Monday, March 02, 2009

Grace Has Brought Me; Grace Will Lead Me

After I pulled Future Grace off the shelf last week to find a quote, I was reminded of how much I loved the book when I read it three years ago and how deeply it impacted me. Thumbing through it, I realized that I need to hear its message again perhaps more now than ever, so I've decided to read through it this month (it's conveniently arranged it in 31 chapters, so that you can read one each day and be done in a month).

John Piper introduces the book's theme this way:

[My mother] taught me to live my life between two lines of "Amazing Grace." The first line: "'Tis grace has brought me safe thus far." The second line: "And grace will lead me home." ...believing the first line fortifies faith in the second line; and believing the second line empowers radical obedience to Jesus.

It's a heady book; I only got about halfway through it the first time I picked it up, in college. Four years later, in a totally different season of life, I felt compelled to try again--and the book was astounding to me.

Piper proposes that for too long, the church has set forth "gratitude" as "the driving force in authentic Christian living." While in reality, the Bible teaches that although gratitude is crucial--indeed, how could we be anything but grateful for what God has done for us?--it cannot be this "driving force." It does not have the power. Instead, "faith in future grace" is what can and must propel us to follow Christ wholeheartedly and faithfully.

This was nearly revolutionary to me. Gratitude has certainly been at the heart of my thinking for years. I have been thoroughly convicted of the desperate need for me to remember God's past faithfulness--in my own life and as recorded in His Word. But Future Grace helped me to realize that this theme of remembering and gratitude that God has stirred up in me not an end, but a means toward trusting Him. It's really another way of saying, "live between the two lines of 'Amazing Grace.'" It is remembering what God has done--especially at the cross--so that you can have a bolstered faith in what God will do. It is seeing how God has kept His promises so that you can believe that He will continue to keep His promises!

As I learn now in new, deeper ways what it means to trust God, I'm returning to this wonderful book. I plan to spend the next month reminding myself of how faithful God has been, how rock-solid are His promises, so that I can not only live a life of gratitude, but more importantly, trust Him unswervingly no matter what tomorrow brings, continuing to ask Him for grace and believing that He will work in all details of my life for His glory and my good.

(adapted from a post originally published on April 27, 2006)

1 comment:

zo said...

Well said. I needed to read this today.