Has anyone ever said to you, “relax, you are over-thinking this?”
When someone says that to you, or even, if you heard that being said, the issue is that someone is making something more complicated than it ought to be. With over-thinking comes more stress and less enjoyment, and less of a quality performance. Earlier today, I felt like I was being told by God you are making this faith thing with me more complicated than you ought. It was that “Power of a Whisper” idea that Bill Hybels of Willow Creek has written about.
The impressions that came to me were almost like bullet points:
*Keep in mind, your faith in Me is about relationship, not religious-activity checklists, or do’s and don’t’s, etc.
*Keep in mind that I am the God of all grace. In 1 Peter 5:10a, the Bible says that He is “the God of all grace”. Other verses mentioning that He is a God of grace would be Ps. 116:5, 2 Cor. 9:14, Nehemiah 9:31 and so many more verses could be listed–okay, I see that–He is a God of grace.
*Keep in mind that I am a God of mercy, for instance, as in Luke 1:78, Romans 9:18, Daniel 9:9, Ps. 59:17, and again, so many more verses could be listed.
So, what’s a simple explanation of the difference between His being a God of grace, and a God of mercy.
I’ve heard many explanations about these two words over the years, but the NON – over-thinking, simple explanation was this:
When you come to God in a needy, humble, dependent kind of way, He is the God of all grace. He is there to help. He loves to come to the aid of those who are “poor in spirit”. He loves to make Himself and the wisdom of His ways clear to those who can recognize they don’t have it all figured out. Sometimes He will help in ways we don’t or can’t understand at the moment, but He will be there to help. Why? Because He loves you and I.
However, when you come to God after you’ve tried doing things your way, He will give you mercy. Why? Because again, He loves you and I. He understands that we are prone to being selfish, and independent, and prideful and that every once in a while (or more), we slip up. He anticipated that and sent His Son to cover your sins and mine and to extend forgiveness to us. We just need to ask. Thank God for Good Friday and Easter Sunday!
Well, that listening session with Him made me see things in a simplified kind of way. It’s all about relationship with Him. That’s the bottom line. I need to:
- put no confidence in the flesh
- be way of thinking of myself more highly than I ought
- realize that apart from Him, I can do nothing
- and whether I realize all this right up front and call out to Him for His grace (His help and power), or I realize it all after I’ve first tried doing it my way (which never ends well) and then come to Him after I’ve blown it (first for forgiveness, and then for His grace), either way, in relationship, I need to keep things simple, and be as one dependent on Him all the time, inseparable if you will–kind of like a branch abiding in the vine. (ref. John 15).