Chapter OneGrace, Grace and More Grace
As we begin our study of the grace of God, I would like to share
with you briefly about the condition that my life was in when the
Lord first began to give me a revelation about what grace actually
At that time I had little revelation about the subject, but as I
studied, I was really stirred up in my spirit to believe God for a
greater revelation. As you read, I want to encourage you to be in
faith asking God to give you a deeper revelation about this
wonderful thing called grace.
The Word Is Frustrating
When God first began to reveal to me what grace actually is, I
suppose I was about as frustrated as anybody can be. Why was I so
frustrated? There were many different reasons for my frustration,
but one of the things that was frustrating me the most was, believe
it or not, the Word of God.
How could the Word be frustrating me? The reason is simple. As is so
often the case with believers, I was trying to work the Word rather
than letting the Word work in me. The thing that was frustrating me
about the Word was this: it kept convicting me.
You see, I had a lot of problems in my life, but I didn't really
know the source of my problems. I thought they were being caused by
somebody else. I was convinced that if everyone else would change
and act differently, then I could finally be happy and content. Then
when I started studying the Word of God, it began to reveal to me
that there were lots of areas in my life that needed to be changed.
Every message I heard, whether it was on television, or on radio, on
cassette or in a meeting, seemed to convict me of my need to be
changed. The problem was that I didn't understand the difference
between conviction and condemnation.
As the Word would bring me to conviction, which is what it is
designed by the Lord to do, the devil would take that thing that was
intended for my good and would begin to beat me over the head with
it as condemnation. I would look in the Word and see my need to
change, but I didn't know anything about the grace of God to bring
about that change in me. I didn't know how to allow the Spirit of
the Lord to come into my life and cause the things to happen that
needed to happen as I believed Him and exercised my faith. I thought
I had to do it all.
I was trying to change myself, trying to make myself be everything
that the Word said that I was supposed to be. I didn't know how to
submit myself to the Lord and wait on Him. I knew nothing about
being changed from glory to glory (2 Cor. 3:18 KJV), about
conquering my enemies little by little. (Deut. 7:22.)
Besides trying to change myself, I was also trying to change
everything else in my life. I was trying to change my husband, my
children, all my circumstances, everything that I thought was the
root cause of my problems. I tried and tried and tried until I felt
I would die from frustration. Trying to do something about something
you can't do anything about is frustrating!
What I was doing was operating under the Law, which the Bible says
will always lead to frustration and, eventually, to disappointment
The Law Versus Grace
And all who depend on the Law [who are seeking to be justified by
obedience to the Law of rituals] are under a curse and doomed to
disappointment and destruction, for it is written in the
Scriptures, Cursed (accursed, devoted to destruction, doomed to
eternal punishment) be everyone who does not continue to abide
(live and remain) by all the precepts and commands written in the
Book of the Law and to practice them.
I didn't realize my problem was that by all my trying I was
unconsciously putting myself under the curse of the Law. I was
taking this good thing of the Word of God and making a law out of
it. I saw all of it as something I had to accomplish rather than
promises God would fulfill in me as I trusted Him and waited for His
victory. Do you know that you and I can make a law out of every word
in the Bible if we don't know how to approach it properly?
Any time we put ourselves under the Law, we are setting ourselves up
for misery. Why? Because the Law has the ability to do one of two
things: If we follow it perfectly, it can make us holy. But since no
human being can do that, the second thing the Law can do is to
actually increase sin, which leads to destruction.
Romans 2 and 3 teach us that God gave the Old Testament Law so man
would try to keep it, find out he could not, and realize his
desperate need for a savior.
How does that happen? We hear or read the Law and conclude, "If I
don't follow this Law, I am going to lose my salvation" or "God
won't love me if I don't behave properly. He won't love me if I am
not good." We then begin to look at the Word totally opposite from
the way God wants us to see it. All He wants us to do is to face the
truth and say, "Yes, Lord, You're absolutely right. I need to do
that. I need to change, but I can't change myself. Your Word is
truth, and my life is not matching up to it. Your Word has become a
mirror to me. In it I can see that I am wrong in this area, and I am
sorry. I ask You to forgive me and to change me by Your power and
But I didn't know how to do that. I didn't know anything about the
power of God and the grace of God. All I knew about was
trying-trying to be good, trying to do everything that the Word said
that I should do. Trying not to talk too much, trying to submit,
trying to be more generous, trying to operate in the fruit of the
Spirit. Trying to pray more, trying to read the Bible more, trying
to understand the Bible more when I did read it. Trying to be a
better wife, trying to be a better mother-on and on.
As a result, I was totally frustrated.
One meaning of the word frustrate is to disappoint, to prevent from
obtaining a goal or fulfilling a desire.
As Paul describes so well in Galatians 3:10,1 was
frustrated-disappointed and actually being destroyed-because I was
trying to live by a Law that was totally impossible for me to keep.
I was trying to obtain a goal and fulfill a desire that was beyond
my ability. The harder I tried, the more miserably I failed.
When you and I put all our energy and effort into something that is
doomed to failure, the only possible result is frustration. And all
we know to do about the situation is to try harder-which only
produces more frustration.
It is a vicious cycle, one that can be broken only by a proper
understanding of the grace of God.
Trying Versus Trusting
Do you realize that the word try is unscriptural? I know that is
true because I checked in the largest concordance I could find. Oh,
the word is there all right, but not in the sense that we are using
it in this context.
The only way try is used in the Bible is in the sense of putting
someone or something to the test. The Bible speaks of the "trying of
our faith." (James 1:3 KJV.) We are told not to believe everything
that we hear, but to "try the spirits." (1 John 4:1 KJV.) The
psalmist says, "Try me, O Lord, and know my thoughts." (Ps. 139:23
KJV.) The Bible also talks about fiery trials which will "try" us.
(1 Pet. 4:12 KJV.) In the scriptural sense, then, the word try
refers to a test or trial to determine the value and worth of a
person or thing.
But that is totally different from the way we usually use the wordtry-which is in referring to human effort. We say we are "trying"
when we are attempting to achieve or accomplish something by our own
means or ability.
Now I am not saying that we should never make any effort to achieve
or accomplish anything in life. Not at all. One of the messages I
often preach is on the subject of the proper effort we are to put
out as believers, an effort that is made through the power and by
the grace of God at work within us. In other words, we don't attempt
anything without asking for God's help. We lean on Him the whole way
through each project. We maintain an attitude that says, "Apart from
Him I can do nothing."
But we are not to be involved in natural, carnal efforts because the
result is only fatigue and frustration, disappointment and
As you read these pages, I would like to suggest that you be willing
to exchange trying for trusting. That's what I learned to do as the
Lord opened to me a whole new realm of revelation about His