Grace : the free and unmerited favor of God
The past few days, Jesus has been talking to me about something that I frequently see in the Christian world get put into a box. Usually, when we think of grace, we think of the way it applies to our situation. For example- “God’s grace saved my life” or “God’s grace carried me”. Don’t get me wrong, both of these statements are completely accurate and beautiful, and I am beyond thankful for the grace that I know has caused my Heavenly Father to call me back to him after I ran and fought and pushed time and time again. But on the other side of the coin, I’d like to talk about two other ways that God’s grace can be applied to our lives.
1. The way we veiw other Christians
A couple weeks ago, I was going about my day and began praying for a friend of mine who was struggling with control in a certain area of their life and wanted Jesus to help free them from it. As I was putting out produce at work, I felt God was telling me “my grace is enough for ___”. Immediately I thought to myself, wow they need to hear that! That would be so beneficial for them, thank you Jesus. It only took me about 10 minutes to realize who that little antecdote was actually for. All the while that I was praying for them, in the back of my mind I was thinking “How could a Christian struggle with this?”. I was judging someone simply because I didn’t struggle in that area, and Jesus was gently reminding me that His grace and mercy not only covers MY sins and shortcomings, but all His children’s! With that knowledge, I believe God wants us to take on a lens of grace when we look at others. He sees them as redeemed, made new, favored, loved, covered in righteousness, His. This is the way we should see them too, and the way we should treat them and think of them and speak of them, regardless of whether we know all their sins or not. Jesus literally CHOSE to forget my sins, and if we are freely giving what has been given to us, we should also make it a point to forget others sins. This brings me into the next important area of grace…….
2. Our relationships with others
Rejection is one of the tender spots in my life. For years I was so controlled and terrorized by my fear of rejection (I am still sometimes if I’m honest), that it negatively impacted every single one of my relationships. Friends, family, boys, and most devastatingly, Jesus. When I found myself doing something I knew was displeasing to Him, I would often spend days terrified to come to Him, terrified to pray and worship. I either cried and repented for hours, full of feelings of condemnation and bitter annoyance with myself, or I avoided him for several days and THEN sobbed regretfully for hours. I felt as though somehow I had lost God’s love. That my sinful act had caused Him to take His favor from me, and I had to somehow earn it back. Obviously this is completely wrong, still, my mind could not grasp the fact that the very one I hurt would be aching for me to come to Him again. I believe that is the truest picture of grace. He wants to love the one hurting Him. The way Jesus loves me is so selfless and pure, He becomes excited when He sees me. This is exactly how I should feel about the humans He’s given me. So often we allow hurts and jabs to build up and layer after layer after layer affects the way we love the person hurting us. This is where that grace comes in!! God’s grace says “Yes, you sinned against me and it hurt, but I love you and I am excited to see you and you are beautiful beyond words!” So why does my heart say “You hurt me and I must withdraw and distance myself from you for self preservation”? Surely that’s not God’s grace speaking? Romans 11:6 says “And if grace, then it cannot be based on works; if it were, grace would no longer be grace.” No one has to earn God’s love, and I am so much less than God!!! How can I, a mere earthling, demand someone to be worthy of my love, when not even the KING OF KINGS asks that? In this way, give people love and favor when they have done nothing that you deem worthy of it. Let the grace He has given you, be poured all over the people He has given you! Pray that the Lord would make you excited about them, joyful when they walk in the room, that any harmful actions towards you would be responded to with pure mercy. When someone knowingly hurts you, express your love to them and tell them you forgive them and COMFORT them. That’s what Jesus does for us endlessly, isn’t it? The more you stop thinking people should earn your love, and grant them the grace (unearned favor) Jesus so readily grants you, the more fulfilled and joyful you will be in your relationships. True love can never be earned, only poured out from the source, Jesus.
I pray that He speaks to you about how He wants to apply his grace in your life! Love love love you all and God bless,