Sunday, December 11, 2011

What is grace?

So we had this guest speaker at church this morning and I don't necessarily know if I agreed with everything he said (I'm not saying I disagreed- I just don't know if I agreed)... but I can't run away from his main point, even though I've been trying all day.

He quoted a poll where 5,000 American Christians were asked to give three one-word (or phrase) definitions of "grace" and the overwhelming majority of answers were things like

- a free gift
-forgiveness of sins

And he said that grace is certainly all of those things.  But those things are not the primary definition of grace.  Those things, he thought, reduce grace to a ticket into heaven.  And he quoted Luke 2:40:

"And the child grew and became strong; he was filled with wisdom, and the grace of God was on him".

Why, he asked, did Jesus need grace if it was only a ticket into heaven? 

Good question, I thought.

Grace is, he asserted, first and foremost God's empowerment in our lives.

And then he used a verse that got my attention because I just blogged about it last week and it has been rattling in my brain, repeating itself to me through the day and in the night.....

II Corinthians 12:9 But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.

He had more verses, but I didn't need any more, really.  Here are some if you want to look them up yourself:
II Peter 1:2-3
John 1:16
I John 4:17
Daniel 6:3
I John 2:6
Acts 4:33
Acts 6:8

I've been sitting here today looking at a 4 inch metal replica of a stake like the ones driven into Jesus' hands and feet (they gave them to us at church on Easter) and thinking about his horrific death so that I could live .... how he came so that I could have life and have it to the full! 

And it nags at me.... Why do we settle for what we are able to do on our own ability (and speaking for myself, isn't a whole lot!) when we have God's supernatural ability available to us through his grace? What things could I do to make the world a better place if I really believed that through grace, I have access to God's amazing power?  What could God do through me?  How would my life look different than it does right now?

What stops me from being extraordinary?  After all, I was created in the image of an extraordinary God. 

Perhaps what this means to me specifically is best left for me to explore with God and not on my blog.  But I just can't shake the realization that God wants so much more from me and for me than I have been allowing myself to believe.

The end for today.