The Reformation was a time when people went blind-staggering drunk because they had discovered, in the dusty basement of late medievalism, a whole cellarful of fifteen-hundred-year-old, 200-proof grace–of bottle after bottle of pure distillate of Scripture that would convince anyone that God saves us single-handed.

The Word of the Gospel, after all those centuries . . . suddenly turned out to be a flat announcement that the saved were home free even before they started. How foolish, then, they said, how reprehensibly misleading, they said, to take the ministers of that Word of free, unqualified acceptance and slap enforced celibacy on them–to make their lives bear a sticker that said they had gone an extra mile and paid an extra toll. It was simply to hide the light of grace under a bushel of pseudo-law. . . .

And for the Reformers, that was a crime. Grace was to be drunk neat: no water, no ice, and certainly no ginger ale; neither goodness, nor badness, nor the flowers that bloom in the spring of super-spirituality could be allowed to enter that case.


I got saved in 2013.

Now, I had prayed a prayer at eight years old. I later actually got saved at 17. Soon after I “felt the call” to ministry. I accepted. But, in 2013, I got saved.

I make a clear delineation between the 17-year-old salvation experience and the one I had in 2013 because in 2013 I got saved from me.

I was running hard on the hamster wheel of self-righteous performance. It could’ve been the preaching I was under. It could’ve been my misinterpretation of the preaching I was under. It could’ve been any number of things. But one thing was for certain, I was absolutely worn out.

I wanted so badly to be “on fire.” I wanted so badly to considered one of the “burning ones.” But for all my effort, I wasn’t any closer.

I wasn’t praying consistently or with fervor. I couldn’t string a few days of Bible reading together. And because of this, I beat myself up and compared myself to everyone! In some ways, I abandoned trying to get better at it. I resigned myself to days of failure and never measuring up.

But in 2013, I shook free from all of this.

I didn’t shake free from bible reading or prayer, just the condemnation if I missed a day. I wasn’t free from wanting to be “on fire,” but gained the realization that in God’s view I already was!

I didn’t give up on prayer meetings, I started viewing them differently. I no longer felt that I had to yell and scream in tongues or English to get God to hear me or feel that I was accomplishing something. I now understand that screaming can be a weapon in my arsenal, but don’t have to use it all the time.

I didn’t give up on disciplines of devotion, I started viewing them differently. I no longer felt the pressure to spend hours reading the Bible trying to get a new revelation. I now wanted to spend hours reading the Bible to get to know the Author.

I finally found that special place. That place where the awareness of God’s presence releases a glory that changes everything. I’m NEVER separate from His presence, I’m limited only by my awareness.

I say that I got saved in 2013 because I got saved from the spiritual pressure and the spiritual comparison I allowed.

Know this: You are completely loved, totally free, and wholly whole. God loves YOU. He doesn’t love the “you” you think you should be. He loves you in your junk. He loves you in your spiritual hamster wheel you let yourself run in. He loves you when you unjustly compare yourself to someone who you think is “further along” than you are.

Rest here.

“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”
Matthew 11:28-30, Message

Photo by Kaidi Guo on Unsplash

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