I wrote this for my Spiritual Life class tonight. Although it’s not in my typical blog-writing style, it definitely provides insight toward the my general reaction to unconditional grace. I found writing the paper as semi-refreshing, as well as semi-terrifying. If you have some time, enjoy a glance.
The concept of grace is rediscovered and revitalized in the pages of Dr. Swindoll’s book, The Grace Awakening. The flow of meaningful commentary in response to deep questions raised concerning the idea of grace is relevant and profound. Dr. Swindoll presents an optimistic reality that spurs the reader to probe their own mind and heart for reasons why this reality is not more abundant in Christian culture. The main theses of the book pertain to the the open and unconditional nature of grace, followed by the conflict presented by “grace killers” and the legalistic mind-frame. The final of the three theses deal with how to guide the reader and others to gracefully “emancipated” life in every aspect; the aspects of compromise, ministry, marriage, and giving are suitably covered in respect to grace.
Grace in my own life has typically been defined and applied in an extremely conditional manner. The ebb and flow of circumstantial joy or grief has dominated the boundaries of grace in my life, and has resulted in a very skewed scope of how I view grace on a daily basis. The completion of this book has not prompted me to construct a detailed, intentional plan of how to achieve true, biblical grace in all situations. However, the principles and examples Swindoll provides regarding the unconditional nature of God’s love and grace has been the most rewarding quality from my read. The picture Swindoll paints of God as a looming professor “frowning with His hands stuck in the pockets of His robe” has been my view of God for most of my life. The introduction of solid grace and Godly acceptance has been a delightful and welcomed variable in my ever-shifting equation of following Jesus.
The topic that Swindoll brings up discussing how to be a minister of grace is the most troubling for me personally. The future of my ministry definitely needs to be sought after with a great deal of grace; dealing with the behavior of teenagers is the epitome of stretching one’s patience! The constant emotional baggage that is often paired with curious, developing minds is a lethal combination which requires a sound theology of grace. The “tendency” Swindoll refers to about depending on our own intellect and will is a temptation that daily plagues my path in attempting to become more like Christ. Learning to bestow grace on others, as well as undeniably embracing God’s grace for myself, is utterly painstaking. This task is something I aim to diligently pursue in my journey for the days ahead.