Paul David Tripp, in his book, Parenting: 14 Gospel Principles That Can Radically Change Your Family, states, “God doesn’t call able people to do important things.” At first glance, this seems a little brash and harsh, but when he follows that up with the examples of Abraham, David, Gideon, and Moses, you start to see the picture he is painting.
- Abraham decided to take God’s will into his own hands and “create many nations” with his wife’s servant. God took that massive mistake, blessed him anyway, and a nation was born.
- David slept with one of his soldier’s wives while the soldier was fighting David’s wars. The wife ended up pregnant and David conspired to murder her husband. In the end, God was still able to redeem David’s story and used him to lead a nation.
- With Gideon, everything was going great until he decided to start worshiping his riches and wealth and fell into sin, but God still used him to lead a nation to victory.
- With Moses, God used a guy who second-guessed his creator and exercised vigilante justice, killing an Egyptian, to free a nation.
All these champions of the Bible we hold dear were far from able men. All these stories prove the point that Tripp is making when he says:
God did not create human beings to be independently able; he designed us to be dependent.
The dependence he is referring to is our dependence on Him, and it applies to all of our work—whether parenting, a 9-to-5 job, or other endeavors.
Dependence Working Hand-in-Hand with Grace
This dependence is based around one big word: grace. The truth is, we all seem to have a decent understanding of past grace, which is the grace that we have been extended by Jesus’ death on a cross for our sins.
We also have a strong understanding of future grace; the same death and resurrection that has covered our past sins is also covering those that we will commit in the future—God has so much grace for us it is unbelievable.
But the grace we seem to forget about, that I forget about daily, is present grace.
Paul David Tripp describes present grace beautifully:
This grace reaches you wherever God has placed you. This grace reaches you in your darkest…moments.
These words are refreshing. As I think about my past year of growth, especially in a new position at my company, there have been times when I have responded in anger or arrogance, times when I have made costly mistakes, and times when I treated others poorly. I walked away from those moments beating myself up and hoping that the other individual would forgive me.
In her blog, “Don’t Give up on Your Goals. Instead, Give Yourself Some Grace,” Elizabeth Moyer talks about when she messes up, skips the run, sleeps in, or takes a cheat day on her diet. She could easily beat herself up, but she chooses to rest in God’s present grace:
Our sin runs deep, tainting our whole being. But, God’s grace covers all of our sin, every time. God’s grace in sending Jesus to redeem our brokenness doesn’t excuse us to keep sinning; it frees us from the grip of sin so that we may live in the power of Christ, not ourselves.
This grace we are talking about doesn’t excuse our sin, it just gives us the hope that there is freedom, and there is always tomorrow.
Grace Changes Everything—Even the “Small Stuff”
Instead of walking away from those moments where we belittle others, respond in anger, slack off, don’t accomplish our goals, and make mistakes, we need to remember that God didn’t make us able, he made us dependent on him and his grace. Since we are dependent on him, we need to remember that there is grace not only for our past and future but for the present as well.
We need to let the truth of present grace wash over us. Surprisingly enough, we are not perfect, and will never be. So, when we mess up at work, in our personal life, or with our spouse or kids at home, we should confess it, seek forgiveness, and just give ourselves some grace.
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9, ESV).