Posted in Journey to Understand Grace

The Truth of Grace

6 months ago I began a series of blogs called “The Journey of Grace“. I began this blog series as a way for me to learn and explore grace like I hadn’t before…to get a better glimpse and understanding of grace. Personally, I was in a place in my life where I needed a better and much deeper understanding of grace (still am…but aren’t we all), so this was a journey I needed to take. But I also chose to make it a blog series rather than a personal study as I know many need a better understanding of what grace is, because we live in a world that often operates in ways that are the opposite of grace.

This blog series could honestly go on for years. The more I have learned about grace, the more I have come to realize how much more there is to learn about grace. I have been able to get a better glimpse of grace, but I’ve also realized how limited my understand was…is…and will to some extent always be. I never want to stop learning about grace, but I also have to recognize that as a limited human being, I will never fully understand grace.

So in this final blog in this series about my journey to better understand grace, I want to share some truths I have come to learn about grace as a way to finish and sum up this blog series.

Something I began to realize early in this journey was the fact that grace doesn’t always make sense. This is true because of the truth that grace is only grace when it’s given to someone who doesn’t deserve it. The definition of grace is “an undeserved gift”. When grace is offered to someone, it’s offered to someone whether they deserve it or not. To accept grace is to accept a gift that we didn’t earn or deserve.

In fact, the reality is that it can only be deemed grace when it is offered to someone who does not deserve it. It would not be grace if someone earned it…the very definition of grace tells us it is an undeserved gift. Not earned, not purchased, not deserved. A gift that is undeserved.

When we show love to someone who has done us wrong or is unloving, we are showing them grace. When we forgive someone before they ask for it, and sometimes even despite the fact they never do ask for it, we are showing them grace. The moment we react to an unkind action with kindness is the moment we begin to show grace.

That is exactly why it doesn’t make sense. As humans, we think if someone wrongs me then I’ll get even with them by wronging them back in some way. We have this idea that if someone is unloving, then they aren’t worthy of our love or kindness. That’s honestly how we as humans often think and perceive things.

Grace is the exact opposite of our natural way of thinking. Grace does not come natural to us. But that is because it is not from us at all. Truth is, grace comes from God. Grace, the act of showing love and kindness and compassion and forgiveness and whatever else fits in this category, is something we learn and get from God. He is the inventor of grace (as well as love, kindness, compassion, forgiveness, etc).

Romans 3:23 tells us very plainly that we are all sinners. Sin is when we choose to go against God’s will and plan; it’s rebellion against the sovereign creator of this universe. When God created us, he created us with the ability to obey or disobey. He loved us enough to not force us to love and obey him, rather he gave us choice. Sin is when we take that choice and go against God in our life.

John 3:16 tells us that God sent Jesus to die for our sins, to take the consequences of our sin on our behalf. God showed us grace by sending Jesus to die in our place. We didn’t deserve it, nor did we earn it, but he chose to love us despite our rebellion. Grace…simply AMAZING GRACE.

If we truly understand the grace God has given us, then the truth is that it should lead us to be so thankful that we can’t help but show that grace to others. Colossians 3:13 speaks of forgiving others as God has forgiven us…it tells us to show grace to others the way God showed grace to us. In Matthew 18 Jesus tells a parable about how we are to show mercy to others because we have been shown mercy ourselves.

It’s not easy to do this, believe me I know. It requires us to not give into our fleshly desires. It requires us to look to God for strength; to allow God to work in us and through us; to trust God and obey what he says even when it goes against everything we want to think and do.

For me, one of the hardest times to trust God and obey him with regards to showing grace is when I feel like my grace is being taken advantage of. I am thankful for the grace God has shown me and I want to show grace to others. But if those I am seeking to show grace to only take advantage of my gracious. that is where I want to draw the line and say “I’m done, no more grace for you” (in the voice of the Soup Nazi of course). I think if we are honest, we all have a “line” of some kind as well…we all have some point where we decide grace should no longer be extended.

