“The Kingdom of God is within you.” (Luke 17:21)
There is one in every crowd. We had no sooner taken our first turn when some clown near the back called out, “Are we there yet?” And then someone else asked, “Exactly how far are we going?”
That’s when I was struck by a bit of irony in our travel. Yes, we are indeed gong to place named Grace; and, yes, the journey will take some time for us to traverse. Yet, we are not going far; not at all. For, the truth be told, we are already there!
The problem, however, is that we do not know it. So the journey is necessary for us to discover what we already know; to possess what is already ours.
Jesus said that we would know the truth, and that the truth would set us free. A friend commented on this and said, “It is not the truth that sets us free; it is the truth that we know.” In other words, the truth must enter into our hearts and “the lights must come on.” That is when freedom happens.
The truth about grace has been unnecessarily muddled to such measure over the past few hundred years that our understanding of it today is miles removed from what the disciples knew and believed in the beginning. To them grace was a divine power at work inside them — enabling them to rise to any occasion, and ennobling them with the very character of Christ.
To us, sad to say, it is little more than a kindness God shows to us as we continually struggle and stumble in our plaintive attempts to “be more like Jesus.” That is a far cry from how God wants us to be living our lives. We are looking at the gold leaves floating on the surface of the stream, but missing the real gold that lies on the river bed.
Jesus said, “My grace is sufficient, for My power is made perfect in weakness.” Paul responded to this revelation and said, “Most gladly therefore will I glory in my infirmity, that the power of Christ may rest upon me!”
I will show you that Grace is the empowering Presence of God, enabling you to be who God created you to be, and empowering you to do what God has called you to do – right where you are.
This is what Paul taught, and what the first followers of Jesus believed. And as we journey together onward and upward, somewhere along the way an epiphany will occur in your heart and you will exclaim with wonder, “Oh, my! I never saw it like this before!”
And in that delightful moment, my fellow sojourner, you will experience the overwhelming wonder of the Grace of God in such manner that it will revolutionize not only your way of thinking – but your way of living.
So, yes, we are taking a long journey to a place nearby.