The truth of who Jesus is in me and for me becomes mine by means of a new gift of empowerment. I love that. Everything God shows you, He empowers you to become. What He opens up, He causes you to inherit. He shows you stuff. He gives you stuff. He pushes you into it. He loves you in such a forceful, pleasant way that you grab hold of it and you want it, and so we’re always overwhelmed by grace. It’s all around us. It’s thick with Presence and permission. Literally grace is the gift to become what God sees and knows about us in Christ. That perception that He has of you, grace enables you to become that.
God is making grace a dominant reality in your life.
You are free to become whatever God says you can become. Grace means that God has this high opinion of us in Jesus. Romans 12:3 says, Through the grace given to me, I say to everyone among you not to think more highly of himself than he ought to think. In other words, God is saying, “You are supposed to have a really high opinion of yourself, just don’t go over the top and get arrogant! But I want you to have a brilliant opinion of yourself. And if I think you’re getting close to arrogance, I’ll let you know.”
So it’s not something that you really check yourself on, it’s something that He checks you on because He knows what most of us are like. We’ll be so scared of getting arrogant, we’ll cut down our opinion of ourself, right? Because that’s what our so-called religious freedom has brought us into. “Stay away from this! Don’t do that!” and so we feel confined. God is saying, “No, go for everything, and if you’re reaching the outer limits, I’ll tell you. Everything is a green light until I turn it red.”
“Do not to think more highly of yourself than you ought to think, but to think so as to have sound judgment.” That word “judgment” is actually “assessment.” Have a good assessment of yourself. In other words, God is saying, “In grace, I have given you a measure of faith so that you can have a brilliant opinion of yourself.” If one of His names is “Wonderful” and you’re in Him, you’re bound to be wonderful yourself.
This is Paul’s confession of grace from 1 Corinthians 15:9: “For I am the least of the apostles and really not fit to be called and apostle because I persecuted the church of God.” So he lives with that sense of the horror of what he did, and there may never have been a day that he couldn’t quite get it out of his mind. But then he’s also the apostle of grace who talked more about grace and explained more about grace than any other apostle because he lived it, because God not only saved him, but He delivered him from being a persecutor. He says, “I am the least of the apostles. I’m not fit to be called one because I persecuted the church of God, but by the grace of God I am now what I am.” That’s the most liberating thing about grace: “I’m not what I was by the grace of God. I was a persecutor. I’m not that person anymore by the grace of God. I’m not yet what I will be by the grace of God, and so I am what I am right now by the grace of God.”
–An excerpt from Radical Permission 1: The Place of Encounter
For more resources on the grace of God, be sure to check out the Complete Radical Permission series available at a discounted price through the month of May at Brilliant Book House.