Default Mode

Grace 101

My good friend, Lee LeFebre, has recently written a good book entitled, “The Shackling of Grace,” where he says that the “Mother of all Obstacles” to grace is pride.  Lee’s right.  I haven’t talked much about pride on this blog, but I have talked about the source of pride, the flesh.  Make no mistake about it; your flesh is an enemy of grace.

Your flesh has been trained, throughout your life, to “do-it-yourself.”  It is your default mode.  You and I have learned certain behaviors that work for us.  They might seem weak or they might be labeled avoidance instead of strength, but they have worked for us in the past and we expect them to work in the future.  In fact, when a difficulty comes our way, we jump to those behaviors without thought or plan.  These are the things we just do.

And grace is not part of the flesh’s equation for how to handle life.

Now, I would call the flesh the source of pride, but it might also be true that pride is the source of your flesh.  Basically, this is the inclination to do the work of God ourselves.  For some it is the expectation that they can be good enough by the actions of their flesh to satisfy God.  For others, even God doesn’t matter.  And, for others, there is the decision that they will never be good enough because they can’t do it for themselves.  Whether the outlook is positive or negative, the root of the problem is the same.

Most of us grew up thinking that money leads to happiness.  If we just had more, we could do this or that, buy this or that, attract him or her, and thereby be happy.  When we have money, we feel successful and proud.  But when we don’t have money, we feel like losers and are sad.  Never mind that we know better.  Either way, having money or not, the focus is wrong.  We know that money does not lead to happiness, but it took us a while to decide that in our lives.  Many have still not learned that truth.

In the same way, if I think I have the responsibility to be morally or spiritually good on my own, either for God or for society, then my focus is wrong.  If I do well, I may think of myself as better than others and worthy of God’s notice—and I would be wrong.  If I do poorly, I may think of myself as worse than others and believe that God could never accept me—and I would be wrong.  The focus, on either side, is still on what I can accomplish.

And, as long as I insist on that focus, I will miss the joy of grace.

Grace tells me to focus on what Jesus has done for me.  I am to take my eyes off myself and my efforts, whether good or bad, and trust in His work.  In fact, the message of grace tells me that my only hope for success and peace and joy is in letting go of my efforts and trusting in Him.  This is more than just a good idea; this is the source of life.

If you start your computer and go to the internet and the same page pops up first every time, that’s because that page has been set up to be a default page.  It is simply the first page your browser takes you to and you go from there.  But what if you don’t like that page?  Well, you have to go into your settings and change your default page.

Think of the flesh as your default “thinker.”  When something happens, that’s the first place your mind and heart will go.  That’s what developed as you have gone through your life.  Now, if you want that to change, the default mode has to be replaced with something else.  The Scripture reveals the division between the flesh and the Spirit.  We are called to walk according to the Spirit, now that we are in Christ.

Computers can change default modes with just a few keystrokes, but we are not so fortunate.  For us it takes time and will.  Desire the Spirit.  Ask the Lord to lead you first, before the flesh kicks in.  Learn to recognize the flesh so that you can choose to reject it and trust the Spirit.  This new life will grow in you more and more as you seek Him.  Trust the message of grace.

5 Comments

Filed under Grace 101, Grace definition

5 responses to “Default Mode

  1. Rita Cizek

    Oh my…what an uplifting, convicting post. Thank you so very much for your blog; for being a willing person through whom God can speak. I am forwarding this post to my three adult children. We’re all in different modes of trying to recover from an N upbringing (kids) and marriage (35 years;me). We all had to perform in hyper-style, constantly, in order to feel accepted by the N, and it does indeed take time to get out of the “performance” default and lay down at the shore of the river of God’s Grace. My fingertips are in that river and I so long to allow myself to lose my hold on it’s bank and just roll in. I wonder that you can have such a clear and deep insight into N; and help others trying to recognize and recover, yet you come across as really healthy and whole. Is it possible that you have experience in the abusiveness of living with an N, and really have been made whole through God’s healing?

  2. I love how you discuss how we have been “programmed” to measure what success looks like. I have found out the hard way that money and things do not lead to fulfillment and happiness. I have had more than enough and still been miserable, had very little and been free. It’s a constant struggle, especially when living in a place and around others that are not there to remind us when we forget. California is, for the most part, the land of excess, so different then how I grew up. My hope is that because I picked up this learned behavior later in life, that you “are what you have”, that through spiritual work, I can unlearn it. I am looking forward to reading more about how to do this.

  3. SingingEagle

    Your comment, “Ask the Lord to lead you first, before the flesh kicks in. Learn to recognize the flesh so that you can choose to reject it and trust the Spirit. This new life will grow in you more and more as you seek Him. Trust the message of grace.”, is more than enough to meditate on and allow Gods Word to override all unproductive and faulty programming!

  4. UnForsaken

    I’ve had a unusual, off-beat life that by circumstances eliminated what so many others did by default…some Wonderful things like college, but also some things that would have been past my wisdom to discern as damaging. It’s been a struggle to admit that All was ment for my good by the Heavenly Father, but now in acceptance I’ve found Peace in Hearing His voice . The Spirit Does lead, we just have to wait and give Him time!

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