The thing I want you most want you to know is this:
No matter who you are or where you come from; no matter what you've done or how many times you've done it – there is grace for you.
If you are laboring under a constant sense of unworthiness, feeling like you never quite measure up – there is grace for you.
If you struggle with legalism and judgment, always trying to earn God's approval (or someone else's, for that matter) – there is grace for you.
If you struggle to let go of the past, to let go of some hurt that was inflicted on you or to forgive the person who inflicted the damage – there is grace for you.
If you are fighting with an addiction or some habitual, besetting sin – there is grace for you.
If you struggle to get out of your head and into your heart; if you feel that no matter what you might learn about God, you're never quite able to enter into a life of trust and freedom – there is grace for you.
There is grace for everybody, and there is grace for everything – if we will open our eyes and our hearts to it!
Some people worry that if we understand grace too well, we may take it as a license to sin. It is true: if grace is taught correctly, it will be abused. But my primary motivation isn't to keep you from messing up. We have all felt ourselves live as less than we are called to be. We've all done things we aren't proud of. But in all of that, there is a loving God who keeps moving us forward.
Once you get past the initial scandal of grace – that it really does cover you in all the ways you need to be covered – you will come to see that this grace that covers you also empowers you to change, to grow, even to be formed into the likeness of Christ. Grace doesn't just cover us – grace transforms us. Knowing how much God loves us makes all the difference in the world; it directly impacts the kind of people we will become.
This is the grace that swept up a ragtag collection of saints and sinners throughout the ages – evidently including pastors who never thought they'd grasp it for themselves. I just had no idea how radically it could revolutionize even an experienced Christian. When you get hold of it – or better yet, when it gets hold of you – you will feel like a prisoner set free. I have finally started to shed the old skin of joyless Christianity that felt nearly impossible to live.
My simple hope and prayer for you is that you love God more because you more fully understand how much God loves you. Paul's closing prayer for the believers at Ephesus was that they “may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God” (Ephesians 3:18-19). That's quite a prayer – to comprehend the incomprehensible, to know the unknowable. But there is a knowing that transcends knowledge, a revelation that surpasses learning. There is a way of seeing into the depths of the heart of God himself.
That is why I join Paul in making this my prayer: because I know the things you need to see are above my pay grade to show you. But I also know there is a God who delights in you, who hovers over you even now; who desperately longs to show you the unshowable, to open up the eyes of your heart to see that which even angels long to see. Grace is stunning, breathtaking. There is no corner of your heart or life that it will leave untouched. When you understand how loved you are, it changes how you love others; you learn how to extend the same grace that is constantly extended to you.
No matter how much you grasp the beauty of God's love for you in any given minute, there is always more. It never runs out.