Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Grace in Action

As Christians we affirm that we live by grace alone. Not just that our salvation is from God's grace but that all our good works come through His grace. Without Jesus we can do nothing (Jn 15:5). So we confess that. But how does it effect how we live as Christians? If I want to live for Christ, work for His Kingdom, give Him glory, and all that good stuff, how does the fact that all my good works flow from God's grace effect my approach?

As an evangelical it amounted to studying the bible and praying. I was much better at bible study that I was at prayer. So I did that a lot. The saying was to pray like it all depends on God and work like it all depends on you. But there were all sorts of ideas of how to pray more powerfully. The focus always seemed to drift back to myself. Grace became largely invisible and the lived experience of the Christian life was largely one of works.

As a Catholic it has changed. There is more focus on the sacraments. Mass is less about your action than a typical evangelical Sunday morning. So there is much more humility and simple opening of yourself to whatever God has for you. Confession is the same way. You choose what areas of life to talk about but the focus is much more on letting God transform you and not nearly as much about motivating yourself to change you life. Prayer is the same way. Instead of making up my prayers I was reciting prayers others had composed. There is a lot less doing and a lot more simply being in Christ. Adoration takes that to a new level where you don't even recite prayers and just contemplate the real presence of Jesus in the room with you.

Overall my Christian experience as an evangelical was powerful but what I have experienced as a Catholic is so much more so. There are many reasons for that. But one key one is the patience Catholicism has taught me to allow God's grace to work it's way deep inside my heart. It is really a proper living out of the doctrine of grace alone I learned to cherish as a protestant. Ironically it is the doctrine I was taught Catholics didn't really understand or live out. 

No comments:

Post a Comment