This is the first in a series of posts reflecting on Grace Walk, a book written by Steve McVey.
A memory popped into my head this morning. Twenty years ago, I was just transferred to a new department at Citibank—and after a few days on the job I was called into the big boss’ office for a staff meeting. He asked about my first week, and I replied by listing all the processes I thought we could improve in the months ahead.
Someone who was at the meeting later ran into the person who previously ran my department and said “Ed threw you under a bus.”
The wheels on the bus go round and round…
My nature—whether driven by ambition or a desire to improve the world—is to go into situations, identify what’s wrong and look for ways to fix it.
I do that with myself, too, especially when it comes to examining my walk with Christ. In Grace Walk, Steve McVey calls this the motivation-condemnation-rededication cycle.
You can see how that plays out in my blog simply by looking at the number of posts in a given month (yes, April and May were condemnation months!). McVey adds: When we transfer a worldly approach to success in the Christian life, we are in for a disappointment.
This resonated with me, a person who comes to work every day, writes a list, then measures success by how many items I can cross off before heading home. So this past week I’ve been trying to be more Mary, and less Martha. For instead of spending time with Christ, Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made.
McVey concludes: I experienced peace only after I learned to focus on the person of Christ, instead of what I should be doing for him. Sounds like good advice to me.
Who’s driving that boat, anyway?
I also reflected this morning on an analogy that I heard a few years ago (probably in a church) that described Christian life in terms of driving a boat. It goes like this: the boat is going in one direction, guided by human nature. Once you become a Christian, it’s your job to turn the boat around toward Christ. The boat wants to go the other way, but if you hold onto the steering wheel tight enough, you can change headings. If you hold on long enough, eventually the boat will accept the new course… but if you let go of that steering wheel early—even for a moment—the boat will revert back to its former (sinful) ways.
So… for the past seven years I’ve been holding onto that steering wheel for dear life.
This type of thinking, McVey notes, underestimates the transformation that takes place the moment you accept Christ. In my analogy, once saved by Christ, my bearings changed too—and I became a new person… righteous and holy… a saint.
McVey offers this tip: Just say it out loud, “I am a saint.” Go ahead, try it. The underlying message: no person can consistently behave in a way that is inconsistent with the way he perceives himself.
Funny, I saw a flyer in the deli yesterday talking about self esteem, and how most people derive their self-esteem from factors other than self (grades at school, promotions, etc.) rather than by what’s inside them. Inside, I am a saint.
I’m not dead yet!
Being the saint I am, just had to include a quote from the Holy Grail.
But seriously… if I became a new man… a saint… what happened to the old Ed? Well, I’m still working on this part. McVey writes: you may not feel that your sin nature is dead, but God says it is.
Maybe chapter 5 will help me internalize this a bit more… we’ll see. (to be continued).
If you want to read more commentary on Grace Walk, check out what NaNcy has to say.