Heart of Grace Part 1

“Why hadn’t I heard it like this years ago?”

That question kept resounding in my head as I was learning more and more about how God was deeply in love with me. Sure, I had heard this love message before. But what I was hearing at one particular seminar was fashioned and delivered in a love song written just for me. My heart was pierced with such profundity that it brought me to tears. I had buried years of hurts, rejection, and guilt. Countless instances of condemnation, unforgiveness, and legalism had kept me in bondage without my full notice. I thought I knew of this incredible love. Sadly, it was only skin-deep.

I had attended a Gospel Truth Seminar and heard Andrew Wommack speak for the first time (http://awmi.net). He was teaching truths that were capturing my understanding like never before. And it was all about how fierce, how committed, how earnest, and yet, how tender God’s affections were towards me. It was a message of God’s unsurpassed love and grace that had gone amiss in my years of ministry. I needed to know more.

I enrolled in Charis Bible College, Arizona and I was further exposed to God’s incredible love. His Word was becoming so alive and my heart was experiencing an extreme make-over. This beautiful work that God was doing in me made me understand that my heart had been hardened for many years. Too many sad years (http://charisbiblecollege.org).

At Charis, I was so moved by teachings that collided with what I had been bombarded with my entire Christian life. These scriptural teachings filled me with new light, new direction and resolve. What was sinking into my thinking managed to penetrate the hard shell that encapsulated my heart.

My heart had been so “stuffed” with painful experiences and rehashed memories. It was crammed with religious teaching that found me living far below the abundant life Christ came to give (John 10:10). I chose to maintain my way of thinking.  I chose to wage war and live my Christian life that had become my brand of truth.

Any break-through effort that Holy Spirit was trying to accomplish was stifled by my own will. My stubborn heart was the inroad the enemy used to wreak emotional havoc, create timidity, and helped develop an identity contrary to God’s Word.  I never felt good enough.

The enemy tactically uses ignorance as a means to keep us, well, ignorant!

We cannot bury the pain, hide the shame, or react to the enemy’s lies without it causing confusion and a hardening of the heart.

The more I sat under sound teaching at Charis, the more the revelation was softening me. Then it happened! I was comprehending what the bible calls the new man in 2 Corinthians 5:17:

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold all things have become new.

As I meditated on this passage, God snapped a picture in my mind of what was taking place inside of me. The image was the exact representation which developed into this ministry’s logo. My heart—hardened to God’s pursuing love and grace—was breaking out of its encrusted shell piece by piece. 

As I kept His Word in front of me–listening, reading, speaking it aloud–an incredible transformation was taking place. This transformation was not something I could do on my own. Obviously, I had tried before and failed.

God’s Word helped to change my thinking (Romans 12:2) and I began to see things about me change. My heart was becoming pliable and responsive.  I was being changed from the inside out.

Making outward changes involves doing things we devise ourselves (aka behavior modification). Inward change, however, is the fruit of a supernatural experience that brings about a transformative process.

And then change develops effortlessly! Changed patterns of thinking spill out and affect our minds, our decisions, and our perceptions of what we think we know is truth.

My friend, God truly wants those who call Him Lord to experience Him and enjoy all that He has provided for them. He wants to perform heart surgery. He is the GREAT PHYSICIAN and His surgeries are 100% successful.

He awaits your call for a Doctor’s appointment. Or He–because of His pursuing love and grace–will  make the divine appointment for you. God was pursuing me all along, patiently waiting for me to respond. He never pushed Himself on me—He’s quite the gentleman.

Yes, I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore with loving-kindness have I drawn you and continued My faithfulness to you (Jeremiah 31:3).

He will place people in your path to speak truth to you–that is His faithfulness. He will wake people up at night to pray on your behalf–that is His devotion towards you. He has engraved you in the palms of His hands and He sees you continually (Isaiah 49:16)–that is His ongoing love for you.

If you hear His voice, don’t harden or keep your heart hardened. Don’t let pains and sorrows keep a sustained grip on your heart. Allow His MEDICINE (His love, His grace, His Word) to do a beautiful work in you.

As I think back on what God did for me, it makes me think of countless others who haven’t encountered the rock-solid truth about God’s love and grace. Sad.

And I will give you a new heart, and I will put a new spirit in you. I will take out your stony, stubborn heart and give you a tender, responsive heart (Ezekiel 36:26).

Follow me next week as I share truths about the heart. God wants all of His children to experience His very best–a heart replete with His unsurpassed love and truth; a heart of grace!

Showing 6 comments
  • Jenny Matherly
    Reply

    Thank you Patty. That’s where I am, but God is actively pursuing me and softening my heart too.
    I can testify of God’s great patience and kindness towards me, and I’m learning of His love for me! ❤️

    • Patty Avila
      Reply

      Amen Jenny.

  • Jennifer
    Reply

    God is so good and I have seen what he had done first hand… thanks for being so simple.

    • Patty Avila
      Reply

      Praise God, thanks Jenn!

  • Julie Spezzano
    Reply

    Better late than never! Love it & you!

    • Patty Avila
      Reply

      Love you Julie!

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