In Titus 2:11-12, the Word says, “For the grace of God… it teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions… and to live… godly lives in this present age…” Grace is not only the gift of salvation but it is the gift of transformation.
In the book, Longing for God, by Foster and Beebe, there is a list created by Ignatius who contrasted the “nature(our base selves)” and “grace.” Here is that list. Read it and reflectively consider the work grace wants to do in you.
1. Nature is crafty and seductive, while grace walks in simplicity.
2. Nature is self-centered, while grace does everything purely for God.
3. Nature is unwilling to be under a yoke of obedience, while grace moves beyond self-centeredness to minister for God.
4. Nature works for its own benefit, while grace does not consider how to prosper for its own ends.
5. Nature willingly accepts honor and respect, while grace attributes all honor and glory to God.
6. Nature is afraid of shame and contempt, while grace is happy to suffer reproach for the name of Jesus.
7. Nature is lazy, while grace joyfully looks for something to do.
8. Nature seeks the unique and different, while grace delights in simple, humble and even shabby things.
9. Nature keeps an eye on fashion, rejoices in material gain and is depressed at loss, while grace attends to eternal things and does not cling to passing ones.
10. Nature is greedy and likes to take, while grace is kind, sharing and content with little.
11. Nature focuses on the body, the vanities of life and the worries of self-preoccupation, while grace turns its back on anything that stands in the way of God.
12. Nature gladly accepts any comfort that gratifies the senses, while grace seeks comfort in God alone.
13. Nature is motivated by selfish gain, while grace seeks no reward other than God.
14. Nature revels in friends and relatives, while grace loves everyone and focuses on the wise and virtuous rather than the powerful and rich.
15. Nature is quick to complain of want and trouble, while grace bears poverty resolutely.
16. Nature turns all things to itself and pushes itself into the spotlight, while grace refers all things to God.
17. Nature longs to know secrets and to have the inside story, while grace pursues what is useful for the soul.
18. Nature is quick to complain, while grace endures all things resolutely.
19. Nature wishes to be seen in public, while grace seeks to avoid vain displays.
20. Natures longs to be steeped in sensual experience, while grace exercises restraint of the senses.
21. Nature wants to be noticed by others, while grace wants to be noticed by God.
22. Nature is ruled by sin, while grace represents virtue.
23. Nature attempts to judge between good and evil, while grace teaches us the eternal law of God.
24. Nature is ruled by sin, while grace is ruled by grace.
25. Nature does not act on what it knows to be good, while grace flees sin and evil.
26. Nature relies on natural gifts, while grace relies on the gift of God’s mercy.
27. Nature succumbs to vice, while grace radiates virtue.
28. Nature flees the truth, while grace submits to truth.
29. Nature runs on its own energy, while grace relies on energy from God.
30. Nature ignores its failures and refuses to learn from the, while grace humbly embraces shortcomings and learns from them.
On this Ash Wednesday, when we sit in repentance before God longing for His work of grace, I see I need more of grace in my life. And I pray for God’s grace to move me and change me today.
How does this move you?