One of the greatest words in universe is grace. It’s often overused and misused, but it is most often misunderstood. Throughout this year we have been talking about developing a G3 lifestyle – Grateful, Generous, and Gracious. I have been amazed and impressed at what I have seen developing in so many of you.
You have become far more grateful. Many of you are keeping regular Gratitude Journals where, several days each week, you make somewhat meaningful entries. Remember gratitude is a state of the mind and the heart. It is far more than appreciation for something you have received, it is a spiritual connection between your head and your heart. Someone rightly said, “It is impossible to feel gratitude and be depressed in the same moment.” My experience has been that thoughts of gratitude will always chase out anger, hostility, and unkindness.” Being grateful is not so much a challenge as it is a choice. I trust you are choosing to be grateful each day.
You have become more generous in many, many ways. You are learning the joy of being generous with your time, your talents, and your treasures. As we “give” the possibilities explode. You know, there are two lakes in Israel – The Sea of Galilee and The Dead Sea both of which are attached to and fed by the Jordan River. These two lakes that begin the same, end very differently. The Sea of Galilee feeds back into the river and into other streams and is filled with life and nourishes most of Israel. The Dead Sea does not feed any other stream, keeps all the water it is given and is barren and dead. It kills anything that tries to live there. The picture of these two rivers is an example of life. As we give we live. I am grateful that more of you are choosing to be generous in many areas of your life.
We are working on understanding the importance of being gracious now. The difficulty with grace is understanding that Grace cannot be taught, it must be caught because it is a supernatural gift from God. In its simplest form grace means, “Something needed yet not deserved.” In its purest example it is what Christ did for us on the cross. When we were desperately and hopelessly separated from God, He “proves His love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8) This perfect picture of God’s unmerited favor is grace and until we have received this free gift of God it is impossible for us to really act graciously at all. I want to encourage you to show grace through faith. Remember F.A.I.T.H. this way:
Forgiveness – because we have been forgiven, we must forgive.
Acceptance – once we are forgiven God accepts us and invites into relationship with Him.
Intentional –when we show grace it is deliberate and intentional. Get and stay connected.
Time – showing grace is not “one time only” it requires us to be generous with our time to those who need it.
Encouragement – use grace as an opportunity to speak words of life into others.
It is my prayer that we continue to experience the grace of God in our lives which will better equip us to show grace to others.