Updated: Feb 7
Freedom - The Impact of Grace
As a life coach I am asked to help people get unstuck. Throughout the process it is quite common to help people examine their thoughts or beliefs so they can walk in freedom and success. One of the common beliefs that frequently creates a roadblock to their desired change is the belief that we can always transform ourselves by simply applying the correct methods or strategies.
There is nothing wrong with methods or strategies, in fact the ABCs of Transformation and E.A.S.E Model that we offer have been incredibly effective in helping people implement what they are learning. But what has become abundantly clear, as a follower of Jesus, is that if we trust ANYTHING other than the grace, power, and love of Christ for our transformation, we will fail. It is easy to fall into the trap of legalism, works, and acceptance through a performance-based self-righteousness instead of identifying with Christ and who He says I am.
Obedience in the transformation process places us in alignment with God and His created order. However, the ONLY thing that will cause our efforts to even approach the possibility of working is God’s grace flowing through us! Everything begins and ends with the grace of God extended to His creation. Grace provides the power and the environment conducive for transformation.
Ephesians 2:4-7 “But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— and raised us up with Him and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages He might show the immeasurable riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.”
You might be thinking, “Ok, I know already! I know that it is all grace. I recognize that I can’t save myself. I have asked for and received God’s gift of eternal life through Christ! And I was forgiven for all my past sins so that I can live this new life with Christ. I was dead and couldn’t help myself. But now that I have learned the ABCs of Transformation and I have this strategy, I finally have what I need to overcome my failures and weaknesses. Surely God gave us revelation and truth so we could do our part, so that we could apply our intellect and understanding to finally become holy and righteous in our everyday lives. So thanks! I will just use the ABCs with my coaching clients so they can transform their lives.”
I have thought something similar for most of my life. I believed that my efforts should be reflected in my results. If I did the right things, followed the right strategies, everything would fall into place. If only I read the bible more, prayed longer, believed more perfectly. If only, if only, if only… Then I would be respected for what I accomplished. I would be admired and sought after. I would be complete in my transformation and confidence in Christ.
I had heard it said and repeated it frequently, “I am a sinner saved by grace.” The problem was, that became my identity. I was a sinner that sometimes acted like a saint. Even though I was saved by grace, my identity caused me to hide and be distrusting. Knowing my real self, the person that I was deep down and the things I struggled with that were clearly not “Christian,” I was convinced that if someone knew that person, the real me, they would reject me.
Then, in 2006 I was sharing at a men’s retreat and made the comment as I often did that I was, “just a sinner saved by grace.” When I finished, a brother came up to me and said, “Rolfe, there is one thing that you shared today that simply isn’t true.” Well as you can imagine, my ears perked up. “You said you were a sinner saved by grace, but the Bible says that you are a saint, and not a sinner.”
Now, I had heard this numerous times and had dismissed it as being just semantics. Surely it just meant that the word “saint” was the name that was used to make a distinction between sinners who had rejected Jesus and sinners who had accepted Jesus. But they were still sinners, right?
I thanked him politely even though I was thinking that he was just some Christian nerd and part-time theologian that wanted to ensure that everything was said, 'just so.' But to his credit he said, “I can see that you are not convinced about what I just shared, so listen to this teaching called True Faced, by John Lynch, it changed my life.”
I listened to the teaching on the way home. Half-way through Lynch’s presentation, I had to pull the car over because I was crying so hard, I couldn’t see the road. The Holy Spirit was using this man to introduce me to a God of Grace, who has done everything for me. This God not only took my punishment so that I could spend eternity with Him, but this God had made up His mind that I would be holy, even before He spoke the first word of creation. Ephesians 1:4-5 tells us, “Even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined us for adoption to himself as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will.”
I finally understood what it meant when people pointed out that Jesus didn’t die to make bad men good or good men better, but rather He came to make dead people alive! I was dead but received life as a new creation, a brand-new species. 2 Corinthians 5:17, 22 “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.”
On my worst day, Jesus says, “that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” As part of being this new creation, “For we are his workmanship, (his poem, masterpiece) created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” Ephesians 2:10
We are now, “looking to Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith,” because, “He who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.” Hebrews 2 and Philippians 1:6
As we conclude this 5-part series on the ABCs of Transformation; we end with the key to all transformation - our confidence that God will provide His truth, power and most especially grace, to help us mature into who God says we already are.
John Lynch, in his book The Cure, provided a powerful illustration of what it means to mature into who God says we already are. “Nature provides many examples of this incredible discrepancy between who we appear to be and who we truly are. Consider the caterpillar. If we brought a caterpillar to a biologist and asked him to analyze it and describe its DNA, he would tell us, “I know this looks like a caterpillar to you. But scientifically, according to every test, including DNA, this is fully and completely a butterfly.”
God has wired into a creature looking nothing like a butterfly a perfectly complete butterfly identity. And because the caterpillar is a butterfly in essence, it will one day display the behavior and attributes of a butterfly. So it is with us. He has already spoken who we are in Christ, now we walk through the process of allowing His grace to transform us. As we lean into the identity we were already given, God’s work will be brought to completion.
So, as you begin to apply the ABCs of transformation the E.A.S.E model, to your life and coaching, I pray that you are reminded of the One whose grace is truly doing the work.
Click here to read the first 4 blogs in this 5-part ABCs of Transformation series