When You Need Grace, but Choose Works

It was one of “those” mornings. Despite all my efforts to ease into my daily routine, I was greeted right out of the gate by a needy to-do list.

The laundry basket on the verge of overflow.

An urgent email awaiting my response.

That issue of aphids on my rose bushes just begging for a Google solution.

My bible lay on the coffee table seemingly staring me down. It was “that” moment, when priority and desire lock horns and wrestle for your time. 

For as long as I’ve been a believer, I’ve searched for the perfect pattern to choosing God over all else—even incoherent morning brain and a sink full of breakfast dishes.

There are plenty of formulas out there. Many wise and well-intentioned individuals have penned their ABC’s to meeting God and 5 steps to the best quiet time ever.

Yet every “how-to” pattern only shines a spotlight on how I can’t. 

There is sweet freedom in knowing that God isn't standing over our shoulder with a clipboard. We don't have to work harder. God isn't demanding one more thing in order for us to be made righteous and whole. That's grace—and there's simply nothing we need to add to it.

There have been many mornings in my 20+ years of faith when I’ve beaten myself up for falling short. Motivated by shame, I’ve tiptoed into God’s throne room around noon convinced He was entirely disappointed that I once more broke the rules and cleaned the kitchen before I cracked open my bible.

When God gave me “seek” as my word for 2017, I decided to delve into how I did just that—seek God. It wasn’t the method [how-to] I wanted to discover, as much as the motivation [why] behind my pursuit of Him.

So I asked God: Am I doing it wrong? Am I doing it right? Am I thinking I’m doing it wrong when I’m actually doing it right?

The real question: Was I failing God?

Just as quickly as that thought rolled across my mind, the answer followed. For you who also review the “rule book” and conclude you’re getting it all wrong, can I offer you this assurance: you’re not.

“We know very well that we are not set right with God by rule-keeping but only through personal faith in Jesus Christ.” Galatians 2:16 MSG

Maybe you need that reminder too … that offering from a gospel wrought with mercy, grace, and the promise that God is STILL good to those who diligently seek Him … even at noon, even after they pick up the toys strewn across the floor.

Our salvation is not determined by some subjective set of rules. We are saved by grace alone.

salvation = grace + faith and nothing more.

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We don’t impress God by setting rules and creating checklists—that’s just a bunch of how-to. Our devotion to God is reflected in our faith, strengthened through His grace, and demonstrated by actions motivated by love, not obligation. That’s the why that matters.

Is it not clear to you that to go back to that old rule-keeping, peer-pleasing religion would be an abandonment of everything personal and free in my relationship with God? I refuse to do that, to repudiate God’s grace.
Galatians 2:20-21 MSG

Structure and patterns are great, but grace is greater. We can’t render what works for someone else as written for us. Our goal should not be to please those who provide well-meaning suggestions, when we have a God who meets us with His perfect truth.

You know what God showed me? I don’t do mornings.

I also don’t do chaos or disorder. I cannot leave the bed unmade, step over crumbs on the kitchen floor, or ignore the cereal bowl left on the coffee table with a teaspoon of milk and one cheerio.

Those are not things to shrug at on my way to God. They are distractions that will peck at the front of my brain when I attempt to turn my devotion and attention upward. But they are not failures.

God has not written “failure” over us, so don’t believe that lie.

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It has taken me a lot of work to choose grace, and the irony of that is not lost on me. But, there is sweet freedom in knowing that God isn’t standing over our shoulder with a clipboard. We don’t have to work harder. God isn’t demanding one more thing in order for us to be made righteous and whole.  

That’s grace—and there’s simply nothing we need to add to it. 

By His endless grace,


If you’re anything like me, you need those friendly nudges that grace rewrites the rules. It’s something beautiful we should insert into every day. I’ve created this takeaway just for you! Feel free to print it and tuck it into your bible, or pin it to share and save for later. 

Sometimes we need that reminder to focus on the why vs. the how of our time with God. There is sweet freedom in remembering that He doesn't need us to do one more thing to be made right with Him. That's the beauty of grace, and God's word is received so much better surrounded by it.

You can also find these words linked up at my favorite spots: Jennifer Dukes LeeHolley GerthKristin Hill Taylor3dlessons4life, Heart Encouragement Thursday, and Arabah Joy’s Grace & Truth.

God doesn't need us to do one more thing in order to be made righteous and whole. Jesus finished that work. That's grace...and there's nothing we need to add to it. Faith | Quotes | Bible | Strength | Jesus | Christian | Encouragment