In honor of Thanksgiving this week, I thought I would do what most spiritual teachers are doing and dive deeper into the heart of gratitude. I prayed that God could show me something new about grace. Something new about what it means to live thankfully. I had been reading studies that show people who have a positive attitude in life, someone who can be grateful in all circumstances, are people who live longer, healthier and in a younger state of mind. I want to be that kind of person. And I think God asks us to be those kinds of people.
In my search under the word grace, I accidentally fell into some sort of wormhole, in the vastness of the internet, and landed in a King James Version study of the bible. As I was scrolling along I saw a verse that said these four words “Do not frustrate grace.” Ugh. Like a shot to the heart and a clear moment in my head, I stopped searching and dove into this verse.
The full verse is from Galatians 2:21 where Paul is writing to the church in Galatia because he was frustrated with them. It seems they were turning back to “old” ways of living. Rule living. Paul reminds them how horrible that old lifestyle was. He reminds them that something new has come, so live like new beings. He says “Do not frustrate the grace of God; for if righteousness (come) by the law, then Christ is dead in vain.”
We can all think about someone or some situation that frustrates us. And since life is more about relationships, the first thing that comes to my mind is that someone. And with the holidays coming, I will be around that someone a lot more than usual. This lame, blind and deaf girl needs some help!
The Webster definition of frustrate is “to prevent from progressing.” Jesus is about transformation. It is why he came. Like the song amazing grace says “I once was lost but now am found.” In the love of Jesus we are transformed. We go from something old, to something new. It is important that we allow ourselves to be led towards transformation. We can so easily frustrate grace can’t we? Can’t we prevent progress? We do this whenever we think with our old hearts. When we think we are people who are owed something. Law living people say “Do this. Don’t do that. You should of done this. You shouldn’t of done that. And if only you would do this THEN I will love you.” We simply cease to progress when we think like law living people. We frustrate grace.
God’s grace is always on the move. It is always flowing. It moves in one direction, and if I don’t hop on the moving bus of grace, and keep my hands off the wheel, I will prevent progress from happening. I will cause a traffic jam of the heart. God's grace, in the gift of His son for my sins, sets me free. “You owe me nothing. I do it because I love you.” is what Jesus says to us. It is my life quest to be able to authentically do that to others. And dare I say, even to be thankful for those who frustrate me.
I do not want to be frustrated anymore.