Embracing Grace: Reflecting on TGCW24 

9000 Women! All diving deep into scripture! All worshiping! All praying! All embracing grace! The Gospel Coalition Women’s conference provided so many incredible experiences in 3 short days. I am still processing all that I learned. As I process, I thought I’d bring you along!

Just like any conference, I learned some nuggets of goodness. Some nuggets made me think or dive into other ideas, and some nuggets are still swirling and forming in my mind.

Today, as I consider what I learned, everything revolves around one word. I’d like to suggest that this may be one of the most important and defining words in all the Christian faith. 

Grace.

Think about that word with me. What does Jesus command us to do:

You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.

Matthew 22:37-39, ESV

Only by grace can we have the capacity to love the Lord. Our natural tendency is to become infatuated with ourselves above all else.

This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.

1 John 4:10, NIV

Because he loved us (even in our sinfulness and selfishness) so much, we are able to know what real love is.

Then, as if that isn’t enough, he extends his grace even further and gives us a capacity to love others.

I want to challenge you, sweet reader, to avoid cheapening grace. Have you ever made these statements:

  • She just doesn’t deserve grace.
  • I’m not sure there is any more grace for her.
  • I just can’t give her any more grace.

The minute we attach a value or limit to grace, we are missing what grace really is. Grace is a FREE gift. Grace is not earned. It is not limited. It is not bound. Grace comes as an overflow of the abundant, lavish love modeled by our sweet Jesus. (This does not mean boundaries in relationships are not important, but that is a different conversation.)

With true grace in mind, process with me some of these things I learned last week.

Embracing Grace Means Embracing Abundant Life

Jesus + Nothing = Salvation

Jesus is pretty clear when he says:

Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”

John 14:6, NIV

He doesn’t say I and your hard work are the way.

He doesn’t say I and your religious practices are the way.

He doesn’t say I and your successes are the way.

And yet, how often do I work, not to bring God glory, but to seek a feeling of acceptance? Maybe it’s just me, but I don’t think so. While I know that Jesus is the way, sometimes I think I need to help him. (I know how ridiculous that sounds.)

One of my favorite lines of the conference was echoed a few times. These words are somewhat paraphrased: The moment we communicate Jesus + ___ gives access to the father, we become the thief and the robber (see John 10). Jesus gives us abundant life. When we try to add conditions or works to his grace, we rob ourselves and others of that abundance. We cheapen his grace.

Embracing Grace Means Trusting God is Who He Says He Is

So, if we have abundant life, why do we think God is holding out on us sometimes? This brings me to another paraphrased nugget that I learned: If God gives us all we need, the thing we “think we need” is either not needed or not needed now.

God is sovereign. He is good. He is our provider. He is our sustainer. 

If I believe who God says he is, why do I find myself searching for more? Maybe you can relate?

More time?

More money?

More friendships?

More rest?

More peace?

More ___?

Go read Philippians 4.

And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.

Philippians 4:19, ESV

Embracing Grace Means Embracing Jesus

Finally, Jesus is not showing us to the way. He is the way. He is not a navigation instrument. He offers himself. 

More Jesus.

Who doesn’t want that?!

The more I seek his face, the more I want to seek his face. The more I read his word, the more I want to read his word. The more I experience his grace, the more I want to rest in his grace. The more I reflect on his love, the more I experience his love.

You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.

Jeremiah 29:13, NIV

I love this scripture. It reminds me to keep my eyes on Jesus. It reminds me to seek him in all things. I’m not seeking him + __.  I just want more Jesus.

I realize that when life is hard, these words can sound very Pollyanna. They can almost sound like denying the reality of things that are hard. Seeking more of Jesus is not a stick-your-head-in-the-sand-approach to life. Seeking more of Jesus puts the hard into perspective. Seeking more of Jesus makes the hard possible. Seeking more of Jesus lets us understand these words in James more clearly:

Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.

James 1:2-4, ESV

I will choose to seek Jesus. I will choose to rest in his grace. I will trust that he is who he says he is.


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