The election season of 2016 left me reeling, listening, and broken - anyone else? I'm a middle child who craves peace at heart, and seeing most of our country erupt into anger and extreme frustration at one another did a number on me. I often understood the anger, could even identify with it, but couldn't get over seeing our nation ripped in two by polarizing ideals.
I know very little about politics, but this much seems simple: the two party system can't be the only way. If there are only two parties and each one is supposed to represent all potential views, you’re going to end up with archetypes and extremes. You’re going to miss out on nuance, tensions, and complex ideas that don’t sit well in seemingly polarizing camps. As I spoke with friends and loved ones during this crazy election season, I heard so many people expressing what I felt inside: an extreme view from one side or the other doesn’t really represent my viewpoints. There has to be a middle ground.
But this is not a blog post about politics - so let’s don’t get lost on that. The thing is: I think the same is true for our faith. I think this two party system has crept it’s way into our churches and our Christian communities and I have a feeling it’s not sitting well with you either. It seems right now that there is one camp yelling about grace and another professing our need for holiness and I see it everywhere I turn.
My own story of struggling between holiness and grace is long and drawn out - but here it is summed up: I spent the first few years of my walk with Jesus feeling the need to cover up, hide my own brokenness, and earn my way into His approval. I felt a call to be holy, but the work to get there left me exhausted and exasperated - unsure of where the peace was in this equation.
Then, someone lovingly helped me understand what it means to receive the gospel, not just believe the gospel - and I found myself DELIGHTED by the grace of God. I heard that grace meant He leaned in towards me, at just the right time, when I needed Him most and could never earn my way to Him. I found that I could work from a place of His approval, rather than striving for it. But with my standing secure, I let any ideas of holiness or righteousness fall to the wayside.
And then. I was left aching and confused. What was a I set free from and where had that freedom set me to? If everything was grace, if grace covered it all - why did I still feel broken when I sinned and why did I not feel satisfied and free?
The truth I was missing all those years is that my faith life is not a two-party system. We don’t have to choose between pursuing holiness and celebrating the grace. No one is saying we must live a different way, and you won’t hear the word should come out of my mouth in this context either.
The thing is: I don’t think we’re meant to live in the extremes of earning our way to God or acting like we weren’t made for holy living. I don’t even think we’re supposed to function out of grace 50% of the time and a yearning for holiness the other 50%. I think we GET TO to dive in deep, grasping the grace and pardon we’ve been given by the blood of Jesus AND I think we GET TO stand our holy ground, recognizing who He has made us to be and what He has called us to.
In all earnest: any notion that pits the grace of God against holiness (His or ours), any thought that separates the two even - is lacking truth, abundance, and hope.
Want to hear more? I can’t wait to share more of this with you. Dance Stand Run is a book of story and study that comes out on October 24th and this is what it’s about: less restricting two party systems, more abundant life. You in?
If you order today, or any day before the book launches, we’ve got fun gifts for you here. Let’s keep going.