What do we do when those we look up to stumble? When there are moments that we shake our heads thinking, "Why? Why would You allow this, Lord?" I tackled this very question a while ago with the very public fall of a Christian leader.
It's been a rough week for "our side". There have been a lot of things going wrong... a lot of attacks... a lot of stumbling.
I'm included in that.
And, as we've seen, when someone is dealing with their "stuff" and they try to keep it quiet, the enemy uses that against them until it has a choking hold and they can't get away. Nehemiah 4:11 tells us exactly what the enemy's tactic and plan is. "They will not know or see until we come among them, kill them, and put a stop to the work." He wants to render us ineffective and broken.
When we try to hide our stuff due to pride and fear, he succeeds in doing just that.
I've got stuff... and I like to hide my stuff. I don't want to be seen as weak, sinful, needy, broken.
I don't want to appear like I need grace.
Then Ann Voskamp hits me between the eyes with this:
The life of Jesus would radically suggest: Don’t advertise your beautiful faith without advertising your broken-down faults — because those broken-down faults are the exact reason why you need your beautiful faith.Cheap grace is the grace we bestow on ourselves.Cheap grace is the preaching of forgiveness without requiring repentance, baptism without church discipline, Communion without confession…. Cheap grace is grace without discipleship, grace without the Cross, grace without Jesus Christ, living and incarnate. The life of Jesus would radically suggest: This Cheap Grace is costing the Church its voice.
Where have I gotten the idea that I can do this? Where have I slipped up and decided that it's more important to be "liked" than to preach truth? And, God help me, when did I believe the lie that I'm better than they are?
Grace cost Jesus everything. It literally ripped the life out of his veins for me. Costly grace is what I'm given freely... but costly grace is what demands everything of my soul.
Costly grace will cost you absolutely nothing, but it will demand that you risk absolutely everything.Costly grace will cost you nothing — and it will cost you your credit-card comfort, your immediate-gratification, your hidden self-stroking pleasure-idols, your financial ladder-climbing, and your lone-wolf, self-made man self-sufficiency.The Gospel will not dare be mocked: Costly grace is completely free — and it will cost you your complete life.
Why do I hide it?
What am I so afraid of?
The debt is paid. I am redeemed. This flesh of sin I carry around with me is the very tool God has given me to demonstrate this costly grace. This bloody mercy. But it costs me.
It costs me pride.
It costs me selfishness.
It costs me time, money, energy........ my life.
But when I get down to the bottom of this mess of thoughts running through my mind, these screaming protests against being real and showing the disaster that I am inside... I'm reminded that He has made me new. His power is made perfect in weakness. He has already won the victory...
I have nothing to hide, nothing to lose, nothing to fear.
Here is the picture that our Lord gave us to remind us of who He is. A picture of this One who is often not in the forefront of our struggles. He is the reason we can exclaim adoringly, "Hallelujah!"
Then I heard what seemed to be the voice of a great multitude, like the roar of many waters and like the sound of mighty peals of thunder, crying out,
“Hallelujah!For the Lord our God
the Almighty reigns.
Let us rejoice and exultand give him the glory,
for the marriage of the Lamb has come,
and his Bride has made herself ready;
it was granted her to clothe herself
with fine linen, bright and pure”— for the fine linen is the righteous deeds of the saints.
Then I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse! The one sitting on it is calledFaithful and True, and in righteousness he judges and makes war.
His eyes are like a flame of fire, and on his head are many diadems, and he has a name written that no one knows but himself.
He is clothed in a robe dipped into blood, and the name by which he is called is The Word of God.
And the armies of heaven, arrayed in fine linen, white and pure, were following him on white horses.
From his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations, and he will rule them with a rod of iron. He will tread the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God the Almighty.
On his robe and on his thigh he has a name written, King of kings and Lord of lords.
Revelation 19:6-8, 11-13, 16
This is the One who rescued me. This is the One who says to me, "Fear not, for I have redeemed you. I have called you by name, you are mine." This is the One who gives me grace, that helps me to shout "Hallelujah!!" in the face of my failures and trials because He has won! This is the One who uses my very weaknesses to show His great victory and strength.
I don’t want to get to this day and say to Him, “I was too busy covering up the sin You paid for to show Your mercy. I was too concerned about my comfort and likeability to share truth.”
I will live costly grace because I love and adore Him so.