Written by Lise Caldwell
Winter = Sweatpants.
From the first cool temps of late October until the daffodils in my front garden raise their golden heads, I live in my sweatpants.
Like a second (warmer) skin, my favorite pairs keep me cozy through the frigid winter months. My Dutch doll quilt (thanks, Mom!), my Hot Cinnamon Sunset Tea (thanks, Harney and Sons!) and my hand knitted slippers (thanks, old Bosnian woman!) complete my comfort.
When reality intrudes (in the form of social occasions requiring non-elastic waistbands), I groan inwardly. Must we really zip and button? What diabolical force is at work here?
Sweatpants don’t point out when I’ve had too many tacos. They don’t care if I’ve shaved my legs. They are delighted to accommodate my sloth.
Sweatpants accept me just the way I am.
But a new season is coming. A season of Capri pants and sundresses and swim suits. A season of tank tops and tan lines.
A season of reckoning.
When it comes, I will curse my sweatpants. “Why didn’t you warn me?” I’ll cry. “I thought you cared!”
And I’ll be reminded that acceptance isn’t the same thing as love.
It’s easy to view God’s grace as a pair of sweatpants. Warm. Comfortable. Tolerant of my imperfections. Stretching to accommodate my darling sins.
But if that’s our view of grace, we will face a season of reckoning more terrifying that cellulite or muffin tops.
Grace indeed wraps us in God’s love, covers us in his forgiveness, and warms our cold hearts.
Paul proclaims that it is “by grace [we] have been saved through faith–and this not from yourselves, it is a gift from God” (Ephesians 2:8). We are “justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus” (Romans 3:24). The Lord himself told Paul, “My grace is sufficient for you, my power is made perfect in weakness” (2 Corinthians 12:9).
But Jesus didn’t die so we could remain “comfortable” in our sin. His forgiveness does not free us from personal responsibility. Grace is not meant to make us complacent.
In a few weeks, I’ll put my sweatpants away, not to be worn again until at least September. And I’ll be forced to confront all the uncomfortable truths about my exercise and eating habits I’ve been ignoring all winter.
It won’t be pretty.
But how much more painful to one day emerge from our “sweatpant grace” to realize that God had indeed called us to personal holiness, but that we had treated his grace as the tolerant affection of kind uncle, rather than the rigorous love of a father who cares for us too much to leave us in our comfortable sin?
Grace saves us. We cannot earn it. And we have a loving father to whom we can carry our hurts, our fears, our failures and our doubts.
However, I never want to forget that God calls us to holiness, not happiness. When we fully experience grace, we may not be comfortable.
But we will be his.
This was published on IgniteWomen.com with permission from the author. The original post can be seen here.