Last week, we introduced The 3 Circles, an understanding of the gospel and God’s desire for us helps us understand who we are, who God is, and what we were created to do. And just like anything else, we must find the right starting point to make it all work. But that’s just the thing … where do we start? If you look at the image below, there are three intersecting rings (Receive His Grace, Experience His Presence, and Release His Kingdom).

It’s not like we’re opening a book to Page 1, right? Any one of them can be the starting point. So should we just start with our purpose, doing the things we feel like we are supposed to do for God?

God’s desire for us is to Receive His Grace — Identity!

“When we accept what Jesus did for us on the cross, He gives us our identity as a person. We can now have a relationship
with God, which is what He really desires from us! And when we do that, we can live out our purpose in life.”

As our pastor, John Stickl, so eloquently explained, imagine The 3 Circles as a loaded spring. As you start with Receiving His Grace and “get it,” it starts unleashing momentum and moving you deeper into The Father’s Heart and into the life of freedom that God has for you.

It starts in Circle 1 with identity because identity determines what you do, and God’s grace through Jesus forgives our sins, changes our identity, and empowers us to live differently — so that we can move to the other circles.

View The 3 Circles by John Stickl of Valley Creek Church here.

Receive What God Has Done For You

Everything begins and ends with Jesus’ grace. Supernatural in power, grace not only forgives you but also transforms your identity. As the Bible says, “For you have been saved by grace through faith. This is not of yourselves. It is the gift of God not by works so that no man can boast.”  Being saved by grace means you didn’t earn it, deserve it, achieve it, or perform for it. You simply received — because God is good.

There are three words to understand:

1. Judgment — When you get what you deserve
2. Mercy — When you don’t get what you deserve
3. Grace — When you get what you don’t deserve

Remember that when Jesus was on the cross, he was judged on our behalf so that you and I could receive mercy and grace. This actually makes you a new person and restores your identity. He has rescued you from a prison of sin and put you in a position of righteousness. Because by faith you have received his grace, you now are the righteousness of God — but not because you live righteously. You live righteously because you now are righteous. Why?

Because identity determines behavior.

God’s very heart is for His creation, His people, to have a heart that is free to live. For us to live free, we need to focus more on what Jesus has done for us rather than what we have to do for Him.

When I do this:

Receive His grace, I will want to experience His presence and will want to release His kingdom.
Know who I am, I will know who God is, and I’ll know what I’m created to do.
Know I am a beloved son; I will run to the Father and spend my life building His kingdom.

If I do this:

Resist His grace, I will avoid His presence and spend my life building my own kingdom.
Don’t know who I am, I will have no idea who God is and will have no idea what I am created to do.

Don’t know if I am forgiven,

I will be afraid of God. I will avoid Him and spend my life attempting things to pay for my own sin and my own shame.

All we’re saying here is that our identity and starting with receiving God’s grace leads to the relationship we can have with God and leads us to a purposeful life.

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