Grace. Several months ago someone asked me to define it. I gave my short answer of “getting eternal life that I don’t deserve, instead of eternity in hell, which I do deserve,” but our conversation did not last very long, so I’ve spent the last few months pondering grace – not because I don’t know what it is, but because I’ve been trying to be conscious of it when I receive it (or not), and extend it (or not).
This, I know for sure –
It is by grace alone (not because of ANYTHING that I did, or even could do) that I am saved.
It is by faith alone (that faith, being a gift from God, and again, NOTHING that I obtained on my own).
And my faith is in Christ alone (not in an institution, not in a human, not in anyone other than in Christ).
I’ve even enjoyed asking a few of the people I admire and love this question, “What does grace currently look like in your life?” I’ve gotten some pretty incredible answers. (But then again, I also happen to know some pretty incredible people.) Their wisdom is worth sharing, so with their permission – here goes!
My friend who is like a mother to me answers, “The unexpected ways He confirms his presence, assurance & love. I’m in awe to become a “great grandmother!” I embrace & thank God for the roles given to me!”
From a friend of many, many years, “This past weekend we heard beautiful music and a comedy that brought us to tears, a walk through a pine forest with the call of woodpeckers and other beautiful song birds, brilliant sunshine, good conversation and meal with my small group,…these things all brought a sense of awe, gratitude and unconditional love of others and God! Reminds me that life is a gift from God!”
And from a mentor of many years, “I am grateful for God’s Grace that I yet have a good heart, no high blood pressure, am in my right mind, and breathing one breath at a time on top of the ground with Romans 8:25 & Romans 8:31 Grace! Oh wretched woman that I am! (Rom 7:24,25) I hate my fleshly self. Thank you Jesus for His Grace Alone. Why do we chance it with ourselves? God sees everything! Some people died instantly in scriptures for some stuff I have done and said and been involved in. God is sooo long suffering with us. I am alive! That is GRACE!”
A couple of close friends laughed when I asked them about grace right now in their lives, and they said, “I’m breathing!” And my son sent me a picture of he and his close friend with the caption, “Breakfast burritos with David!” We laughed, but it’s true. It’s all grace. Every single thing.
Oh, but now it’s my turn….. I’m the one who was asked to explain grace…… So, here goes – with the potential for this post to be incredibly long, since the list of graces extended to me are unending….
- For some reason, God chose me. He chose to un-blind me and let me understand just what it was He did for me at that Cross. I should be dead. No really – I should be. He did that for me! (And for you!) Now that’s grace!
- With the odds stacked against us – divorced, single mom – my kids ought to be in jail (according to statistics and popular opinion). They are both successful, happy, good young men, I’m proud of both of them, and they both follow Jesus. That’s no pat on my shoulders – that’s God’s grace! (Statistics, shmatistics!)
- I have a good job with health insurance, a roof over my head, food in the fridge, am able to pay my bills, and am even able to be generous with what God gives me. (Dave Ramsey says if you live with your hand closed and only hoard what God gives you, you also leave your hands closed to receive). That’s grace!
- I’m surrounded by people who model for me Philippians 4:8, which helps me to see the good in people, assume the best, and not be quick to point fingers and make expectations of them that I am incapable of keeping myself. He surrounds me with good friends who show me without saying a word how to look more like Jesus just by watching their lives – and that encourages me! That’s grace!
- I have a beautiful granddaughter, and another grandchild on the way. GRACE!
- All different kinds of relationships – some close, some not so CLOSE, but all valuable! Grace!
- God ALLOWS me to participate in things that have eternal value! I “get to” do good things, instead of “having to” do good things – Big, big difference! And that difference is GRACE!
- I’ve been forgiven. That’s GRACE!
I have a never-ending list of God’s graces in my life, and so do you, whether or not you currently realize or recognize it. I don’t deserve my life, I don’t deserve my job, my home, my children, or anything that I currently own or get to enjoy. They are all gifts of grace from God. And even the fact that I am able to look back and KNOW that I deserve none of it – is grace. I have spent the weekend making the long drive to visit my son who will soon graduate from college and begin his career. I have another son who is a successful special education teacher and realtor, a daughter-in-law who is an incredible Mommy to my granddaughter, and she is the most beautiful little 16-month-old on Planet Earth! And the best part is – they all follow Jesus, and they all genuinely love each other. No wonder I sleep so well!
And since eating breakfast burritos with friends is grace according to my son – I think getting to enjoy Giordano’s Pizza with him and his friend in downtown Chicago ought to be, too! (Seriously – would you look at that cheese!)
I don’t deserve any of this life of mine – but God gave it to me anyways! Now THAT is grace!!!! 😉
“For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.” Ephesians 2:8-9