Being an “Attractive Nuisance” – It’s All About Grace

TP2007-32When my children were small, they wanted a trampoline.  My husband was in the insurance claims business and had seen numerous cases of suits against homeowners when uninvited children in the neighborhood came to play on them and were injured; they were called “attractive nuisances.”  They were so appealing that children were drawn to them regardless of the boundaries of “private property.”  So, a trampoline never graced the confines of our yard.

“Attractive nuisances” are, generally, things that create a desire to know more and which draw people to them because of it.

I want to be an “attractive nuisance” for Christ.  I want the flavor of my life, the way I treat others, the way I respond to situations, the way I love even my enemies to make people stop and say, “I want what you have.”

Unfortunately, there are many times that none of those well reflect my Savior and many times I cringe to think how I have been a “nuisance,” but not a particularly attractive one.  Yet, I pray that each of these will increasingly become more evident in my life and more and more I will have opportunity “to give reason for the hope I have” (I Peter 3:15); that being “Christ in me, the hope of glory”  (Colossians 1:27).

Even in the midst of conversations that are difficult; in the midst of issues where I will conflict with another as I stand on the Word of God, I pray that my words, while unwavering from the life and freedom giving truth, will be seasoned with salt, with grace and with the love of Christ so others will be drawn to the Savior.

I want others, who are convinced that “doing what is right in their own eyes” is freeing, to take pause and see in me the joy that comes from true freedom; not a freedom that is contrary to a holy God, but the humble desire to grow more in love with that God and more eager to become ever more like my Savior.

Many times I hear grace and striving to be holy and wholly His in opposition to one another.  The Bible does not teach that.  Without a doubt I am redeemed, saved by grace through faith in the work of Christ on the cross and this not of myself so there is no opportunity for me to boast (Ephesians 2:9).  But God calls me and each of us to pursue and perfect our holiness out of reverence for and a fear of God (2 Corinthians 7:1). This side of heaven we won’t be perfect, but we are to aim towards the center of the bullseye!

And, though it is His charge to me as a believer – to seek out and work out holiness in my life, to run the race to which He has called me and to pursue that holiness, that “becoming more and more into the likeness of His Son” is not of myself either.

I cannot boast about any good thing I do or even obedience to His Word; for without a doubt, it is by God’s grace  that I am even able to exercise self control, that I have hunger to cultivate being more like Christ, that I have an increasing hatred of the sin in my own life as well as in the lives of others not in a legalistic manner but because of my increasingly love for God Himself!  I have experienced, seen, and continue to see the defiance of God and the destructiveness and pain that follows.

But it is also by grace I am able and free to love those who are caught in its web, to pray for my enemies, to seek and pursue peace but not to, in the process, deny truth.  And, at the end of the day, when I am overwhelmed by my own weaknesses,  I can say “Father, forgive me” and not worry about whether or not He will, in spite of my failures and limitations, which will be mine until I am in His presence!

I am free to live, but my life is not my own; I have been bought with a price so I must glorify God with my body, my actions, my words, my thoughts.  I do not feel bound or constrained by any man made rules, but I am joyfully and gratefully bound by Christ who did not abolish the Law but rather fulfilled its demands while expanding its meaning; by Christ who calls us to live in such a manner that we accomplish it more fully so that we are able to love others more deeply and more like He loves us.

And He calls us to love deeply, as we see each person that we encounter in life just what they are…those created to bear the image of God.  Even those who hate us, speak wrongly of us, and do all in their power to harm us are in need of the truth, in need of the Savior who can save and transform.

There is joy in our journey and it is my prayer that, increasingly, people see and desire that joy so that I am an “attractive nuisance,” drawing people to Christ in spite of their aversion to the rules they find binding but which, in Him, are anything but!

“Grace is not simply leniency when we have sinned. Grace is the enabling gift of God not to sin. Grace is power, not just pardon.” — John Piper, The Pleasures of God

“For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men. It teaches us to say ‘No’ to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age” (Titus 2:11-12).