Before we collide with the grace of God, we must collide with the truth of our own sin. -Kyle Idleman
In Ephesians 2:1-3, we see that we were dead apart from God’s grace—like zombies, we were the walking dead.
But through Christ, God makes us alive. Why does he do this? “Because of his great love for us!”
The apostle Paul makes it abundantly clear that God’s love is a resurrecting, overcoming love. No matter how sinful you are, no matter what choices you have made in your life, no matter how far you have run from the Father, because of his great love for you, he hasn’t given up on you!
In his book, Grace is Greater, Pastor Kyle Idleman writes,
“You can run away and hide, but grace is relentless. Grace will chase you down.”
Grace is relentless because of God’s great love for you. Because of his love—because God IS love (check out 1 John 4:8)—the Father will stop at nothing to offer his grace to you. Just think about that for a moment.
Even still, you may feel like you’re too broken to receive God’s grace. Surely God doesn’t love me that much, you might think.
But think of it this way: How much glory does it bring to God when a broken, fractured life gets healed and restored by his grace? After all, those who have been forgiven much love much (check out Luke 7:47). That’s why Kyle also writes,
“When a broken, busted, and wrecked life collides with Jesus, it’s a beautiful thing.”
Grace for the Broken
Imagine yourself as a bystander during Jesus’s conversation with the Samaritan woman at the well.
You probably already know that Galileans like Jesus and Samaritans like this woman don’t usually cross paths. You may know it is against tradition for a man and a woman to have a casual conversation like this. You know that it is highly unorthodox for a spiritual and religious teacher to build a relationship with a sinful, divorced woman. From the beginning to the end, this is an unusual encounter!
As the Samaritan woman is waiting at the well—a common gathering place for women as they collected water during the day—Jesus approaches, sits down in the heat of the day and asks her for a drink. But the conversation doesn’t remain casual for long, as Jesus quickly proclaims:
“If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water” (John 4:10).
It’s a very unusual statement, and when the woman asks if Jesus is talking about real water, he intensifies his claim.
“Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life” (4:13).
Realizing Jesus is identifying a great spiritual thirst within her, the Samaritan woman responds, “Sir, give me this water” (see John 4:14).
If only it were this simple! This woman, like many of us, want spiritual life and healing on our own terms. We want the benefits of Jesus’s offer here and now, without a collision of his holiness and our brokenness. We want good news without the bad news first.
“Go, call your husband… You are right when you say that you have no husband. The fact is, you have had five husbands, and the man you now have is not your husband” (see John 4:16, 18). Ouch!
Jesus goes straight for her heart! But when Jesus confronts our sin, he does so not to intensify our shame, but to remove it. Although the woman tries to change the subject to an impersonal religious question, Jesus keeps the focus on her heart (see John 4:19-22).
As Kyle writes, “Before we collide with the grace of God, we must collide with the truth of our own sin.”
The Brokenness Within You
We are just like the Samaritan woman at the well. We want our mistakes to remain hidden. We want our past to be just that—the past. What comes to mind that you most fear becoming known? PullQuote Right:
He knows your every failure, your every need. He knows the desires of your heart. And he still loves you and longs to resurrect you to new life.
Kyle lists several common struggles:
- a short temper
- looking at pornography
- flirting with someone who is not our spouse
- drinking or shopping beyond moderation
Why are we tempted to these things? Because we are broken people apart from Christ—and that brokenness remains with us even after salvation.
To fully embrace God’s grace is to fully embrace our own need for that grace.
In fact, we should want to be like the Samaritan woman. She was quick to admit her thirst for living, eternal water. In fact, she pleaded with Jesus for it.
Remember Ephesians 2:4-5:
But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved.
“Because of his great love for us,” God pursues you. He chases you down. He waits for you at the well. He knows your every failure, your every need. He knows the desires of your heart. And he still loves you and longs to resurrect you to new life.
Jesus didn’t pick this woman because she was the most moral or the most salvation-ready. She was needy and lost—“dead in transgressions” in Paul’s language. But Jesus focused his love on her precisely because of her need and thirst. Jesus drew this woman back to God to demonstrate the beautiful reality that “by grace you have been saved!”
“When God’s grace and mercy collide with our shame and guilt, it’s messy, but it’s beautiful. Jesus knows everything you ever did, but he wants to make sure you know that his grace is greater.”
Known and Loved
Most of us have two great fears in life, and I think many of us share these. First, I am afraid of being truly known. “What if people find out who I really am? If others see what’s really inside me, they’ll surely reject me.” The second fear is based on the first: I am afraid of being unloved. “How could it be,” I think to myself, “that I could be completely known and still completely loved?”
I think it must be one or the other: I must hide my true self to be loved, or I must be willing to be known and risk losing the love of others.
As Kyle writes,
“Some of you think the worst thing that can happen to you is that your sins will be found out and your secrets will be exposed… But that’s not the worst thing. The worst thing that can happen is that you can go through your life, and nobody knows.”
If I am unknown and unloved, I am totally alone.
If I am known but unloved, I will live in shame.
If I am loved but unknown, I will live in hiding.
But in Christ, I am both known and loved. I will be secure!
The Grace is Greater Journal is a 28-day journey to explore the depths of God’s grace. Study Ephesians 2 and apply grace through daily reflections, stories, and thoughtful activities. More importantly, be reminded that no sin is so great, no bitterness so deep that God’s grace cannot transform your heart and rewrite your story. Buy your Grace is Greater Study Journal today and pursue a deeper understanding of God’s grace!
Share this Post