A Magic Eye 3-D look at God’s grace. Can you see it?

This is a Magic Eye sample. Can you see anything? It’s right there! What is wrong with you!?

I’m not a fan of those Magic Eye 3-D pictures. You know the ones I’m talking about? If you look at them long enough a picture jumps out at you. More often than not, it doesn’t for me. When it does, I am much slower than others. I sit around befuddled as others comment, “You really don’t see it!?”

At times, my experience with grace has been similar. Can you relate?I heard about God’s grace long before I accepted it freshmen year of college. While I was still in high school, my oldest brother was late coming up on Christmas morning. I was chomping at the bit to open presents. But he was typing away on the basement computer. I wondered to myself, “What could he possibly be doing down there!?” What he was doing was writing his parents and brothers a note to share about God’s grace. Yet, it would take me several more years looking at this picture of Magic Eye squiggles before a picture of grace popped out.

To this day I have that same 3D picture in front of me. At its core, the message, or picture, hasn’t changed. It’s always been and will always be the Gospel. But, is it enough even now? As life changes, as things come and go, as the struggle against sin ebbs and flows, amidst the colors and lines, does the picture still pop? Is grace still present? Is his grace still sufficient for me?

Have you at all experienced this? It’s a small, yet real temptation to live according to the squiggles rather than pause and keenly look into the grace of God. It’s a subtle apathy that saves the time of watching, waiting, and looking for God’s grace afresh. It’s a willingness to be buoyed by past experiences rather than seeking God for a renewed witness of his mercy.

Jerry Bridges helps us here. With a simple set of reminders (from jacket cover of Transforming Grace) he says that we don’t understand grace if:

  • We live with a vague sense of God’s disapproval.
  • We believe there are things we can do to cause God to love us more and/or love us less.
  • We can’t honestly see ourselves as “blameless” in his eyes.
  • We don’t really believe he likes us.
  • We can find someone to look down upon.
  • We fear the day may not go as well because we failed to read the Bible and pray.
  • We believe 1 John 1:9 no longer applies to us because we’ve sinned too many time and used up all our credit.
  • We haven’t been tempted to go ahead and sin because we know our performance has nothing to do with our standing before him.

I’ve found these to be helpful dashboard indicators for me. If I’m feeling one of these, it may be sign that I need to look afresh on the grace of God through Christ. How about you?

QUESTIONS

  1. Has the grace of God ever popped for you? If so, would you be willing to encourage others with a comment or two that helped it “pop” for you?
  2. How would you counsel and encourage someone who may be struggling to receive God’s grace afresh today?
  3. Did any of Jerry Bridges “dashboard indicators” resonate with you? If so, which ones?
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Posted on by Cor in FAITH

5 Responses to A Magic Eye 3-D look at God’s grace. Can you see it?

  1. Lara

    When I first became a Christian, I thought I understood grace. I saw what Jesus did for me and realized I couldn’t do anything to earn salvation. Even though I thought I understood this, I always felt like I had to be good enough and work hard and do certain things to be accepted and loved by God. But no matter how hard I tried or what I did, I never felt like it was enough. I think I knew in my head that God loved me no matter what but I don’t think I really understood that or embraced it fully. Over the past year, I feel like God has been teaching me and showing me a lot about grace. I recently completed a Discipleship Training School with Youth With A Mission and during that time in various ways, God spoke to me about His unconditional love for me. Each week we had teaching on different topics and during the week on the Holy Spirit, God gave a picture to a friend that she shared with me and it was the beginning of a journey to more fully understanding His grace. She saw a girl (me) jumping on a trampoline and it seemed like I was doing it because I felt like I had to out of obligation. Jesus came over to me and told me that I didn’t have to do it anymore and He sat with me in the middle of the trampoline. I imagined Him wrapping His arms around me and crying with me. In that moment, I felt God’s love and acceptance and realized that I don’t have to strive anymore. God wants me and my heart. He doesn’t need me to work hard to please Him because He’s already pleased. He cares for me more than I ever realized. And hearing that God loves me with all His heart, no matter what, forever and always. God was showing me that it’s not about what I do. He wants me. He did everything. While I was in South Africa, we read “Death of the Modern Superhero: How Grace Breaks our Rules” by Chris Lautsbaugh. The author is on staff with YWAM in Muizenberg, South Africa. The book changed my life. All the things God had been showing me about His grace and love during DTS were things addressed in the book. I learned that I don’t have to do certain things or act a certain way to please God. He’s already pleased. I realized that I already have God’s approval, acceptance, and love. He just wants me to obey and pursue Him with all my heart. Jesus paid everything for me to have freedom and to freely live for Him and not be in bondage to my actions. What I do for God should flow out of a response to His beautiful, amazing love, not out of obligation or fear or believing that I have to do things to be good enough. I reread it at the beginning of the summer and it was so refreshing to be reminded of God’s grace and love. I don’t think it will ever get old.

  2. Chris E

    The Magic Eye 3-D is a great analogy!

  3. Noah Jackson

    … why does the Magic Eye say “SCOLA”?
    But yes I definitely think it is a good analogy! I remember I would always just kind of fake being able to see the pictures, which definitely can be worked into the metaphor.

    • Cor

      SCOLA!? No, dude. It’s an elephant balancing on a ball amidst a crown of penguin politicians. Boy, you really can’t see it. ; )

  4. Anne Onymous.

    It says SCOLA, with a series of random squares underneath. :-S

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