It is in those moments that I must remember the truth that I didn’t deserve God’s love and forgiveness, but he gave it to me anyway; the truth that I want others to show me grace even if I make some big mistakes, so I need to be willing to show it to others as well; and the truth that grace means a gift that is undeserved, even when a line has been crossed in my mind. (side note – this does not mean we act stupidly while showing grace. We are to be smart and wise in how we live as well…just not at the expense of grace)

Life is and will always be full of those who we must work to show grace to. That’s just the way it is because we live in a fallen world where people make mistakes and aren’t easy to love or forgive. But we must seek to show grace anyway; because God loved and forgave us, because we aren’t perfect either, and because that’s what grace is all about.

Who do you need to show love, kindness, compassion, or forgiveness to today? Who do you need to be gracious to? You’ve received an amazing gift from God, and he has commanded you to share that same gift with others.

The journey to understand grace is a journey that continues through life. Every year, every week, every day. The journey to understand grace and learn how to show grace will never end this side of heaven. Take it one step at a time. Remember to trust and follow God every step of this journey, because he will make your paths straight (Proverbs 3:5-6).

May we show grace to someone today, and then again to someone tomorrow. May we share the grace God has given to us with others, no matter the outcome.

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Here are the links to all the blogs in this series, in the order they were written:

Irony of Grace, Gift of Grace, Insanity of Grace, Thankful for Grace, Faithfulness of Grace, Life-changing Grace, Patience of Grace, The Pain of Grace, The Look of Grace, The Peace of Grace, The Length of Grace, and The Choice of Grace.

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Posted in Journey to Understand Grace

The Choice of Grace

Grace: a gift offered to us that we do not deserve. When we have wronged someone else and they show us mercy, kindness, forgiveness, etc…they are showing us grace. When we are wronged by someone else and we choose to show them mercy, kindness, forgiveness, etc…we are showing them grace. When God shows us love, mercy, forgiveness, salvation, and patience…he is showing us grace.

Ultimately, grace is a God thing. As humans, grace is generally not our go-to response. Our go-to response when someone hurts us or wrongs us is to somehow hurt them back…to get even. But showing grace, that is something beyond our human nature. It’s a God thing. That is why grace is not always easy for us to completely grasp.

If I had to pinpoint one aspect of grace that I think makes it difficult for us to completely grasp, I would have to say it’s the patience required to truly show grace. Patience is at the very heart of grace, and is foundational for grace to exist. Loving someone who hurt us can be hard; showing mercy or offering forgiveness can be difficult. But before we can do any of those aspects of grace, we must first remain patient in the midst of the action that is hurting us so we can clearly think about remember to be gracious. Then, because we remained patient, we can keep a level head and go about reacting in a gracious way toward the other person.

Without patience, we react on our first impulse…and as humans our first impulse is to retaliate and get even with the person who hurt us. Our first impulse is not to be gracious through love, forgiveness, kindness, forgiveness, and so on.

With patience, we stay calm and think clearly. We remember that God has extended grace to us even though we don’t deserve it, and we remember that God calls us to be gracious to others in the same way he was gracious with us. So when we remain patient, we can take what God has given to us and extend it to others.

It’s a God thing. Patience leading to grace in whatever circumstance we are involved in is a total God thing.

“But do not overlook this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.” 2 Peter 3:8-9

God is not slow, he is patient. He does not desire that any should receive the full consequences for their sins, but rather he desires that all would turn from their sin and run to him. He is patient in order to show us grace.

Patience leads to grace. Patience leads to acting and reacting in a Godly manner as opposed to acting and reacting according to our flesh. Patience is a God thing, because he is patient with us beyond what we deserve (understatement of the year). Patience is something God wants us to practice in our life as well, so we can show grace to others just like he shows grace to us.

God call us to be holy as he is holy (1 Peter 1:15-16). We are told to be imitators of God (Ephesians 5:1). God acts in patience toward us, and wants us to act in patience toward others.

