I have an obsession with grace.
I sin all the time, but God still forgives me. Everyday. Because grace. I don’t understand everything about God. But that’s ok. Because grace. I have a bad attitude. I believe some wrong things. I act when I should not. But grace. And the list goes on and on.
Grace is what I always come back to and want to share with others. And, because of the grace I so urgently want to show and receive, I lean towards peacemaking. I believe that, because grace extends to cover our beliefs, we can extend grace to our fellow believers beliefs. Grace and finding the middle ground are simply where I see God’s glory most in this world. It’s my niche.
I think each of us has a niche conviction that God has indelibly marked into our soul for a purpose. So we yell it out to the world, like, “isn’t this amazing?” because it also becomes so important and life-changing for us.
And it is amazing.
But I think sometimes in our enthusiasm we forget that someone else might be irrevocably impacted by some other characteristic of Himself. And though that person’s conviction might fly in the face of yours, God might be using that just as he uses yours.
Often it is hard for me to extend grace to someone who (in my eyes) is being legalistic (and therefore ignoring the gray areas in life I value so highly as a grace-lover and a peacemaker). But then I think about how, as the body of Christ, we are meant to work together in our differences not in our identicalness. God might be leading us through each other. So I am forced to wonder if their legalism might actually just be a balance for my grace obsession. And maybe I’m supposed to set my initial response aside and remind myself of the importance of the other person’s niche. Because “Do we keep on sinning so that grace may abound all the more? By no means!” comes ringing in my head as soon as grace gets out too much the focus.
Discord among Christians is running rampant (and loud) these days. I think we too quickly forget that even in all our differences (and conflicting doctrine, even) we represent one God and we are each a piece of one body. One church. We are not a body of eyes, or ears, or hands.
Our differences are good and God-ordained. Because who can know exactly the right balance for perfect beliefs about God, the church, the world, everyday issues, and everything? Conflicts of opinion in the church might draw us closer to His purpose, point out our own naivety as Christians, and center us on His infiniteness instead of our own small store of knowledge. Might a well-timed nudge from a fellow christian throw our lives – and our theology – into a more productive spin? Alone we might be out of balance but together we have the ability to present a bigger picture of who God is. Because, in spite of us attacking each other and drawing lines when the only lines should be the Cross, God is using our differences to refine our faith.
Each day this month I’m going to choose a person or a group (from history or the present) with a niche conviction and briefly share about them, their niche, and how that might tell a story of a God bigger than our opinions. My definition of what I’ll be doing is loose, as you can tell, but the impetus behind it is the conviction that God is bigger than we think. Looking at the faith of others is a way to find out how small we may have made him out to be and how big he actually is. Our sounding board is the Bible, but beyond that how can we know?
This month is just the beginning of an exploration of an infinite God.
I’ll post the links to subsequent days here as they are written.
Day 1: is this post!
Day 2: Martin Luther
Day 3: Sor Juana Inès de la Cruz
Day 4: Brother Lawrence
Day 5: Mother Teresa
Day 6: Jonathan Edwards
Day 7: Revangelical, Lance Ford, a book review
Day 8: Elisabeth Elliot
Day 9: Christine Caine
Day 10: Church and Liturgy
Day 11: Eric Liddell and John Piper
Day 12: Larry Osborne and Pharisees
Day 13: Sarah Young: Jesus Calling
Day 14: Rick Warren
Day 15: Watchman Nee
Day 16: Mark Driscoll
Day 17: Phillis Wheatley
Day 18: Larry Crabb on Community
Day 19: Martin Luther King Jr.
Day 20: Mark Driscoll Revisited. Because grace.
Day 21: William Cameron Townsend
Day 22: Sarah Jakes on Colliding with Destiny (book review)
Day 23: missed it!
Day 24: The Bible People
Day 25: Joel Osteen
Day 26: William Wilberforce
Day 27: Ruth Haley Barton
Day 29: What I’m Into (Niche Edition)
I am trying to make my list fairly diverse. I’d love to entertain suggestions, if you have someone in mind.
Also a disclaimer: At this point in my life, I am not a theologian or a historian. So my ideas are more than open for discussion. Though I will do my best to research as well as possible within the scope of the project.
I am excited.
What’s your niche?
Thanks for reading. I hope you find these ideas inspiring and challenging!
P.S — I promise this is the longest post in the series. I’m aiming for brief the rest of the month! :)
(( Find the rest of the 31 Dayers here: http://write31days.com ))