Masks abound in the Room of Good Intentions. Grace creates authenticity, and reveals our true face. In an environment of grace sin issues and striving gradually start sliding off of us. Grace is more than a theological position — it is an actual environment, a realm, a present-tense reality.
The triune God lives in the realm of grace. Trusting God means trusting that such a realm exists. God does not ask us to get our act together or to stop sinning so much before we can enjoy this realm. God wants only one thing from us — He wants us to become more dependent upon Him. He wants us to walk on the path of Trusting God. We begin to experience true intimacy. We no longer feel we must compete with each other.
If we truly believe in our hearts that we are saints, then we are able to stand with each other in the reality of our sin. When we trust God, we live by this value — the godly are those who trust God with themselves. Resolving sin is only the starting point of life in the Room of Grace. Note the sequence of truths:. The fragile, the goofed-up, the compromised, the failed, the inadequate, the squirrelly, those full of pain and despair, even the arrogant and the control- ing — all mature into health when they enter the Room of Grace.
Those who are genuinely humble, even with their warts and boils, become a healing balm to others. Either we learn to rest in the sufficiency of Christ in us, or we will soon return to the Room of Good Intentions.
God loves to give excessive amounts of grace to humble people. Trust God and others with you. Every so often we catch a glimpse of the destiny God has planned for us, and new longings stir within. Then we struggle to remember the entry point to that great land. The gift of love is not about learning to love more or better. I understand that I have needs — We see our needs as weaknesses; sin influences us to define our innate needs as weaknesses. Our weakness also stem from our unwillingness to accept our limitations. If we see needs as weaknesses, we will hide our needs, or we will pretend that we have no needs call it independence.
Needs do not come from sin, and they are not sin — Adam and Eve needed the love of God long before they sinned. The problem is sin has distorted our understanding of needs. I realize that having my needs met is experiencing love — Every day we need to be loved, and every day God wants to meet our needs for: These needs never go away. Sadly, if we cannot identify our needs, we cannot know love — conversely, if we deny we have needs, we will not experience love.
Thus when our needs go unmet, we are not happy people. I freely admit that I desire to be loved — Deep within each of us resides the desire to be loved. Oh, but the pain and risk of love! Many of us have spent years perfecting self-protection routines. Some of us had good reasons for erecting walls and barriers.
These walls, however, have never truly protected us — they have simply kept us isolated and alone. I choose to let you love me — on your terms, not mine — People who are unable to trust will never experience love. Despite years of abuse and the lonely life, we can learn to trust ourselves to God and others.
Grace, when it is conceived in trust, begets astonishing resolution, healing, maturity, and powerful influence. Learning to love or trust perfectly is not the point — it is learning to receive love. We live in an imperfect world — it is simply not going to happen. He is our safety net — He has our back. Trusting God frees us to move into these relationships. Trusting God frees our hearts to experience His safe, constant, intimate sufficiency. I am fulfilled when I have experienced love — Trusting God is the path that leads us into the Room of Grace where we gradually receive the supreme gift of grace — love.
If we have spent our lives building walls of self-protection, it will take time and trust for us to unwrap this gift. But when we receive love — when we are loved — we feel fulfilled. Love completely satisfies our longings, ambitions, and potential.
God, the ultimate fulfiller, invites us to trust Him. Received love turns frightened pretenders into confident dreamers, and even turns violent lions into humble and tender receivers of love. When the requirements of our soul — our needs — are met, it satisfies us. This fulfillment produces inward peace, contentment, and healing for our wounds.
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As our wounds heal, we can turn away from them with a fresh passion, confidence, and love for others. To serve others out of a contented, fulfilled soul is like rubbing eucalyptus oil onto the sore muscles of a friend. The person experiences healing. To give love that can be trusted changes everything — this is where life gets worth living. And they almost involuntarily begin to offer to all around them a love as rich and freeing as what they are taking in.
And grace alone gives power over sin. We cannot make a decision to stop sinning. All of our striving and willpower have only momentary, external value when it comes to fighting an opponent as crafty, persistent, powerful, and experienced as sin — to confirm that simply look at the legalistic Judaizers. God did not design us to conquer sin on our own. Our goal is not to solve all of our sin issues.
Sin — confess — do better for a while —then sin again and again and again. Despair, anger, shame, distance from God, guilt, self-loathing, and sin again. Confession does not resolve our sin either. Confession is not the same as truly needing God to free us of the sin we have committed. There is power there. When grace introduces us to repentance, the two of us become best friends. When anything else introduces us to repentance, it feels like the warden has come to lock us up. In repentance we depend on God to turn water into wine.
Because we are loved, we can face what we have done to others and ourselves without having to retreat to a cave of hiddenness.
Love acts as a safety net that can keep us from destruction as we admit the truth about ourselves. We know that nothing we do can change how God sees us. I have nothing to hold on to. I want only what You want for me.
