Obligation or Intimacy?

When I drive to work, I jam to songs on my phone. I have my playlist on shuffle and there is no telling what song is going to pop up. From Bethel Music to Andrae Couch’s album from the 80’s. From Ed Sheeran to Marvin Gaye. It’s an eclectic mix of songs. Often, I find, God will speak to me through the songs that play in my playlist.

Friday, God was speaking to me about Grace. My ride began with Israel Houghton & Tye Tribbet reminding me that I can’t out run his grace.

Everywhere I go His grace is right there.
Everywhere I turn His grace is right there.
Even when I fall His grace is right there
I can’t run. I can’t Hide from His hand on my life.
His love. His mercy will never stop chasing me.

As I sang loudly and off key, God began showing me how my actions had gone from a place intimacy (grace) to obligation (law).

It’s a fine line we walk as Christians. God has provided avenues of intimacy for us, His children. We connect with Him through Prayer, worship, the Word, fasting, meditating, giving. These create intimacy with the Father.

But if we are not careful, the same acts designed to create intimacy can be used to reenact the law. We can quickly crossover to performance – paying, worshipping, reading, and giving to gain favor with God. Our thinking can become if I do this then God will do that.

The last five months have been so stressful, I had little by little inadvertently crossed the line. I began thinking, “Lord, maybe if I just pray more, give more, fast more than life would get easy again.”

But God reminded me through another Israel song, that it is not my performance but His

Grace that restores
Grace that, redeems
Grace that releases me to worship
Grace that repairs visons and dreams
Grace that releases miracles.

So I began thanking God for His grace in my finances, grace at work, grace in ministry. The pressure was relieved. It’s not about me. It’s about Him. I can go back to enjoying intimacy my Father and not performing for Him.

“With great power the apostles continued to testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. And God’s grace was so powerfully at work in them all”
‭‭Acts‬ ‭4:33‬ ‭NIV‬‬