If you were to take a survey of family and friends, what do you think they would list as your number one strength? Is it your charm? Perhaps your whit? Maybe you have superior intellect or great musical ability? Could it be your talent for making and keeping friends? Loyalty, dependability, determination, maturity? It's funny how some people see traits in us that we would never see in ourselves. But would any of your friends say you are a person of grace?
I have met some awesome people in my time. Some were great preachers and others great evangelists. I have met prophets and teachers whose revelation and understanding make me look like a beginner in God's Word. But whatever we are and whatever we have can all be made useless without a practical application of God's grace. It is only in the context of God's love that we can begin to grasp the profoundness and the life impacting nature of grace.
Perhaps it is for this reason that the Apostle Paul spent so much precious time encouraging Timothy in this, in his last letter to his friend. He writes:
You then, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. (2 Timothy 2:1)
So many people want to walk in Jesus' footsteps but fail to understand those steps are things of grace. Every minute he lived here, every breath he took, every step he made, every word he spoke were done in the grace of God. We didn't deserve any of it.The only thing we had earned was God's wrath but here he was rescuing us in an action of grace to his enemy and setting an example of how we have been transformed. Yes, we were transformed to be vessels of this great ointment called grace.
If you say you love Jesus and yet hold on to even a pebble of hatred, you have not really experienced the love of God. If you become impatient easily, avoid certain people, love some more than others, then you have not grasped the nature of God's grace. If you keep a list of wrongs, fail to forgive wrongs done to you, find it impossible to be kind to those who hate you, then you do not understand the true cost of following Jesus.
It is not a matter of us trying to love others. No matter how hard we try we will never be able to find it in ourselves to love as God loves. We don't have it in ourselves to be like Jesus. Many have tried; all have failed. We can become like a good person. We can become a person people admire as we allow our strong traits to shine through and try to keep our bad ones hidden. But in Jesus nothing is hidden that will not be exposed.
The only way we can live the grace that we have been shown is by allowing Jesus to live through us. We have to die to ourselves, stop pushing for what we want, stop running from God to gain the world. We have to empty ourselves and allow the Spirit of God to have full control so that the anointing of God will be on us, and the new character, the character of Jesus will be seen by all. Then we will live a life of grace. Then the world will see the difference and know there is a difference. They may hate us for it but at least they will know.
Would your friends say grace is a word that describes you?