I don't know about you but when I wake up in the morning it's a battle. My head is full of thoughts and none of them prompt me to find a way out of the covers. Even as I walk around my apartment getting ready to go I find myself repeating things in my head that I know are not true. Lies that hide the joy that I should be feeling. Things like, "Why are you late, again? Can't you learn to get up earlier?" or "Don't you love God enough to get up early and read your bible? You're some kind of Christian." I'll admit the things I hear aren't that harsh but they feel that harsh and I think it's a consequence of not living in grace.
Grace, that all encompassing word, it means so much, but how do we receive it so early in the morning? When our heads aren't even focused enough to put our feet on the ground, how do we receive an abstract concept? First let me define grace.
Ephesians 2:8-10 says "For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do."
This states that grace is "not from yourselves" grace is a something that you can't do something to receive. It states that grace is the "gift of God." What is a gift of God? More importantly, what is a gift? A gift is "something acquired without compensation" or "A voluntary transfer of property for which nothing of value is received in return." So this would imply that a gift from God would mean the same thing. A gift from God is something that he gives us without compensation, some 'property' transfered to us where nothing, absolutely nothing of value is given to him in return.
So this leaves us where? Well, when the grace of God is given to us we, being human, want to have done something to have received this gift. We want to have a reason for God to have given us grace. But there is nothing we can do to make God give us grace. Grace is a gift, therefore you can't earn it. It would be like working at a construction site all day and walking up to the foreman and saying "Could you give me my gift now?" He'd have to say "Don't you mean your pay?" "No I want my gift, you see, I worked all day for this gift so I deserve it! Where's my gift!?" You can see the ridiculousness. Once you've done something for that foreman with the expectation to be given something, you've changed the relationship between you and him. You are no longer giftee and gifter, you're now employee and employer.
With God though, he gives because of what HE did. He went through the pain of crucifiction. He went through the torture of public humiliation. He took on all the sins of the world. He did and because that was Jesus' purpose, God gives us the gift of grace. It's a gift because we didn't die. It's a gift because we didn't take any punishment. It's a gift and all we are ever asked to do is receive it. How? By asking.
So when I wake up tomorrow morning I'm going to ask for grace. Grace that covers my short-comings, grace that washes away my pain, grace that heals my guilt, grace that soothes my heart and mind. I know God will give it to me because he died for me before I even knew I needed him to.