“For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.” – Ephesians 2:8-9
As a child, I often sat and listened to my family tell stories, an exercise that was entertaining, but also an activity that made me wonder about my family’s collective IQ.
Like the time my uncle told about his uncle. The one who kept his pipe – and his rifle shells – in the same pocket. One day, the inevitable happened – one of the bullets ignited and a loud explosion emanated from the pocket of my uncle’s uncle (Does that make the protagonist of this story a blood-relative? I hope not.), who pronounced curses upon himself if he knew what had happened.
He knew what happened. Or, at least, he should have known. Like the day my dad drove – forward – into a concrete barrier in a parking lot. Or the many, many times Kimberly has sent me to the Grocery Store for milk and eggs, only to discover that I have returned with bacon and orange juice (at least I didn’t stray from the “breakfast” theme!).
Isn’t it a good thing that we’re saved by grace through faith? That it doesn’t depend on your – or your family’s – IQ? That it doesn’t depend on your having obtained a perfect past? That it doesn’t depend on your past good decisions but on your present and ongoing decision to follow Christ, no matter what you might have done five minutes ago?
Some of us are frustrated, angry and fearful that we might be discovered making some kind of mistake. I understand – I have walked in your shoes – and they’re a pretty tight fit! I can’t cover much ground when I wear them. And they’re not the “Good News Shoes” Paul tells us about in Ephesians 6. No, those shoes don’t bring good news. They bring news of frustration and stress, because when we wear them, we are always worried about how we look to others and too often looking back rather than ahead.
Take those ugly, uncomfortable and useless shoes off. Put on the Gospel Shoes. Walk in them, secure in the fact that your sins are forgiven. And “press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:14).