Footsteps in Faith: Only God’s grace changes us, not self-help

| April 30, 2010 | 0 Comments

Chaplain (Capt.) Shane Smith
3rd Squadron, 4th Cavalry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division

Almost 13 years ago, author Phillip Yancey wrote a book titled “What’s So Amazing About Grace?” His goal was to show the true meaning and impact of such a powerful word. 

SmithLike other words that have a strong theological background, Yancey argued that grace often winds up being used in catch phrase after catch phrase. 

He pointed out that there is probably no greater word in the English language that is more significant to our lives. Furthermore, once we really understand everything about this word, he added, it would change everything about us forever. 

In my case, grace has been a powerful enabler, allowing me to have a relationship with God. 

Ephesians 2:8-9 says, “It is by grace you have been saved, through faith — and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God — not by works, so that no one can boast.” 

There is nothing that you and I can do to earn God’s love. You may not believe it, but you don’t have to clean up your act first and then come to God when you’re done. He wants to do the changing for you. He’s the only one who can. 

Many of us have tried so many times, and in so many ways, to change ourselves, but we soon find that we’re not getting any better and just repeating the same old patterns. 

In the book “The Purpose Driven Life,” pastor and author Rick Warren says, “Self-help is no help at all.” There is probably not a truer statement in the entire world. If we could fix ourselves, we would have done it a long time ago. 

Jeremiah 17:9 lets us know vividly that we can’t trust our own methods of self-change. “The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure,” it says. “Who can understand it?” 

In Isaiah 64:6, we read, “All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags.” 

And finally in Romans 3:10, Scripture reveals, “There is no one righteous, not even one.” 

So what is the solution? How does grace to change come into my life if I can’t do it? 1 John 4:9 gives us the answer to that question: “This is how God showed his love among us. He sent his one and only son into the world that we might live through him.”

The people of Jesus’ day were no different than us in the sense that they were looking for peace in their lives, couldn’t find it at all and were desperate for answers. 

Jesus himself says in Matthew 11:28-29, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” 

If you never have before, I invite you to consider these words from the master healer himself, Jesus Christ, and experience the true meaning of grace. 

May the Lord Jesus be with you.

Category: Footsteps in Faith, News

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