fingers at those who are struggling and tell them, this is not how you do it, this is not what a "Good Christian" looks like. We are shamed and scolded that "this is not how it is suppose to be and you need to quit that and change!"
Law and Grace
What I learned growing up that it was all about the law! As you read through the Bible it is interesting because in the Old Testament it really was about the law. The law was very hard and harsh, no one could ever live up to it or master it. The law gave you a list of rules and regulations that you were to live up to. You were told to do this or do that in order to be blessed. The sad thing was that if you failed in any part of the law you were guilty of all! The law was so harsh that it told parents of rebellious children that they were to be stoned! The sad thing is that that was the way they understood God at that time. It's interesting to note that when the God delivered them from Egypt and set them free through the leadership of Moses that they were brought out of slavery into freedom, not from slavery to more slavery! As you study the story of Israel, it was they themselves that cried out to be told what to do. Freedom can be a scary thing when you have lived as a slave for 400 years. We read in Exodus that they answered Moses "whatever you say we will do" and in doing so, stepped out of a previous covenant God had with Abraham into what we now know as the Mosaic covenant.