Read: Ephesians 2:6-10It is by Grace…
Four words that give the sum of this mortal coil: it is by Grace. What exists or occurs, what good, what beauty, what joy, what love happens apart from grace? A mere cluster of words that encompass the entire gospel, the purpose of the passion, the victory of the resurrection, the parent-heart of God. Grace.
But grace didn’t come into existence on the cross, for Christ breathed grace into a world crazy-desperate for it. Neither was its inception at the incarnation, the humble and eternity-altering entrance of Immanuel into willful humanity. No, Grace pre-existed those for whom it was intended. For if God is omniscient then He had to know that creating beings with an individual will meant that they could intentionally choose wrong. What then, when these beings have turned their backs on the Creator that designed them? The answer: Love, housed in Grace, as Divinity was housed in flesh. Grace is the palpable expression of this Love; something to which I, and you, beloved, can point as my experience of God’s unfathomable, incomprehensible, unchangeable Love.
Thus, if I am changed by this Grace [and how could I not be if I have actually experienced it, this trading of my wrongs for the innocence of God’s only Son?] I will exude it. It will literally ooze out of my pores, embody my breath. For if Heaven can’t contain it, how can I? Yet this can only happen if I am daily found at the fount of Grace, that it might pour, like a rushing river, over my rough edges into a world of people just like me---who are in desperate need of it.
First, I must know my place: I am a redeemed daughter of the King of Kings, adopted into His family, rejoiced over, delighted in, and loved beyond all understanding. Regardless of how I am performing or behaving at the time. Also, I must know who I am: a sinner, a fallen and defeated warrior who has a bent toward darkness, selfishness, and pride; but for Christ. Therefore, I can empathized with other lost and wandering sinners: those who have never found the light; and those like me, who have been found and should consequently know better, but who like Paul, can’t seem to help themselves. And at the same time, the exact same time, I am the woman whom God took great joy in creating, for this time and this place and this life. A woman who is called by His purposed to be whom He created her to; a woman who, through the sacrifice of Jesus and the power of the Holy Spirit, can be.
Second, I must feast on God’s Love that I might be full of His Grace. For me, this looks like spending time in His Word, every day. And talking with Him all the time. And asking the Holy Spirit to pinch me when I’m stepping out of line, and poke me when I should be offering what I’ve been freely given. I even have to ask for help obeying. And I must bend my will to His, turn my life over to this molten love that it will melt away what is undesirable and purify what is good. Even this will not happen absent of the Spirit’s work in me, for I am too prone to return to debauchery and rebellion and the altar of me.
Finally, I must see all these weary souls around me as God does: precious, beloved, lost vagrants scraping out a hollow life in a destitute land. This includes my children, who, as their mother does, willfully flout parental laws. This includes the Officer, who, as his wife does, fails to live up to the perfection of Love. This includes my friends and family, who like their sister/daughter/niece/comrade, disappoint in flawless relationships. And it includes people who are vapors in my life, the ones I see and don’t because my flurried and selfish eyes don’t have time to register them.Grace requires the knowledge that I am flawed and broken, and so is everyone else. It demands that I live out of this truth with every person with whom I interact. That this way of loving others become the rhythm of my days. And in my daily stumbling I should be able recall the need to be Grace-full to each person, even myself. For if God can love them and me when we are weak and full of failures, how can I not do the same?