Sunday, April 25, 2010


But grow in grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be the glory both now and forever! Amen.
2 Peter 3:18 (NIV)

I'm an audible thinker and a visual learner. I love to talk out ideas; and when it comes to grasping abstract thoughts, I learn better when I can visualize a concept. Such is the case with the notion of "grace."

Zondervan's Bible Dictionary defines the Greek word translated as "grace" as, "The concept of kindness given to someone who doesn't deserve it: hence, undeserved favor, especially that kind or degree of favor bestowed on sinners through Jesus Christ.

God's grace is amazing, unlimited, lavish, and actively demonstrated in the death of Jesus on the cross. He forgives sins, restores lives, and pours out countless blessings that are neither deserved nor expected. (Ephesians 2:8-9) No disagreements about His grace.

I wrestle, however, with what it looks like to personally grow in the grace of Jesus Christ. Expressed in an acrostic as God's Riches At Christ's Expense, the essence of GRACE appears one-sided. Like a gift, it's unearned and given freely with no expectation of receiving something in return.

The trouble with grace is that it can be misunderstood. It can be taken advantage of by those who think they are entitled to benefits they have not earned. Grace can be wrongly regarded as a safety net for those who are planning on doing wrong and asking for forgiveness later.

The good thing about grace is that it can bring out the best in us.

Extending grace became very real to me in our most recent move. The logistics of our relocation required that we put our household goods in storage for a seven-week period. At a minimum, delivering the shipment involved coordinating the schedules of real estate agents, title companies, mortgage lenders, utility services, moving van drivers, packers, and third party contractors; not to mention my husband's work calendar. Sensing my anxiety, the coordinator responsible for our move repeatedly assured me she would personally manage our move, care for our belongings, and coordinate the delivery details. When all was said and done, however, our scheduled one-day unload turned into a muddled three-day marathon.

In "My Utmost for His Highest," Oswald Chambers writes, "The grace you had yesterday will not be sufficient for today. Grace is the overflowing favor of God, and you can always count on it being available to draw upon as needed...Let circumstances take you where they will, but keep drawing on the grace of God in whatever condition you may find yourself."

In the midst of my exhaustion, disappointment and frustration, grace had an amazing way of covering mistakes and turning our delivery fiasco into a holy place. Rightly used, grace is a "miracle attitude" that comes from God and enables us to give one another undeserved kindness without suspending personal accountability.

To whom can you extend the gift of grace, my friend? Is it your husband who has angered you? A child who has disappointed you? Has a friend deserted you, a co-worker betrayed you, or a stranger inconvenienced you? Grace find good in everything, even failures.

Blessings, dear friend.
Faithfully Following

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