"I grew up in a Christian family in Holywood, a few miles outside Belfast. I was taken along to church from a young age, but despite having been brought along to a lot of churchy things, I’d missed the real message of Jesus and had a distorted view of God.
Subconsciously, the God that I believed in was all about how many good works I did. I always felt like I had to perform to please God and this filtered into every aspect of my life. I placed my value on how I performed, I thought that if I was a ‘nice’ person people would like me, I thought that if I did good deeds, God would like me.
When I was in secondary school, a few friends who were Christians invited me to an event. I heard Jesus’ parable of the lost son in a fresh way and understood God’s grace involved in bringing his undeserving son back for the first time. I realised that God invites us into his family based on what Jesus has done, not on anything I can do. I had never grasped that one of God’s main characteristics was his grace.
Realising what Jesus has done for me through his death on the cross and the unconditional love He has for me has radically transformed my life.
In fact, it feels like I’m only scratching the surface for how much this affects my life. The discovery of God’s grace has filtered into everything that I do.
Having been a life long people-pleaser, I know that I spend too much time thinking about what people think of me! Even as I write this little article, I’m thinking of the reactions that you might be having.
But God’s grace is allowing me to be free from worrying about what people think. I am discovering a deeper, more real joy and inner peace in being a follower of Jesus more every year.
I am reassured that Jesus’ death has paid for my sins and given me a new identity as a child of God. Best of all, this new identity is safe and secure.
I’m constantly finding that the gospel makes sense of life to me and brings me joy even in the mundane. It’s changing my marriage, my friendships, my view on the world and what’s important. It’s given me a new set of priorities."
from Josh McCance