I can remember this event like it was yesterday. Forty years ago, when I was about 26, I was frustrated with sin in my life. So, I started talking to God about my inability to stop sinning. I asked the Lord, “Lord I read in the bible somewhere (I wasn’t much of a bible scholar back then (well I’m still not) but I knew it was there somewhere) you say your grace is sufficient, but it doesn’t seem like it because I keep committing the same sins over and over. So apparently Lord your grace is not sufficient, it’s not working for me. His answer was very clear to me, and I have never forgotten it and I have shared it with thousands of people since then. It literally changed my way of thinking, my way of life and my spiritual direction. God said,
“Chris my grace is like the rays from the sun. The rays come down from the sun and warm everybody (Mathew 5:45-He didn't give me the scripture, lol I found it later)). The sun rays and the warmth from the sun are available to all. My grace is just like the sun, but it’s available 24/7, day or night. My grace is for everyone, good, bad or indifferent. Everyone can receive my grace in an instant. My grace can change you. I said, well if that’s the case why am I still sinning over and over. The Lord replied, “the problem Chris is that you don’t receive my grace”. I said “huh”? He continued, “Chris, you are like the tin man from the Wizard of Oz (God always has to make it simple for me otherwise I’ll get lost). My grace is coming down upon you day and night but its bouncing off of your tin shield. It’s not getting in. CHRIS, YOU AREN’T RECEIVING IT! My grace just bounces off of you. My grace isn’t becoming a part of you so it can’t change you”. Wow this was an epiphany for me. I’m not receiving His grace. No wonder I’m still sinning. I said, O.K. Lord, if that’s true then that explains why I keep sinning.
So, the wise person that I am I asked the next logical incredibly bright question: how do I receive or capture your grace (I mean if you're talking to the Lord, you might as well get to the bottom of it and keep asking, right). He said, it’s very simple, when you spend time with me, when you turn your attention towards me, when you do charitable acts, little holes open up in that tin shield and my grace can begin to flow in and change you”.
That simple analogy changed my life forever. All we need is to spend time with God and His grace, His sanctifying grace can change us forever. It changes us from the inside out. From that point on I began spending quality and quantity time with God. The more time I spent with Him the more I wanted to spend with Him. I began receiving an abundance of God’s life changing grace. I literally began to feel and experience His grace changing me. Time with God equals Grace from God and Grace changes us!! So put aside some time for God and let His Grace get to work!!
Chris Massod is a long-time retreatant at JRC