Now, if you’ve been following my Journey to Understand Grace blog series, you might be thinking to yourself, “you’ve already talked about the patience of grace“. Yes I have, but this blog is not just about patience. I am talking a lot about patience, because it is key both to the idea of grace overall as well as specifically to the passage shared above. However, there’s another thing that is also key that goes right along with patience…

Choice. Our own choice to be exact.

We have a choice whether or not we will work to be patient or not. We have a choice as to whether we will react on impulse or in a godly manner. It takes work to train our self to not react on impulse, but it is still a choice. If we don’t want to learn patience, we won’t do what it takes to train our self. If we do, we will do what it takes.

We also have a choice how we respond to the patience being shown to us. The passage above talks about God being patient and showing us grace, but it’s up to each of us on our own to decide if we will accept the grace offered to us or not.

Patience will lead to grace. Acting with patience is a choice we must make for our self. Responding to the grace offered to us is also a choice we must make for our self.

Will we choose to seek to be patient, putting our self in a position to be able to show grace to someone who hurts us when the time comes? Will we choose to accept and respond to the grace being shown to us when we don’t deserve it?

That is our choice…and we each must make our own choice.

May we choose to learn to remain patient, putting our self in a position to be gracious in any circumstance. May we also continually choose to accept the grace that is being offered to us. May we realize that the grace we are being offered and choosing to accept should lead us to act the same way toward others.

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Posted in Journey to Understand Grace

The Length of Grace

This will probably be the shortest of all the posts in this “Journey to Understand Grace” blog series…

I have been plagued in my mind lately with a simple question: “How long should grace be offered/shown to someone?” How long? When should it end? How many times do we need to show someone grace before we stop?

How long should grace be offered/shown to someone?

The question might be simple enough, but the answer is definitely not.

Answer: Grace should never end…we should never stop being willing to offer/show grace to someone.

Throughout this journey I’ve been on to understand grace, I have been amazed at how incredible and amazing and so much more encompassing I have found grace to be. Even talking about the the pain and hurt we can experience when we show grace (The Pain of Grace), it was still amazing to realize how in-depth grace is and the effect it can have on us. Grace is truly an amazing thing.

But doesn’t the phrase “all good things come to an end” apply to grace as well?

If grace is dependent on our human strength, then yes it will come to an end. However, God’s grace does not come to an end. God continues to extend his grace to us no matter what we do or how far we wander from him. Like the father in the story of the Prodigal Son that I’ve referenced a few times in this blog series, he is waiting for us to return to him and runs to embrace us when we do.

Does God discipline his children when they do wrong? Yes…because he loves us, and any parent knows the reason we discipline our children is because we love them enough to teach them and help them grow (Proverbs 3:11-12). But even in disciple, grace is present. Parents still love their kids even when disciplining them, and God definitely still loves us when he has to discipline us.

Showing grace continually does not indicate that we are weak or that others can take advantage of us. Rather, it shows that we are willing to still show love and mercy and kindness and forgiveness and understanding and patience far beyond what is commonly seen and experienced in this world…and what we are capable to show solely based on our own strength.

God’s grace never ends, no matter what we have done or will do. God’s forgiveness is always offered to us, he always loves us, and he will forever be there for us to run to when we walk away.

We are to love as he loved, forgive as he forgave, show others the same mercy he showed us, etc. God calls us as his followers to show grace to the world around us…the same grace he offers us.

Continual unending grace

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my journey to understand grace began with this post: The Irony of Grace

Posted in Journey to Understand Grace

The Peace of Grace

This journey I am on to understand grace just continues on (click here to see the journey thus far). It has definitely been quite a journey so far, and I have no idea where it is taking me other than into a better understanding of grace. Where that better understanding will take me, and how it will potentially be used still remains to be seen…but that’s part of the fun of the journey.

