This Advent season, we have the opportunity to reflect on this deep and incredible commitment God has made – becoming human. We’ll consider four areas where Christ’s coming creates a new paradigm for the way we live.
Our theme in week four is Future. Not only did Jesus come to earth once, he plans to return to bring full restoration to the world. Looking toward a new heaven and earth gives us hope for a future that is pure and real and physical where we will be with God in his presence. We can then endure through the hardships of this life and live righteously with expectation for his future return.
The School of Grace
Saturated in patterns of piety and fluent in the Christian language from childhood, I’ve spent my college years growing increasingly horrified at how much is awry in the heart of this “good kid”—motivations often twisted inward, priorities disordered, desires pitifully weak where they should be most intense and vexingly captivated by shadows. Staggered and humbled, I must inquire: do I know even the first thing about the grace that lies at the center of this faith?
At least beginning to recognize the mess of my heart makes a start. But then I quickly falter, realizing that I’m still too ignorant of my own brokenness and God’s eclipsing glory and perfection to teach myself how to be like him. All I can do is come before God again and again, crying out,
Teach me your way, O LORD, that I may walk in your truth; unite my heart to fear your name (Ps. 86:11)
God has always been actively engaged with his creation, teaching graciously. However, a new kind of education became possible when the Teacher came to rub shoulders with his students and embody God’s holiness among them—the holiness his image bearers are meant to learn.
So who am I to doubt the steadfastness and competency of my Teacher? What elementary schooler ever questioned whether or not her teacher was adequately equipping her for the adult world? Having once drawn near through the Incarnation, my Teacher remains ever so faithful to instruct me in godliness by his Spirit until I attain fullness of maturity in him.
Now, on the cusp of closing an undergraduate career this December before plunging into still more study, I am more acutely aware than ever that I shall never graduate from preschool in this “school of grace” before the Teacher returns. Be that as it may, I aspire to ascend the heights of the wonder mastered by four-year-olds, that I may reel ever more consistently and contagiously at the exquisite gift of grace made possible—and patiently imparted—by the consummate Teacher.
Ask God to reveal to you an area where he would like to teach you more about his grace.
Story by Ellie Wiener
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