By Grace

April 1, 2017

 

Scripture: 8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9 not by works, so that no one can boast. [Ephesians 2:8-9 NIV]
 
It seems like everything is available to us almost immediately these days. We can go on Amazon and order almost anything and it will be delivered sometimes within the same day. Good service is synonymous with fast service. We get antsy or frustrated when things take more than 30 seconds to cook in the microwave. We have become a people of near instant gratification. We expect things to happen quickly. That is the mentality that the “get rich quick” schemes play on in order to get people to bite. It is the philosophy behind the lottery, Publisher’s Clearing House, and so many others. I will just fill something out or buy a ticket and the next thing you know I will be rolling in the dough. Yet, some of the most meaningful, and truly valuable, things in life cannot be rushed. Some things are best after having had to wait for them, maybe even earn them. We simply are not a people who likes to wait.
 
In Scripture we see this in Abraham and Sarah waiting for a child. It is evident in the people of Israel traveling in the wilderness. James and John displayed this mindset when they asked for positions of importance and power in Jesus’ kingdom. We find the same attitude in the disciples as they argued over who would be the greatest. It seems to be human nature to seek quick answers and easy ways in life. The problem is that this is not what God desires for us. God desires for us to journey with Him and with each other. The emphasis in Scripture is on relationship. The first relationship in all creation is between God and humanity. We are to love the Lord our God with all our heart, mind, soul, and strength. The second relationship is human to human. We are to love our neighbor as ourselves. The message of Scripture, and the Christian faith, is one of relationship.
 
Relationship is not a quick and easy process. Pastor, author, and teacher John Ortberg said it best many years ago when he said, “You cannot microwave relationships.” Relationships take work. Both parties have to put in the effort for the relationship to work. Here is where the beauty of Scripture is revealed. God is already putting in the work long before we realize we need to. God’s work comes to us in the form of grace. The unmerited favor of God bestowed upon us. Grace means that we cannot boast in anything we have done. God offers us grace long before we even know we need it. God offers us grace in the hour we realize we are a sinner in need of a Savior. God continues to offer us grace as we seek to become holy as God is holy. Grace is who God is from beginning to end and everywhere in between.
 
Today take some time to reflect on all the ways you have experienced God’s grace in your life. Have you been boasting in what you have done? Take time to thank God for the grace given to you in your life. Stop trying to take credit and give God the glory. Over time God has been creating you as a priceless work of art. It is by God’s grace that you are who you are, have what you have, and are doing what you are doing. Give yourself more fully in relationship to God by grace through faith in Jesus Christ. Allow God’s grace to abound in you and overflow out of you today. Pray the prayer below rewritten from the blessing Aaron spoke over the Israelites and allow God’s grace to be released in your life today.
 
Prayer: Holy Lord, bless me and keep me;
              Lord make your face to shine upon me and be gracious to me;
              Lord turn your face toward me and give me peace.
              Put your name on me today and bless me. Amen.

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