How do you live by grace? By walking in hope.
Some projects I hate doing and some I absolutely love. While reflecting on the differences between my projects, I discovered why I love some and hate others. The difference is hope. I also saw how this applied to much more than just projects around the house but also to how we live by grace.
The hopelessness of my mechanical abilities
I hate working on vehicles. I do not mind turning a wrench or even having to wash my hands with Gojo. What makes me drag my feet for weeks before I finally tend to automotive issues is that I never know if I will be successful or not. Once I changed the starter on my truck only to find out that it was only a bad wire—lots of work and over a hundred dollars wasted. Then there was that Taurus that kept overheating and I could not figure it out.
Incidents like those and many more leave a pale of despair over my head whenever I crawl under a vehicle. I mean, seriously, my first oil change took two hours! My dad was always handy with auto repair, so I figured I could do it all in a snap. Ha! My first car had to go to a tranny shop after my botched attempt at a repair. Then I tried fixing a radiator leak but still had to take it to a pro—and paid dearly. Now I flinch whenever a warning light comes on or my vehicle needs attention.
Why I love doing certain projects
On the other hand, there are projects I absolutely love. Yesterday we finished building a greenhouse. It took several hours of work over the past week, but I enjoyed every minute of it. This, I knew, would be a successful project. First, I had built a couple greenhouses before. Second, I knew this project would not just fix something broken but provide us with some fresh food this spring. Next I am going to build nest boxes for our egg-layers and new cages. I look forward to projects like these because I know I can do them and that they will be fulfilling.
The difference between auto repairs and construction projects is that I find one to be hopeless and the other to be hopeful. Hope lets me taste fresh lettuce and carrots before the greenhouse takes form. Despair puts this sick feeling in my stomach when I go to change the fuel pump or plug wires for fear I will break something again, fix the wrong thing, or spend money I did not need to.
We live by grace in hope
From all this, I learned more about how to live by grace. Through Jesus Christ, “we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God” (Romans 5:2). The core of a grace-filled life is hope.
A legalistic life operates on a default of despair. As a Christian, you will do good works, but why you do good works determines how you do them. I eagerly made time for the greenhouse but I have put off changing the shocks on the truck for months now. Why? Hope, or the lack thereof.
Taking giving for an example. A legalist will give, but will give grudgingly. He will give but in the back of his mind will be thinking, “I am probably not giving enough,” or “I did not give this soon enough and now God probably will not bless me.” Every good work will be haunted by bad thinking. This slave mentality will put a bad taste in his mouth. The generous giver, however, can give liberally in anticipation. He gives because he knows that he serves an abundant God who will not let him go without.
Hope is why you can enjoy Christianity
When you know who you are in Christ, you do not serve out of fear. Perfect love casts out fear. Character development? You become loving and appreciative of others because you know Christ is living in you. You let His light shine, unlike the despondent believer who tries to crank up his own. Your prayer becomes more worship rather than desperation and begging once who know that God let you in on the big mystery, “which is Christ in you, the hope of glory” (Colossians 1:27).
Reckoning yourself to be dead to sin, you walk in His life (Romans 6:11-14). Knowing you are already approved by God because you have taken on Christ’s name and Spirit, you live in joy. Others live in fear of a lightning bolt from the blue or a thunder of disapproval for some misdeed. Some try to develop joy, peace, love, and patience, while you enjoy His, which He gave you when He filled you with His Spirit. Rather than try to work out your own death, burial, and resurrection, you have applied His to your life (Romans 6:3-5).
How do you live by grace? By living in the power of hope.