One of the biggest hindrances to accepting the grace of God is our pride! It's a huge hindrance. If it doesn't prevent us from accepting that we are wrong in the first place, and realising that we fell...and then accepting that we need forgiveness and grace to do what is right, it will prevent us from enjoying the grace of God and walking in our newness.
Pride tells us that we should be ashamed for failing, and so because we don't want to be ashamed, we can't admit fault. Pride tells us only weak people need help, and since we are not weak, we should be able to achieve great things without grace. Pride wants all the glory, so ultimately, it tries to deny that we need saving...and we will resist a saviour, because we are 'good enough'.
And then at the last point, when we have been faced with our weakness and depravity and desperation for God, Pride takes us to the extreme of condemnation. It wants us to wallow in self-pity, guilt and shame. Ultimately, the focus of pride is on yourself.
You beat yourself up because you needed grace. You beat yourself up because your image of perfection and righteousness was tarnished. You beat yourself up by focusing on the past, and not moving on to do the will of God. Not moving on to learn and know God more. So, the end result is as if you were never saved...because you are crippled still by the pride of self!
But here's the thing... You need grace even to overcome pride! You see, grace is not merely pardon from sin. Grace is also the empowerment to do the will of God; to do right. You need grace to do anything that is good, because only God is good (Mark 10:18)!
You would have heard it said that Jesus was without sin. But do you realise that Jesus was NEVER without grace??? That Jesus NEEDED grace and sought grace whenever He prayed to God? Jesus had the biggest task to fulfil, and as righteous as He was, He was only able to succeed by the grace of God!
Jesus NEVER relied on Himself. Even to preach, Jesus said that He spoke only what God gave Him to speak (John 12:49). When He was looking for who to choose as His Apostles, He prayed and sought God's direction (Luke 6:12-13). Before He began His ministry, He fasted in the Wilderness, and then after He was tempted, Angels ministered to Him (Matthew 4). At the Garden before His Crucifixion, He prayed for grace, and He received empowerment from God (Luke 22:40-43).
So we see that Jesus, who is the epitome of humility and righteousness, depended on the grace of God. How much more we? We ought to rejoice that the grace of God is available to us, and not think low of those who depend on it and plead it every day. Without His grace, we can do NOTHING (John 15:5)!
Don't let pride get in the way of the grace of God in your life anymore. So you fell... Get over it! It's time to rise up. Don't think too highly of yourself (Rom 12:3). Let your gaze, your hope, your goal be set on God (Heb 12:2). That is the only way you will be able to do GREATER works than Christ. And He promised that we would...if we will walk in His grace (John 14:12).
In the next parts of this series, we will also look at our role as givers of grace, as well as receivers of grace.