I have heard a lot this week about finding Grace with the Lord and so many people see things in me and around me and my family that because I am knee deep into it, I never see. Yet, so many people have prayed over me this week believing that I have found Grace with God. Have I? I don't know and it is yet to be seen, but it led me to try and figure out, what exactly is Grace and can it be defined?
Some people call prayer Grace and they 'say Grace,' with their meals. We have all said grace, so this isn't the kind of Grace I am talking about, so I checked out my handy dandy Webster's dictionary and they define Grace as: 'finding favor or good will, having been granted favor by a superior such being given a raise or not getting into trouble when you deserve to, mercy, clemency or pardon, a short prayer before or after a meal giving thanks.' ( Taken from the World Wide Web 3/26/11 from: http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/grace.)
The theological explanation of Grace is this:
#1 - The Freely given unmerited favor and love of God. (Italics mine)
#2- The Influence or Spirit of God operating in humans to regenerate or strengthen them. (Italics mine)
#3- Moral Strength
#4- State of Grace or the condition of being in God's favor or one of the elect. (Italics Mine)
Wow! So, where would I define myself in all of this? I wouldn't. I can see where I uphold moral strength and I uphold it in such as way that I expect others to do the same and if they don't, I am disappointed and hurt. Yes my friends, even at 54 years of age, what people do and how they treat others bothers me. I hold people to higher standards because that is where God wants us to be. Yes, I get disappointed easily! My friends and children oft times tell me...let it go, you can't change it, there's nothing you can do, you are too honest for your own good (?? can there ever be to much honesty?). Morally, I am strong! Thank you Jesus!
I see where the Holy Spirit does have influence in me, helping me to regenerate my strength especially during those times when I do not feel life is making any sense. When I am being personally attacked by others who do not know me, when people are stating lies about me. These are the times I must kneel down and go to the cross and bear my soul to God begging His forgiveness for my own short comings. I have literally broke down into tears (yes, I do cry) and cried and cried asking God to show me why things are happening, why He placed us where we are, what I am to be learning. These are times, when my pain will barely move me forward!
Perhaps finding Grace or being in Grace starts with NOT who we are in ourselves, but who God has us to become through trials and bended knees. I believe Grace starts with asking God's forgiveness for my sins and while I have not always been the first to forgive, I no longer hold grudges with the intent to 'get even,' someday.
Grace starts as simply as this picture my 9 year old granddaughter drew on the back on a store receipt when she was in the hospital a few months ago:
It shows the rock covering Jesus grave, the cross on which He hung, the cross filled with our sins and Jesus rising to heaven with the Sun representing Gods happiness in His Son! That is the beginning of Grace for all of us, the cross!
2 Corinthians 9:8 tells us, 'And God is able to make all Grace abound to you (us), that always having sufficiency in everything, you may have an abundance for every good deed.' We can cross reference this verse to Ephesians 3: 19-20, 'And to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled up to all the fulness of God. Now to Him who is able to do exceeding abundantly beyond all that we ask or think according to the power that works within us.
Grace is simply the abundance of Gods love. When we walk in Grace as Noah and Job did, we find favor with God. I remember a song as a child by the Statler Brothers and am sharing it here:
I don't have Grace in the eyes of the Lord because of what I do or even for who I am, I have Grace from God and walk in Grace for my obedience to His commandments and the Holy Spirit. I have Grace from God because He chooses to grant me that Grace.
Have I found favor in God's eyes? I would like to think that I have. Do I deserve His mercy, His Grace, His favor? No, I do not. I do nothing more than many others do. I help others with what I have, I let the Holy Spirit lead me and I pray not for favor or Grace, but I pray for strength to get me through the days on the journey the Lord has placed me on.
Those who tell me they see Grace in my walk...usually have to point it out, because I don't see it. I hope that daily, I follow Gods lead. I know God is with me and that I do have favor in His eyes because I have been blessed to touch others and do things that without Grace, I wouldn't have been able to do and for that I am so blessed.
The fact that I am alive and well proves I found Grace as a small child when I was supposed to die. As a young mother I found Grace when I lost a child (I didn't realize it at the time, but it was Grace that carried me through), I found Grace working alone one night in dispatch when officers were being shot at and I remained calm and no one was injured , when I can help others see clearly during times of trial, I have found Grace.
God is good, I may not always get what I want, when I want it. But that doesn't mean I have fallen out of Grace, it just means God has something better waiting for me. Grace is finding favor with God and sometimes we have to accept that because of God being in control and not ourselves, God may not always bless us with what we want, but He always loves us and if we follow His commandments , stand on His word, remain in His word, Pray and give back to God what is His and reach out to others, I believe we will remain in Gods grace.
Just because we find favor in Gods eyes, walk in Grace doesn't mean we are going to win the lottery, be better off than those that don't follow the Lord, going to have it easy peasy in life, it just means that God is with us and the Holy Spirit is here to comfort us.
May your day be blessed and your path be soft!
May your day be blessed!