2019 Grace Life Conference (Session 2)

by Taffi Dollar | 8 Jul 2019

Summary

God has a plan for all of us, and He has given each of us an assignment to carry out. This assignment can be compared to a race we must run; to be successful, we need grace for the race. God’s purpose is for us to live life to the fullest, until it overflows. However, we can only accomplish this if we tap into the grace that helps us to like ourselves. It is always good to show grace toward others, but it is difficult to do so until we first accept it for ourselves. Under the law, the people were under tremendous pressure to perform; a grace-based mindset allows us to release ourselves from the pressure of unrealistic expectations. We can then accept others, shortcomings and all.

  1. To find our purpose in life and successfully achieve it, we must first like ourselves.
    1. We all have an assignment and a purpose for our lives. God has a race for each of us to run, but we need grace for the race.
      1. Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us (Hebrews 12:1).
      2. We have all these great people around us as examples. Their lives tell us what faith means. So we, too, should run the race that is before us and never quit… (Hebrews 12:1, ERV).
    2. Successfully running the race God has laid out for us requires that we like ourselves, and that we know who we are in Him. We can only live the life He wants for us through His grace.
      1. …I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly (John 10:10).
  1. When we learn to accept ourselves, we can accept others. Jesus helps us to do that.
    1. But love ye your enemies, and do good, and lend, hoping for nothing again; and your reward shall be great, and ye shall be the children of the Highest: for he is kind unto the unthankful and to the evil. Be ye therefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful. Judge not, and ye shall not be judged: condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned: forgive, and ye shall be forgiven: Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again (Luke 6:35-38).
      1. When we can learn to be easy on ourselves, we can be easy on others and avoid pointing an accusing finger at them.
      2. Being hard on ourselves stems from a mindset that says we are not good enough and do not measure up.
    2. This is how much God loved the world: He gave his Son, his one and only Son. And this is why: so that no one need be destroyed; by believing in him, anyone can have a whole and lasting life. God didn’t go to all the trouble of sending his Son merely to point an accusing finger, telling the world how bad it was. He came to help, to put the world right again. Anyone who trusts in him is acquitted; anyone who refuses to trust him has long since been under the death sentence without knowing it. And why? Because of that person’s failure to believe in the one-of-a-kind Son of God when introduced to him. This is the crisis we’re in: God-light streamed into the world, but men and women everywhere ran for the darkness (John 3:16-19, MSG).
      1. Jesus could easily have pointed an accusing finger at others, but He gave them grace instead. We can do the same, but only if we accept ourselves the way we are and we are at peace with ourselves.
      2. People already know their faults and shortcomings; we need to bring them the good news of the Gospel of Grace.
      3. During His ministry, Jesus was often in the company of the Pharisees and others who needed deliverance. The disciples had issues with the people who came to Jesus for healing and with how He was fulfilling the call on His life; they tried to send them away. Jesus had to set the record straight.
      4. When Jesus heard it, he saith unto them, They that are whole have no need of the physician, but they that are sick: I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance (Mark 2:17).
      5. Instead of blaming others for their sins, Jesus showed them mercy. One example of His forgiveness is when the woman caught in adultery was brought to Him.
      6. …He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her (John 8:7).
  1. There are some specific things we can do to receive the grace that God wants for us.
    1. Do not think or say negative things about ourselves. When we say bad things about ourselves, those words will come back to us; we must speak positively over ourselves.
      1. You have minds like a snake pit! How do you suppose what you say is worth anything when you are so foul-minded? It’s your heart, not the dictionary, that gives meaning to your words. A good person produces good deeds and words season after season. An evil person is a blight on the orchard. Let me tell you something: Every one of these careless words is going to come back to haunt you. There will be a time of Reckoning. Words are powerful; take them seriously. Words can be your salvation. Words can also be your damnation (Matthew 12:34-37, MSG).
      2. How we talk about ourselves reveals how we feel about ourselves.
      3. For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he… (Proverbs 23:7).
      4. Words kill, words give life; they’re either poison or fruit—you choose (Proverbs 18:21, MSG).
    2. Speak good things about yourself, things that are in line with God’s Word. God loves us; He is for us, and on our side.
      1. One thing we can declare is, “I am the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus” (2 Corinthians 5:21).
    3. Never compare yourself to others.
      1. We’re not, understand, putting ourselves in a league with those who boast that they’re our superiors. We wouldn’t dare do that. But in all this comparing and grading and competing, they quite miss the point (2 Corinthians 10:12, MSG).
      2. God loves all the diverse parts of the body of Christ as reflected in the church. Every part has a function and a purpose (1 Corinthians 12:12-27).
      3. We will never succeed at being ourselves if we are trying to be like someone else.
  1. We must also operate in our God-given gifts and have the courage to run our own race.
    1. Focus on your potential instead of on your limitations.
      1. I’m glad in God, far happier than you would ever guess—happy that you’re again showing such strong concern for me. Not that you ever quit praying and thinking about me. You just had no chance to show it. Actually, I don’t have a sense of needing anything personally. I’ve learned by now to be quite content whatever my circumstances. I’m just as happy with little as with much, with much as with little (Philippians 4:10-12, MSG).
      2. Because of God’s grace on us, we can be ready for any task He gives us.
    2. Find something you like doing that you do well, and do it over and over.
      1. Through the Word we are put together and shaped up for the tasks God has for us (2 Timothy 3:17, MSG).
      2. The Word equips us for our own particular race.
      3. In this way we are like the various parts of a human body. Each part gets its meaning from the body as a whole, not the other way around. The body we’re talking about is Christ’s body of chosen people. Each of us finds our meaning and function as a part of his body. But as a chopped-off finger or cut-off toe we wouldn’t amount to much, would we? So since we find ourselves fashioned into all these excellently formed and marvelously functioning parts in Christ’s body, let’s just go ahead and be what we were made to be, without enviously or pridefully comparing ourselves with each other, or trying to be something we aren’t. If you preach, just preach God’s Message, nothing else; if you help, just help, don’t take over; if you teach, stick to your teaching; if you give encouraging guidance, be careful that you don’t get bossy; if you’re put in charge, don’t manipulate; if you’re called to give aid to people in distress, keep your eyes open and be quick to respond; if you work with the disadvantaged, don’t let yourself get irritated with them or depressed by them. Keep a smile on your face (Romans 12:4-8, MSG).
    3. Have the courage to be different and deal with criticism. Every part of the body is different, and every part must have courage.
      1. I have told you these things so that you can have peace in me. In this world you will have troubles. But be brave! I have defeated the world! (John 16:33, ERV).
      2. We must be God-pleasers, not people-pleasers. We must be brave enough to do what He has called us to do.
      3. Pushed to the wall, I called to GOD; from the wide open spaces, he answered. GOD’s now at my side and I’m not afraid; who would dare lay a hand on me? GOD’s my strong champion; I flick off my enemies like flies (Psalm 118:5, 6, MSG).
      4. Do not let the way someone else treats you determine your worth.
      5. Keep your flaws in perspective; do not magnify them (1 Corinthians 12:12-31).