Monday, November 19, 2007

Word of the Week: Grace

I wanted to title this post "Living in Grace." Sounds lovely, doesn't it? Only thing it, it wouldn't be quite honest. Let me explain.

My mom tells me that when I was a baby, and she couldn't get me to sleep, all she and my dad had to do was pop me in the car and go for a drive. (No doubt that contributes to my inability as an adult to stay awake in a moving vehicle. I really strive to do so when I'm behind the wheel!) Although I experienced many a midnight ride, I was unaware at the time. I was there, but not.

So it's been with the work of grace in my life. Have I been the recipient of grace? Absolutely. Can I recite the definition and many scriptures on the subject? Since I was a child. Have I been living in it – aware of God’s grace? I have to admit that I never really grasped the idea of grace, or gave it much thought, for that matter. In the last week or so, however, God has brought me face to face with the word grace many times over - through songs, scripture and the words of others. And that's usually a cue for me to pay attention. Hence, the word of the week (or perhaps month or year).

In a book I'm reading*, I just finished a chapter entitled (not surprisingly) The God of Grace. This statement jumped out at me: “Grace that leads to true life transformation is one of unmerited favor – the understanding that God is truly for us and that he will provide what we cannot provide for ourselves. Grace means that we receive the gifts we need for growth to occur.”

I was reminded in an email recently that God's work in my heart is a gift of grace. Even the ability on my part to cooperate with God's work is a gift. Likewise, I was encouraged to share this grace as well. I love to be challenged in my thinking, and I certainly was in this case. My immediate realization was that grace is always available to me, in any given situation. Several questions come to mind: what do I do with that grace? Do I accept the grace that is offered to me? And what does it mean about my relationship with God if I choose not to avail myself of it? And what holds me back from sharing it?

With Thanksgiving right around the corner, it seems fitting to be reminded to receive and live in the grace that God gives us, as well as to extend it to others, in big ways and small.

Grace. It's a good word!

How People Grow by Henry Cloud and John Townsend