When Grace is the Answer to Our Striving
In elementary school, my class did a play on the book, “Caps for Sale.” The peddler carries many hats on his head-towering way above him-walking along the path, calling out for people to come by his hats. He takes a nap beneath a tree and when he wakes up, a group of mischievous monkeys are hanging out in the tree, wearing all his caps.
We wear many hats in life. We may be mothers, daughters, sisters; nurses, teachers or marketers. We are church members, community members, sometimes gym members. We serve those around us, getting busy doing all the ‘right’ things, yet wonder why we feel empty and weary.
When Strivings Cease: Replacing the Gospel of Self-Improvement with the Gospel of Life-Transforming Grace by Ruth Chou Simons equips us to face those questions.
Her aim in writing is to help us “realign with what it really means to trust in the grace of God. And to stop thinking of your relationship with Jesus as something adequate to save you from eternal despair but not enough to secure your identity here and now.”
The first section helps us identify what holds us back from serving in a place of grace. She challenges us to consider how much we do in order to gain approval, meet personal expectations of perfection, or to avoid deep-seated shame.
“I wonder how many times I’ve forfeited freedom in doing what God’s called me to do because I’ve been more aware of my performance than God’s purpose in creating me for the task.”
The second section introduces us to a life of striving in grace; how we can live in forgiveness, freedom and faith to serve the Lord in all we do by keeping the gospel at the forefront.
In all my own comings and goings, the different hats that I wear, I constantly reflect on my reasons and intentions within it all; realigning my mindset, my heart and my identity to grace and not works-it’s a daily battle.
Yet, what a beautiful place this is to sit! There’s so much freedom to serve the Lord by grace and through faith; none of it is my own doing, it’s all his! And from that place of grace the Lord Jesus has equipped us for good works (Eph 2:8-10), that we would do them, not sit with our feet propped up until he returns.
Friend, this is a good word for us today. Whether we’re struggling with perfectionism, fears or purpose, the gospel gives us our firm foundation, the answer to the fulfillment we’re searching for, and the strength in our weariness. It boils down to what we truly believe about God, and about ourselves. Where we place our worth and how we live it out.
If this sounds like what you need right now, I’d encourage you to head on over and order it!
# of pages: 224
Level of Difficulty: Easy
My Rating: 5 stars!
*A big thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for the ARC and the opportunity to post an honest review!