How to Thrive in Grace
Are you a good example? Are you living out your faith? Would those that work with you, live with you or go to church with you know you are a child of God if you never uttered a single word? Do you represent your savior well? Some of you may have stopped reading at my first question. But for those of you who have stayed with me, let's pull back the veil that we try to hind behind and be honest with ourselves.
I know I say this fairly often, but it will never cease to amaze me how God can weave the Sunday School lesson, the sermon, the book I'm reading, the conversations I have, His Word and so many other moments in my week to speak into my heart. Once again, the words strung together here today are from each one of these moments all woven together in only the way that our sweet Lord can author.
I'm currently reading a borrowed book, For the Love by Jen Hatmaker. Here's an excerpt from the introduction:
Man, are we tough on one another, starting with ourselves.
When Jesus said to "love your neighbor as yourself," I don't think He meant judgmentally; but that is exactly how we treat our own souls, so it bleeds out to others. Folks who thrive in God's grace give grace easily, but the self-critical person becomes others-critical. We "love" people the way we "love" ourselves, and if we are not good enough, then no one is.
I want to repeat the one line above that says, "folks who thrive in God's grace give grace easily." Ouch. I had to make a choice at this point. I could give the book back to its owner and say, "thanks, but this one's not for me" or I could keep reading because clearly God has something to say to me.
If I'm a good example to others, if I can literally love people; these, my dear friends, are fruit.
They are the result of this string of truths: The Holy Spirit leads to conviction which softens our hearts and leads to repentance which results in bearing the beautiful fruit of grace. The precious fruit of being able to love people. It's not of our own ability. We can't flourish with grace without first blossoming with it.
One of the first things I wrote down in my notes on Sunday was this:
Why are you here?And then I wrote this: I am uniquely gifted.
We were then challenged to ask ourselves a question. Am I really devoted to the mission God has for me? Trying harder just doesn't get it. We need to be gospel motivated. Which brings me back around to my point before. The Holy Spirit. Without that chain of truths getting us to repentance we will not be thriving in grace and able to give grace and therefore, not be good examples.
One more excerpt from the book I'm reading:
Balance. (This is for you, Korleen;) It's like a unicorn; we've heard about it, everyone talks about it and makes airbrushed T-shirts celebrating it, it seems super rad, but we haven't actually seen one. I'm beginning to think it isn't a thing.
Her point when saying this was to get off the thinking that you have to be everything to everybody all the time. She says it like this:
We need to quit trying to be awesome and instead be wise.
Look around and see where you are today. What is today's mission for you? Let's ask that question again. Am I really devoted to the mission God has for me? Today. Where you're at today. With the gifts you have today. With the people you are around today. You and I are uniquely gifted for today. For the here. For the now. And most definitely for the people we find ourselves face-to-face with everyday. Yes, even if we don't like them. Especially if we don't like them. Again, let's go back to the Holy Spirit. Thriving in grace results in giving grace. You and I, my friend, are called to give grace and be examples. Today.
Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ. Philippians 1:27