Wild God, Extravagant Love
Tosca Lee, She Reads Featured Author

"For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God." Ephesians 2:8 (NIV)

A few years ago, I faced one of the hardest, toughest decisions of my life. I wondered, "What if I make a mistake? What if I am wrong or choose the wrong thing? What if God cannot forgive me if I do?"

It was then that a wise counselor said to me, "God's grace is either enough for you, or it isn't."

I was stunned.

A believer in the redeeming work of Christ since the age of 11, I had grown up in the church. I had sung that Jesus loved me. I had witnessed that Christ was the Lamb of God, and that His gift was free. But in that moment, I was faced with the inescapable truth that I had been leaning for years on my own goodness to be enough.

I had always been a good girl, growing up. I had tried, all my life, to do the right thing. Perhaps not out of love as much as fear—I feared the displeasure of God. A perfectionist, I feared making mistakes. I was a pleaser, but regardless of the reasons, I was good. Not perfect, but good. And perhaps I had needed just a little less grace because of it. Yes, yes, I was still saved by faith. Yes, salvation was the free gift of God. But in that moment I realized that I had never entrusted the full weight of my most terrible mistakes, my most heinous self, and most sinful potential to God fully.

In the darkest moments of error, it was fear, not relief or gratitude that flooded me. Having grown up in the church and heard the message of grace for years, it had become a well-worn rut in my mind. Yes, Jesus loves me. Yes, we are saved by grace. But I was operating by fear rather than in freedom, because I was leaning on myself.

But this time I had no choice but to trust in God's wild, extravagant grace. To remember what an extravagant gift grace is. It is far too much. It is incomprehensible, because it cannot be earned or reciprocated. It is wild love from a wild God. I could not earn it with my goodness, with my right choices, or a lifetime of church attendance. I simply had to receive it.

God's grace is something more than the feeble songs we sing about it. It is enough to cover our greatest shortfalls and rebellion, to forgive what we fear to be unforgiveable. It is enough to set us free from the burden of our own righteousness.

What are you facing or fearing today? God's grace is enough for it—and you.

Holy God, let us know You for the extravagant God You are. Let us embrace Your grace fully and lean not at all on our own acts and righteousness. Let us conduct ourselves in the gratitude and freedom of Your outrageous love, rather than in fear of not being good enough. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

Related Resources:
Do You Know Him?

Visit the She Reads blog where we are giving away copies of both Tosca’s novels and a reading gift basket complete with book light, Starbucks gift card, coffee mug, and water bottle.

Havah: The Story of Eve by Tosca Lee

Demon: A Memoir by Tosca Lee

Messy Faith: Daring to Live By Grace by A.J. Gregory

Confessions of a Good Christian Girl: The Secrets Women Keep and the Grace that Saves Them by Tammy Maltby

Application Steps:
Meditate on the wild extravagance of God. Consider creation. The expanding cosmos. The ultimate variety of life.

Consider what it means to be made of dust and clay…and yet to bear the image of God, and to be filled with the breath of life. To be forgiven and bought by the blood of God. What does it tell us about the dichotomy of what we are and what He is?

Read the story of the woman with the nard from Mark 14. What can this story teach us about extravagant gifts, and about forgiveness?

Reflections:
Where have you leaned on your own goodness? Are there actions or beliefs in your life that have become your righteousness? How can you surrender those acts or ways of thinking to God's grace?

Power Verses:
Zechariah 4:6b, "'Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,' says the LORD Almighty." (NIV)

Psalms 46:10a, "Be still and know that I am God." (NIV)

© 2010 by Tosca Lee. All rights reserved.

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7 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

You have just described my journey as well...I have been more fearful of disappointing God, making mistakes, doing it wrong. I too must learn about this grace I have sung about...what does that look like? What does it mean to walk in His grace?

I pray that He will transform me by the renewing of my mind..that I might know...first Him, His love, His grace and then His will... to BE first...then to DO

Thank you for your thought-provoking article...

Wow, you, anonymous and I are traveling in the same boat. Fear and guilt have kept me form having the extravagant relationship with God and others, as He purposes for me. Thanks for the devotional and prayer. Praise to Him who knows us best, and whose transforming love and grace can mold us into the beautiful daughters He wants us to be.

Blogger vincegiordano said...

Tosca - you are an amazing woman. It is so incredible to see the handiwork of God who has patiently moved you from someone who "knew of" Him to someone who KNOWS Him.

Thanks for your heart and openness and for sharing your journey so that others may be free also.

Peace

Anonymous Merrilyn said...

That could not have described me more accurately. Thank you for the reminder to accept God's grace without trying to force myself into the equation.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

What a beautiful word today. I know there have been many a times I thought I could never be forgiven for something I had done. Only by God's Grace and Mercy was I able to be set free. God has led me too it and through it. I know that I have come out on the other side refined and that I am a continuous work in progress. Bless God for His love.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

once again i must express my gratitude to the authors of this blog for always giving easy-to-understand and close-to-everyday life devotionals. you guys are amazing. I thank God for you!

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Tosca, I can't begin to thank you for sharing your heart like this. I too, although I am saved by faith, have been struggling with accepting God's grace for the sin in my life. I have felt guilt and sorrow for what I've done, and have begged His forgiveness, but I have never felt as if I could get it; I have thought that my sin was too great. But your post has reminded me that God's grace is enough, so I gave in to God. I'm feeling much more at peace now. I'm sure this situation will happen again in the future, but hopefully I'll be able to remember who my God is and that His grace is enough.

Marie

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