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“Grace and peace to you from God our Father and from the Lord Jesus Christ”. That phrase, or a slight variation of it, is used in the New Testament many times. Paul uses it at the beginning of all 13 of his letters, Peter uses it at the beginning of both of his letters, and John uses it at the beginning of 2 of his letters (2 John and Revelation). It’s quite a popular phrase…and I believe a very important one.

The phrase says both grace and peace, it doesn’t just use one of them. It pairs those 2 words together because those 2 words, and the meanings of those 2 words, are very much connected.

Grace, as we know well by this point in the journey (because I’ve stated it constantly), is an undeserved gift that is offered to us. God’s love, mercy, forgiveness, kindness, salvation, and so on are all part of his grace…we don’t deserve any of them, but he offers them all to us. His peace, a peace that transcends all understanding (Philippians 4:7), is something else that can be added to his list of things we are offered but don’t deserve. God’s peace given to us is just another act of his incredible grace.

When life is beating us up and we are weary and tired, God’s gracious gifts of love and mercy during that time gives us peace to get through that part of the journey. His grace gives us peace.

When fear and doubt begin to reign in our heart and mind, God’s gracious gifts of kindness and salvation, as well as the reminder of who we are because of his salvation (child of God), gives us peace to work through our fear and doubt. His grace brings about peace.

When all is going really well and we forget just how much we really need God, God’s gracious gifts of love and forgiveness are still present in our life, which provides us peace both then as well as later on when things in our life change. His grace provides us continual peace.

His grace in our life, no matter what season of life we are in, gives us an incredible amount of peace. A peace that literally transcends all understanding. A peace that at times we can’t even explain, but we know we feel it and we know that it is from God. A peace that never gets old or loses its power in our lives. A peace that is an act of God’s grace.

And, we know that we are called by God to show grace to others the same as he has shown grace to us. Yea, it’s not always easy, but as Followers of Christ we are called to live godly lives whether or not it’s easy. As we continue to work to live for God, he will continue to give us the strength and wisdom needed to live for him, so we are not on our own.

When we show grace to someone else, we are showing them love and mercy and kindness and forgiveness just as God shows it to us. And a result of us doing that is…you guessed it…peace. Peace in our own heart because we are doing what is right and godly rather than acting or reacting according to our flesh. However, it also gives peace to the one we are showing grace to, because we are offering them something they don’t deserve. That act of grace is an act of peace…it’s us doing our part in making amends, forgiving, loving, etc with the other person. That is an act of peace.

When we are offered grace, we receive peace as part of that process. When we offer grace, we are giving peace as part of that as well.

Grace is so amazing!

Who do you need to offer peace to? Who needs peace in their life that you can be a vessel of God by offering it to them? Do you need peace yourself but perhaps haven’t been accepting God’s grace lately?

Whatever circumstance you are in, or the people around you are in, choose grace…and receive the peace that comes with it.

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Posted in Journey to Understand Grace

The Look of Grace

Grace is an undeserved gift. God’s love, mercy, salvation, peace, kindness, etc. are all part of his grace toward us, because we do not deserve any of it. The fact that we have the ability to pray to God and have a relationship with him is his grace, since we are so inferior compared to him.

It is also grace when we offer love, mercy, kindness, etc. to someone else when they’ve hurt or wronged us. When we choose to forgive an offense and instead treat/respond to another in a way they don’t necessarily deserve (because they hurt or wronged us), we are showing grace to that person. And vice versa when someone we have wronged offers us love, mercy, kindness, and forgiveness.

Question I often ask myself as I consider grace is “what does grace look like?” It’s often easy to begin to understand the theological and academic definition of grace. We can look at a dictionary, look at verses in the Bible that talk about grace, and read what others say about grace to get a working definition of grace in our head. That’s what I’ve been doing a lot, and it’s not wrong. It has helped me get a deeper understanding of grace, as well as begin to realize just how amazing grace is.