By the way, there is no difference between the power to save, and the power to resolve sin. Healing requires that we face God with what is true about us and to trust God to cleanse us. This kind of repent-ance actually provides a real power over sin. But trying to repent without grace is like trying to swim without water. We applaud vulnerability and view godliness as something much more than the presence of good behavior and the absence of bad behavior.
The individuals in this community trust God to mature them from the inside out, by the power of His Spirit. It is a community of saints. Such a community will make a mask-shattering difference, because these folks will treat you for who you are — a saint — and will stand by you with outstretched arms, and accept you. In such an environment repentance becomes a way of life. And when that happens, grace heals, matures, reconciles, and unleashes the love of God through people. When failing strivers stumble into a community of grace, safety, and vulnerable repentance, it radically disrupts their game plan.
Suddenly, they are face to face with a real, tangible option of sweet freedom. And as the community treats them as they have never been treated before, their confidence grows that grace can support the full weight of their sin. Give up trying to look good and sound like a saint. Trust attracts grace, and grace helps saints to trust — even goofed-up, compromised, failed, and confused saints.
The truth always sets us free — free to love God and others, free to trust even more truth, free to heal, free to follow our callings and dreams. The question is, do we really believe the God we trust is strong enough and powerful enough to heal us? That is the bottom line.
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As we exercise our trust, we receive His grace — just like we did the first time we met Him. So, trusting God for His grace in repentance prompts us to ask: In the Room of Grace no one is above anyone else. No one keeps score. No one is shunned. No one can lose membership for blowing it. This room is not a utopian ideal — it is simply a home where people live together. Here is a sin I trust you to do something about.
I am convinced I cannot deal with this sin. It can turn hatred into tenderness. It is more powerful than any weapon, government, or wealth. Nothing else can bring such profound healing. Like repentance, forgiveness is a matter of the heart — when we forgive, it makes us ready to love again. Forgiveness forms the foundation of our relationship with God.
Have you ever noticed that Jesus waits for our repentance before He forgives us?
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Forgiveness brings alienated enemies together. Here are the seven keys of forgiveness —. The timing is perfect. For one thing, our dreams are being clarified as our sin is being resolved, our wounds are being healed, and we are in the process of maturing. You never stop returning to the Room of Grace, for your heart and protection reside there. It is a kingdom where God uses healing and maturing people to bring His grace to hopeless and hurting people. You get to use your gifts, passion, and healed heart to show the glory of Jesus, who has loved you beyond telling from the beginning of time.
Ever since we were children we have had dreams and hopes of destiny. Still, most of us have tried to stuff them into the attic. We have been rudely awakened out of too many of them, too many times, and each time we lost a little more of the dream. Yet even if we have forgotten the fiber of those dreams, God has not. God has a ticket of destiny with your name written on it — no matter how old, how broken, how tired, or how frightened you are.
No matter how many times you may have failed. God longs for the day when He gets to hand you that ticket. People in the Room of Good Intentions never get released into the dreams God has for them. We may become competent and skilled, and even achieve impressive stuff. Any change that takes place in us comes from maturing into the person we already are — much like a caterpillar matures into a butterfly. In the Room of Grace we must learn to trust.
We patiently wait for God to give us the desires of our hearts. We are no longer in a hurry. We know He cares about our destiny more than we do. We depend upon God and His power and resources. We are free to trust Him for repentance. We are free to trust Him so we can forgive others and be forgiven.
Most of all, the mature have a childlike joy and freedom. We are playfully alive. To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up. To ask other readers questions about Behind the Mask , please sign up. Lists with This Book. This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Onemoment rated it liked it Jan 17, Jeff Denlinger rated it really liked it Jan 27, Bethany looyenga rated it really liked it May 11, Stephen Hustedde rated it it was amazing Sep 22, Robert Parker Jr rated it it was amazing Aug 03, Bill Parker rated it liked it May 27, Steven rated it really liked it Apr 30, Greg Prosch rated it it was amazing Aug 29, Bruce Stopher rated it really liked it Jan 25, Kim rated it really liked it Dec 27, Tina Mcintire rated it it was amazing Jan 15, Cynthia Mccants rated it really liked it Jan 04, Flo rated it really liked it Sep 04, Patrik Olterman rated it really liked it Oct 14, Heidi Honey rated it it was amazing Jul 01, Allison rated it it was amazing Sep 11, Victoria rated it it was amazing Nov 09, Brandon Wilson rated it really liked it Sep 21, Josh rated it really liked it Mar 28, Setheesh rated it liked it Mar 17, Sherri rated it really liked it Sep 01, Ebony marked it as to-read Dec 31, Kt marked it as to-read May 02, Walt Conger added it Dec 17, Scott added it Jun 06, Chris Failla marked it as to-read Oct 21, Gayle marked it as to-read Dec 28, Tosh marked it as to-read Apr 02, Amanda Davis marked it as to-read Aug 03, Keith marked it as to-read Oct 18,