Grace Given, Received and Believed
For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus. – Romans 3:23-24
Grace is an act of obedience that we are called to so many times in scripture so that we can become a conduit for the Holy Spirit, not an obstacle of personal offense. Grace centered relationships helped radically change my life in a season I can closely compare to the pits of hell. Grace is what transforms the heart, not the words of the accuser, enabler or condemner. Grace should be our Golden Standard, given endlessly with much encouragement.
See also that you excel in grace. I say this not as a command, but to prove by the earnestness of others that your love is genuine. For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sake became poor, so that by His poverty you might become rich. – 2 Corinthians 8:7-9
Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others. – Colossians 3:13
God has invited us to be a part of His work by living in community. How kind and how amazing is that? He allows others to bear witness to His unending grace in one another’s lives; we just have to look through His lens to see. The enemy knows that friendship is where the greatest treasure and power lie for defeating him and the hold of sin in a life. I don’t want to miss the work God is doing in a friend’s life because I can’t get over myself.
The gospel of Jesus is that much more powerful and dynamic in times of suffering. It’s the economy of how God works and how He grows His Kingdom here on earth. Smooth sailing and mountaintop experiences are not the times that radically change the broken or depleted, nor does avoiding hard circumstances. People need healing from the inside out. We are wounded, fractured souls who have cracks in the foundation of our hearts.
Jesus didn’t come to earth to make bad people good; He came to make dead people alive. If we have fully and truly experienced His undeserved love in our own lives and received this truth in our inmost beings, we should be changed people who deeply understand forgiveness and the cost of the forgiveness for your own sins.
Compassion lenses develop in place of judgmental, haughty eyes when we recognize the vast failings of our own sinful nature and shortcomings. We all have to take repeated trips to the cross so that we might be healed, freed, changed and saved. None of us are beyond the scope of participating in heinous sins. We have totally missed the whole point of the gospel if we think we are above that. If we don’t choose to rally around brokenness, we haven’t come to grips with our own brokenness or deep need for Jesus. Therefore we cannot face the brokenness of another.
It’s because we have each received radical spiritual generosity that we can be radically generous with those in need! – Tim Keller
Jesus knew what He was buying on the cross. He didn’t just see everything happening in 2019 and suddenly regret His sacrifice. He came to set us free from the slavery (law) of thinking we need to be better or be an improved version of ourselves. He asks us to bring our wounds and the places of our lives we’re trying to hide to Him so that we can be freed from the shame, healed and made whole. Let’s get out of the mindset that we have to approach God with tidy faith. He is more than capable to take on the mess, self-inflicted or victim to infliction. Show up and marvel at what He can do for you.
God works from the inside out, not the outside in. Righteous choices flow from a healed heart. Let’s be women who walk hand-in-hand with our sisters through this process, rallying around brokenness, lifting our sisters up when she needs it most. Let it be our greatest joy to show her mercy. Leave the convicting to the Holy Spirit, but be willing to ask the hard questions that are spurred on from Truth.
Let us not love each other only with words but with actions and in truth. – 1 John 3:18
I desperately pray that you have had that grace receiving moment, not just a believing one. He is bigger than any mess we can conjure up and can rescue us from anywhere…anywhere, I tell ya! Hello, we’ve seen it a thousand times over personally—within our relationship and also in the countless situations we’ve walked through with so many in their season of suffering.
Our friends’ grace called out my wrongs and called me to repentance. They weren’t enablers and nothing was swept under the rug. Their grace rejoiced in truth and called for heart restoration in my broken situation, not behavior modification. Their love pointed me to Jesus to rebuild my identity. Real heart change couldn’t occur until I realized my self-idolatry and deep roots of unbelief. My friends had the faith to live out this mantra: Jesus took on all the burdens, He took on all the wrongs, all of the offenses on the cross. They knew they didn’t have to pick up the offense of my sin and they knew in their heart of hearts that Jesus had lost His reputation in order to give me an everlasting name.
Their grace confronted, but did so with gentleness, a fruit of the Spirit born out of their reverence and own recognition of the depravity of their flesh. It was never given with judgment or a spirit of I’m better than you, Jennifer. Their grace was not contingent upon an immediate outcome, but was anchored to their deep trust in God’s faithfulness, wisdom and was given while yielding to the certainty that His ways are higher than ours. It was firmly tether to the long term confidence that is promised to us in parables such as Luke 15. It was given with the expectancy that grace would eventually invade and change my life.
The burden was not on them to change me and therefore was agenda free. It endured by fixating on the anthem of knowing that grace given is always fruitful—recognizing that fruit isn’t grown in a day, and sometimes grace bears future fruit.
Their love knew that gracious obedient responses never return void. There will be far greater eternal value for their grace response and obedience in choosing grace even when it wasn’t easy—and many can testify that I did not make it easy for anyone.
Their grace wasn’t given for results, although it was certainly hoped and prayed for, but rather given because of who Jesus is. Their grace was foundationally Gospel-centered and did not have a one time validation or expiration date. They recognized the risks that grace does not always have instant gratification in regards to behavior modification. They knew full well that grace-giving can be long-suffering and is embedded in a deep yearning for heart change and not just focused on changing the behavior. Fruit of the Spirit each stem from a foundation built on our salvation and our salvation is built solely on grace and grace alone.
If a human could change another human, Jesus would have never needed to come. – Paul David Tripp
Grace profoundly liberated my relationships and fundamentally changed them. Understanding and receiving God’s grace changes you and creates a climate of grace for yourself and for others in your life. It is centered on the establishment of who He is, not on what I/we can bring to the table. Friendships and relationships prosper when this is the common thread shared and distinguished among the two of you (or group).
Since I have been the recipient of incalculable grace, I have been give the privilege of having a genuine, weighty understanding and appreciation of grace and what it has the power to do in a human heart.
There are two types of people in this world: those who divide and those who extend grace. I pray you’re the latter and that you’ll trust the Lord enough to simply obey Him at His Word. God guide us to choose grace when wrath seems like the more appropriate response and lead us to pray to You, who fully understands when we feel betrayed. God I pray our hearts are softened in the middle of trials and that we recognize Your sovereign hand over every single thing that enters our lives. We know that You work all things for good.