However, at some point we have to put some feet to what we know so it can be applied in how we live. Otherwise it just stays in our head, and that doesn’t lead to acting upon that knowledge we have. Knowledge, without any application that would lead to action, is incomplete and has no real impact on our life. We gain knowledge in order to learn and grow, not just fill our head with more knowledge.

So let’s talk about what grace would look like when acted out…

In the story of the Prodigal Son (Luke 15:11-32), which I mentioned in the post ‘The Pain of Grace‘, you see the son essentially telling his father “you’re dead to me, I don’t really care about you being in my life anymore, so give me my money”.

The son was very hurtful to his father, and yet we see the father give the son what he wanted. Then later when the son returns after living wildly and blowing all of the money his father gave him, we see the father waiting for his son to return…and when he sees him coming home, he runs out to him and loves him the same as he had before his son left. The son didn’t deserve to receive the money that way, and the son didn’t necessarily deserve to be loved the same when he returned after all he had done. But the father forgave him (even before the son repented) and showed him unconditional love. That is the look of grace.

In Exodus 32 we see that Israel has created an idol of a calf made of gold, and has begun to worship that idol. God is quite angry with Israel, and tells Moses that he is going to wipe out the entire nation of Israel and start over with Moses’ descendants (verses 9-10). Moses then prays to God and intercedes on behalf of Israel, begging God to spare Israel (verses 11-13). God listens to Moses’ prayer and relents from destroying Israel.

Moses prayed for those who had sinned; he asked God to not punish Israel severely for what they had done wrong. Moses didn’t have to do this. Israel had done a very evil thing by creating this idol and worshiping it…especially considering the fact that God had just performed several amazing miracles when he rescued them from Egypt. Yet despite that, Moses prayed on behalf of Israel. That is the look of grace.

Joseph’s brothers wanted to kill him and ended up selling him into slavery. Years later, when his brothers showed up wanting food, Joseph could have repaid them for all they had done to him. Yet he ultimately showed them mercy, despite all they had done to him and all he had been through in his life because of what they had done to them. He even told them that what they meant for evil, God meant for good (Genesis 50:20). That is the look of grace.

Jesus died on the cross to take the sin of the world on his shoulders, in order to pay the punishment for those sins in order than all who turn to him could receive salvation. That is the look of grace.

Barnabas chose to take Mark with him on his missionary journey, even though Mark had failed him and Paul on a previous journey. Barnabas gave Mark another chance (Acts 15:36-41). That is the look of grace.

There have been times that I’ve yelled at my kids before. They had done something I didn’t like, but my reaction was not right. Afterwards I would have to apologize to them, and they would tell me “you’re forgiven”. That is the look of grace.

Growing up I disobeyed my parents at times (I know you are shocked). And while I often received a punishment of some kind for my disobedience, I was still forgiven and loved the same. That is the look of grace.

I have been doing a lot of looking through scripture lately concerning how we are to treat others, especially when they have sinned and wronged us. What I have found is an overwhelming call to be kind, show mercy, extend love, and to make sure I forgive as God has forgiven me. There are times when discipline has to take place, but even in those times the idea of reconciliation and forgiveness is present.

I am to be gracious, even if the other person never apologizes or accepts my kindness or love or mercy or forgiveness.

We are not responsible for how others react, but we are responsible for our own actions and reactions. We are called to show grace, no matter the circumstance. God has shown it to us, and we are to show it to others.

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To see all the posts in this journey to understand grace that I’ve been on, click here.

Posted in Journey to Understand Grace

The Pain of Grace

Over the past few months I have been writing a series of blogs that I’ve called the “Journey to Understand Grace“. I have written about the irony of grace, the gift of grace, the insanity of grace (my favorite of all the blogs in this series I think), being thankful for grace, the faithfulness of grace, how grace is life-changing, and the patience of grace. It’s definitely been a cool journey that I’ve been on as I seek to learn more about grace, and God continues to reveal more truths to me about the depth of his grace.

