Wednesday, July 1, 2020

Devotionals for the Heart: Grace

Giving Grace
A devotional by Allison M. Wilson

Key Scripture: 
Romans 3:21-25, James 1:19-21, Romans 12:2, Romans 13:12, Luke 6:37,
Jude 1:22-23 (NASB)

Grace is a really complex, yet simple, concept. Hopefully, we understand that it cannot be earned, but is given (Romans 3:21-25) as a gift, by the only righteous One (God). We cannot grasp all grace entails. Our finite human minds just aren’t capable. God does allow us to gain more and more understanding as we surrender ourselves to Him.

We can’t fully grasp grace. Yet, we’re called to give it to others. How do we do that when we don’t understand it? As with everything in the Christian faith, it is by allowing Him to do it in us.

I can’t give grace to the driver who cuts me off without Christ doing it through me. He takes the fleshly response, which seems righteous, and tells me that it is not the way He wants me to be. That anger stirs up the negative emotions in me, not the love, joy, peace, patience (that one gets me every time!), and the rest of the fruit of The Holy Spirit that He died to give me. It does not produce the righteousness of Christ in my life. James 1:19-21 is clear about what my human anger does in my life. It’s also clear what I’m called to do instead.

Judgment has been a consistent sin for me. I respect authority, and I am a rule follower. When others don’t obey the rules/laws, it upsets me. I want justice for being a “good” person. I want them to toe the line. If I have to do it, then everyone should, right? Where is the grace in that? Allowing the Holy Spirit to work in me to bring judgment into obedience with His calling has been a lifelong struggle. It has required changing my thoughts and bringing them into the obedience of Christ. (Romans 12:2)

Things that come easily to me are rarely from God. Anger is an easy reaction. Judgment is, too. To allow the peace of Christ to reign in my heart and mind is not something I am capable of doing on my own. It requires the sacrifice of laying down what I think is right, and allowing Him to teach me what is truly righteous. (Romans 13:12) If I were to continue in my judgmental thinking, I couldn’t be the minister to others He’s called me to be. (Luke 6:37) Countless times He has brought someone to me who has, what they would say, sinned in such a way that I would be offended or repulsed.

If the judgment that used to be so much a part of me was still running rampant, I wouldn’t be able to speak His truth in love to those hurting people. This does not mean I condone sin. It does, however, mean that I treat people the way Christ did in their sins. He loved them. He never accepted their wrong choices. He accepted them, and loved them to the right path. See the story of the woman at the well, or countless other passages in the Word where He confronted sin with love, not condemnation.

I believe that is what giving grace to others looks like. We can say that what they are doing is wrong, but love the person. (Jude 1:22-23) That is the person I want to be. I want others to feel safe coming to me for truth from Christ, no matter the sin in their lives. I want to be known for love. Too many believers are known more for their judgment than their love. Christ first came to love, not judge. That comes later. That’s who I want to be. Only Christ can make the changes in me, through His grace, to be grace-filled toward others.

Let’s Pray: Father God, do in me what needs to be done so that I give grace where I do not naturally want to do it. I surrender my “right” way to Your perfect way. Make me slow to speak, slow to anger, and quick to listen that I may become more like You in grace. In the precious name of Jesus Christ I pray, Amen.

Author Bio:

A very early reader and lover of the written word, Allison M. Wilson has been writing since the age of 8 with the heart to impart stories and God's truth. 

She has judged countless contests for the last 25 years, reviewed for several online publications, professionally edited, and written articles and devotionals.

Wife, mother, writer, editor, teacher, mentor, and mompreneur, God keeps her busy while living in east central Florida with her family.

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