Whenever I have a rough day, I tend to remember certain bible verses or excerpts from books that have impacted me. Sometimes I remember the words well; other times, I remember them vaguely. For some reason, I’m more adept at remembering where in the book the message is located. I know…odd. Either way, when I get home I open up that particular book to help refresh my memory. I like to jot down my observations afterwards so that I can retrospectively reflect on them in the future. Today was such a day and the book that came to mind was one that I had finished earlier this month, If not for the Grace of God by Joyce Meyer. Reading Christian faith based material is my vice. I usually read one history book, one current events book or novel (though rarely) and two or three Christian faith based books per month. Reading a couple of Christian books per month provides just enough palliation needed to keep me grounded.
My grandmother always told me never to make a promise I couldn’t keep because as soon as I made it I would be expected to keep my word. She explained that if I were unable to keep my promise then I would lose all credibility and my word would be perceived as being meaningless; therefore, tarnishing my image. A month ago, I was put in a position where I had to back someone else’s promise. I was involved by default due to the nature of our relationship. That person reneged on the promise and left me empty handed to deal with the would-be recipient; making me in turn, look capricious and doltish. I was embarrassed. But the matter was entirely out of my hands. So…I became frustrated with the situation.
My initial reaction was to call one of my friends for a futile nagging session. Oh please, as if you wouldn’t. You know what I’m talking about! LOL But then I remembered that one of my New Year’s resolutions was to stop gossiping. But more importantly, my second most important New Year’s resolution other than this blog challenge is to stop complaining. Oh but sometimes it’s just so necessary even though one NEVER feels better after complaining. I resisted the urge and instead decided I’d pray about it. As soon as I got in my car, I started with “Dear Lord, help me control my mouth and the urge to tell off my friend…blah blah blah blah….” And then it hit me. I was complaining. Ugh! I miserably failed that test! Then I started remembering Joyce’s book and how she described the Holy Spirit as a person in If not for the Grace of God. She described Him as One in whom we should confide and rely on. “The Holy Spirit is a gift from God bestowed upon us by His grace, requested by us in prayer, and received by us through the channel of faith. His multiple role as Comforter, Counselor, Helper, Intercessor, Advocate, Strengthener and Standby can be summarized by saying that His purpose is to get right in the middle of our lives and make them all work out for the glory of God.” And she was right, so yes, even though I was complaining, I WAS complaining to the Only One in whom I should be confiding rather than going out into the world looking for a willing listener and for answers. He is the ultimate Counselor and Fixer of all problems.
I love reading Joyce Meyer books. They’re uncomplicated, personal and ameliorating. They’re delectable serviceable light reads. She has no formal higher education yet possesses an exceptional ability to explain the Word of God. She has a truly remarkable ability to explain complicated biblical concepts such as grace; not academically complicated but rather spiritually complicated to comprehend. That is precisely why I picked up this book again today. I never really understood the meaning of receiving God’s grace. How? Why? Or why me? God knows I’ve messed up enough times in my life to not deserve it. Joyce explains it best, “Grace equals unmerited favor, His favor.” “It is hard to give credit to God when we think that we deserve whatever we receive from Him. It is hard not to give credit to God when we know that we do not deserve anything we receive from Him. It is also hard to worry when we know that it is not by worry but by grace that all our needs are supplied.”
As Joyce so kindly reminds us in this book, “You and I cannot expect God to intervene on our behalf in a situation if we are constantly grumbling, fault-finding, nit-picking and being jealous and envious…There is also no way to receive God’s grace while seeking sympathy from others or fellowshipping with self-pity. God will heal our wounds if we do not seek others to nurse them.” So I told Him my plight and left it in His hands knowing that He’ll take care of it because of His grace bestowed upon me. Now all I have to do is sit back and let Him handle it on His terms and at His pace. I gave it to Him but not first without thinking of the most important words in this book, “Often we are told that we must keep our faith on the line, that we must keep believing that what we need we are going to get by faith. But if we are not careful we can get our eyes fastened on the blessing rather than on the Lord. There is a fine line here. We must be very careful that we seek the Lord’s face and not His hand. He wants us to seek Him, and not just what He can do for us.” Yes! This book is so good!
If not for the Grace of God was even more helpful today than the first time I picked it up to read it. I loved this book from the moment I started it. I gave it five stars on Goodreads. I highly recommend it to everyone. Let me know if you get a chance to read it. I’d love to hear from you. Enjoy!