So far however, I have been focusing on all things about grace that are good and that we love. That was on purpose, as grace is mostly good and there is a lot about grace to love, that is definitely for sure. Notice I said in the previous sentence “grace is mostly good…” Mostly good. That means there is another side of grace besides what is good, no matter how small or minute that other side might be. And it is that other side that I want to explore in this blog.

Ready? Me neither, but here we go…

Grace is AMAZING! It is amazing because we do not deserve God’s grace at all…but that is the very idea of grace. Grace is a gift that is undeserved; we do not deserve God’s love, mercy, kindness, salvation, etc. Yet we have been offered all of those things because of the amazing grace of God.

It’s that same grace he offers us that we are commanded to show to others. There are several passages of scripture where we are commanded to love others as God loved us, forgive others as God forgives us, show mercy to others as God shows mercy to us, and so on. God calls his followers to be gracious to others in the same way he is gracious to us.

Let’s just admit right now that is easier said than done.

It’s not easy to do for two reasons:

1 – We are not God and thus not perfect. He definitely has an advantage in this regard. Because he is God, and in 1 John we are told that God is love, he is able to love us when we don’t deserve it better than we are able to love others when we don’t think they deserve it. He is able to since it is part of who he is. We are sinners, so loving others (and being gracious in any form) is not as natural to us.

2 – We don’t like pain, and we think it will be very painful to show grace to someone who has hurt us. As humans it is easy to begin to label others in our life as “deserving” or “undeserving” of our grace based on how they have treated us or how they have hurt us. When we do this, we begin to decide who deserves grace from us and who doesn’t, all based upon our emotion from past experiences. We don’t want to get hurt again, so we don’t show grace anymore.

The first one I can’t say much about…it is true that God has the advantage there. However, he does still call us to “be holy, for I am holy” (1 Peter 1:16); he still commands us to love others as God loves us (John 15:12); he wants us to forgive others as he has forgiven us (Colossians 3:13); I could go on, but the point is made. We know these truths and verses, it’s just a matter of if we are willing to obey them or not.

The second one can be easy to get hung up on though, and we can even begin to think that God doesn’t really get the pain we feel when we have been hurt and don’t want to show grace. Or we’ve been hurt and chosen to show grace, only to have it ignored or trampled on by the one we are showing that grace to. So we hide behind the pain and decide we are going to protect and look out for our self, not allowing ourselves to be hurt again. We close ourselves off because of the pain, and even think that God doesn’t really understand the pain we feel, somehow justifying our actions in the process.

But God does know the pain that can come from/with grace all too well….

And when the sixth hour had come, there was darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour. And at the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?” which means, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Mark 15:33-34)

God sent his son to die for our sins…showing us more grace than we can ever fully comprehend. But as Jesus hung on the cross in pain and agony, God had to turn his back on his son when we placed our sin on him. Jesus felt the pain of abandonment and loneliness; God felt the pain of losing a connection with a loved one.

And he said, “There was a man who had two sons. And the younger of them said to his father, ‘Father, give me the share of property that is coming to me.’ And he divided his property between them. Not many days later, the younger son gathered all he had and took a journey into a far country…” (Luke 15:11-13)

This is the beginning of the parable of the Prodigal Son, found in Luke 15:11-32. There are a couple important things to note here. First, the younger son told his father he wanted his inheritance now. An inheritance was generally received after the father passed on…or when the father decided it was the right time to give the inheritance…especially by the younger son, so for the son to say this was like saying “dad, you are dead to me and I don’t care about you anymore, so just give me what you owe me now.” Second, the father, probably knowing full well his son would leave once he had what he wanted from the father, went ahead and gave the inheritance to his son anyway.

The father showed grace despite being hurt; he responded to a painful situation in a gracious way; he showed love to his son despite his son’s disrespect and selfishness.

The story of the Prodigal Son is a picture of God and us. Jesus was giving his listeners a mental picture of just how much God is willing to be gracious to us. Despite how much it will hurt him, and despite how much pain we might cause him with our actions, he shows us grace anyway.

