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When Strivings Cease Session One — Favor You Cannot Earn

When Strivings Cease Session One — Favor You Cannot Earn

Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need. — Hebrews 4:16

There is a place where duty is replaced by delight, performance is replaced with presence, self-improvement is replaced by transformation, and fear is erased with favor. ~ Ruth Chou Simons

Hi, friends! Welcome to week one of the When Strivings Cease OBS with Ruth Chou Simons!

If you are new to the FaithGateway Online Bible Study community and we haven’t met, I am really happy you’re here with us. I’m Laurie McClure and part of your OBS team. I’m also the editor at FaithGateway. Someone recently asked what I’d grab in the case of a fire, so here goes: family, furry friends, computer, cell phone, and purse. Is that how everyone answers? Anyway, I so miss having lots of people in my home and I wish we could meet in person, but instead will be checking in on you weekly and in our private Facebook group. If you were here, I’d serve you something I just discovered — roasted chicken breast on a Hawaiian roll with pickles and Chick-fil-A sauce. To-DIE-for. And then we’d talk about books, music, Jesus, and Bible study. Speaking of…

Let’s get going!

Who’s failed at their New Year’s resolutions already? *raises hand* Not all of them for me, but enough that I’m irritated with myself. Again.

I want to be an A+er. I want to please God. I want to please my people. I try so hard. The questions that harass me is Am I enough? Are my efforts good enough?

Does that sound familiar to you, too?

Try as we might, we don’t have enough resources within ourselves to truly address the problems we face within. — RCS

Striving is exhausting! Not at first because we can all start out with gusto, but after a while, we weary and tire and get discouraged. What Ruth calls the hamster wheel, I call h-e-double hockey sticks! I can’t do it. How about you?

Resting in Jesus and His unmerited grace, especially in the face of my lack, mess, and failure takes a huge leap of trust, doesn’t it? It takes maturity and the reminder that I belong to Him. I’m accepted. You’re accepted. We don’t have to earn the love or favor of God. It’s ours already. What grace!

God’s grace replaces my striving and all that I long to attain through my own efforts. – RCS

In human relationships we may have learned that we have to work hard to be allowed in, or loved, or praised, or wanted, but that isn’t God’s way. He chooses us when we don’t deserve it, when we have nothing but shame to show for ourselves. If it’s our pattern to scramble for attention or affection in the natural, we have to shift into a whole new gear with Jesus! We have to un-race, un-rush, un-work, un-try, and un-pretty because He wants the real us. We don’t have to work super hard to be received whole-heartedly by God; we already are through the work of Jesus Christ on the Cross.

Grace = the generous, unmerited favor of God. Grace is favor… a gift of welcome, blessing, forgiveness, and nearness from God to us given not because of our merit but because of His mercy. — RCS

Acceptance, invitation, assurance, God’s extravagant love… These are ours! — RCS

I’m looking forward to dwelling on grace in these upcoming weeks, soaking in it really. How about you?

Scriptures this Week

Genesis 3:4-5
Romans 5:8
Ephesians 2:1-10
Hebrews 4:16


Jesus, thank You for Your extravagant gift of grace over us! We can’t even fathom it! Help us in these next weeks to enter in with open hearts resting in the free gift of grace You have for us. We want to earn it, we tend to work and try and hustle, but help us to relax and settle down in You. We love You, Jesus! Amen.

Watch the Video

You’re invited to try out the unique video viewing experience we use with our Online Bible Studies! The weekly teaching sessions are enhanced to enable conversations – where you will be able to learn together in community. You can comment throughout the teaching, then stick around to the end to respond to a few group discussion questions in response to the video. Access this study experience on any mobile device, but computer or tablet is the ideal environment (and please avoid Internet Explorer browsers).

3 Things this Week

  1. Watch Session One
    Watch the video for When Strivings Cease on our study home page and take notes in your study guide on pages 9-10, then stick around to go through the questions afterward!
  2. Personal Study
    Grab your Bible and enjoy your personal study this week on pages 13-34. You do these at your own pace!
  3. Join the Facebook Group
    Join the conversations about this week’s teaching and get to know our community in our private Facebook group.