“So somewhere in my youth or childhood, I must have done something good,” Maria sings to Captain von Trapp in “The Sound of Music.” She seems to believe she did something to deserve this love from him, she was good enough to receive the gift of their relationship. They sing together, “Nothing comes from nothing, nothing ever could.”
I used to live out a version of this. I believed if I were good enough, God would reward me with an easy road. Then we hit a crisis when our son was diagnosed with autism. I questioned my goodness. I questioned God’s goodness. It took me a year to see God’s grace even in James’s autism. But sometimes I still slip back into focusing on goodness instead of grace. That’s why I jumped at the change to read and review Christine Hoover’s new book, From Good to Grace.
In the first few chapters I knew this book would impact my life. Instead of striving to be good enough, I needed to rest in grace. Christine helped me see the real issue with this quote:
That was the heart of my issue. I was trying to please God on my own power. And even though I love to quote John 15:5, “apart from me you can do nothing,” I don’t always live like I believe it.
Christine gives biblical examples of those trying to earn their grace and personal life lessons from her own striving. Once she helps you see yourself as a legalist, she walks you through how to receive what God really wants for you–a life of love, help, and freedom (in part 2 of the book). Once we receive from Him, we are able to give with freedom. We can live from abundance instead of scarcity.
Sometimes it takes a crisis to realize you’ve built your faith on a faulty foundation. That crisis can be a gift if you can see your idol of goodness for the false gospel it truly is.
Christine reminds us we can experience lives of grace.
…the most important thing I can do each day is not to be good or rely on myself but to trust God and acknowledge by weakness. He will take my meager offering and turn it into a miracle. This is what I need to know down deep in my soul: how Christ’s gospel of grace is for every single day.
This is a book I will pull off the shelf often to remind myself that not matter how good I was in my youth or childhood, I still need grace. Every single day.
(Christine Hoover (@christinehoover) is an author, a recovering perfectionist, the wife of a pastor, and a mom of three boys. She writes online at www.GraceCoversMe.com and has contributed to Desiring God, The Gospel Coalition, Christianity Today, Send Network, and iBelieve. Her newest book, From Good to Grace: Letting Go of the Goodness Gospel, offers women biblical freedom from trying to “be good enough.” You can read a guest post from her here on my site, Good, Bye.)