That is the pain of grace. It’s knowing you have been hurt and probably will be hurt again. It’s understanding that those you show grace to will potentially walk away from you and reject your grace. It’s feeling the pain of abandonment, loneliness, or a severed connection with a loved one. It’s painful, that is for sure. But that, to a degree, is what makes grace grace.

Pain causes us to not want to show grace to the one who caused the pain, or we are afraid of the pain we might feel when we choose to show grace. Grace can only be grace when we show it despite the pain. That is the pain of grace. After all, grace is an undeserved gift.

God knows that pain all too well, and he still calls us to show grace despite the pain.

What we must remember though, is that the pain might last for a moment (sometimes a few moments), but grace lasts much longer. It will hurt in the moment, but the love and mercy and kindness and everything else that comes from grace lasts long after the pain begins to subside.

Don’t be afraid of the pain of grace. May we be thankful God was willing to show grace despite the pain it would cause him, and may we choose to obey his commands to show grace to others despite the pain we might feel.

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Posted in Journey to Understand Grace

Patience of Grace

Yesterday I was reading in the book “30 Words” by Jarrid Wilson, and one of the words I read about was patience.

Honestly, I’m not really a big fan of patience. It takes too long, it doesn’t happen in my time frame or how I want it to happen, and I don’t like to wait. I am a take charge, make it happen now, hurry up and do what needs to be done kind of guy, so patience and I have never really been friends. I know it’s an important virtue, I’m not denying that at all…I’m just being honest.

In the chapter on patience, the author said that “…the fourth fruit of the Spirit is patience (Galatians 5:22). Christians are not called to be impatient people.” Later in the chapter the author was talking about the idea of a waiting room…how we wait in there to hear something of substantial value. With this idea in mind the author went on to say “My point is, don’t expect anything of substantial value to come out of a speedy process. I’m not saying it can’t happen, but realistically, it won’t. In fact, scripture even promotes this (James 5:7-11).”

As I thought about this, how I don’t like being patient, but as a Follower of Christ I am called to be patient, I was reminded of God’s patience toward me…and to all of us. I began to think about how he continues to offer us grace, even after we continue to mess up and choose to sin and walk away from him at different times in our life. He will discipline us if needed when we make mistakes, but he still offers us grace even in the midst of the discipline. That shows just how patient with us he is.

Consider the following verses:

Joel 2:13 – “…Return to the Lord your God, for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love; and he relents over disaster.”

Jonah 4:2 – “…for I knew that you are a gracious God and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love, and relenting from disaster.”

2 Peter 3:8-9 – “But do not overlook this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.”

God is so patient with us. What an absolutely amazing truth! It is yet another amazing gift of his grace toward us.

But let’s not forget that fact that no only is God patient, but he also calls us to be patient. Remember the verses I shared at the beginning of this blog; Galatians 5:22 and James 5:7-11. Those are verses where we as followers of Christ are commanded to be patient ourselves.

We are also called to show patience to others, same as we’ve been called to show grace and mercy to others just like God has shown it to us (read through the other blogs I’ve written in this blog series). In fact, grace and patience go hand in hand, because to truly show someone grace requires being patient with them. That is not so easy. Patience is hard; it takes too much time and isn’t dependent on my ideas or time frames.

I think we like the idea of God being patient with us, because we know we need it. However, we don’t like the idea of having to be patient with others, because we don’t like waiting as well as sometimes we don’t believe others deserve it. We like to accept God’s patience for us, but don’t always want to share it with others. That isn’t right. We need to share with others what God is offering to us, even if its difficult and we don’t like it.

Today, make a conscious decision to work on being patient. Work hard, because it will be difficult at times. Just remember often that God continues to show us patience, which is another gift of his amazing grace to us, and we must in turn show that same patience (and grace) to others.

Living as God calls us to is not easy, but it is always best.

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To see all the blogs I’ve written in this journey to understand grace, click here (it’s the same link that is shared above).