Tag Archives: Love of God

Finding the grace of God…in holiness

 

 

Grace, an undeserved gift, the exercise of love, kindness, compassion, mercy, favor; the disposition to benefit or serve another. We all want grace.

 

Some try to secure the grace of God by doing good works. Ephesians 2:8-10 says that we are indeed created for His workmanship to do good, but it is only by grace that we are saved, the grace that comes as a free gift of God through His son Jesus.  We access this amazing grace by believing who Jesus is, the Son of God, by asking Jesus to forgive our sins, to turn away from sinful ways, and to invite Him to be Lord and Savior of our life.  If you have made this sincere commitment you know the natural response of a truly repentant and thankful heart receiving this amazing grace is to love others and extend grace to them.

 

Hebrews 12 offers both a warning and encouragement to us:

“Make every effort to live in peace with everyone and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord.  See to it that no one falls short of the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many. See that no one is sexually immoral, or is godless…” (v 14-16)

 

In this day and age holiness may seem a bit archaic and might even bring to mind certain legalistic and ‘goody two shoes’ attitudes. It may also bring a feeling of overwhelming frustration: “How can I be holy?!”  Holiness is our utmost calling, and He who calls you to it will equip you.  You see, holiness is not just the end goal of a maturing Christian’s life; it is at the beginning of our walk with God and essential to discovering the fullness of His grace and extending it to others in our daily lives. It is much more than seeking to live by moral standards. To be holy is to discover the Living God in us. (“Christ in you, the hope of glory.” Colossians 1:27)

 

Take some time today, maybe right now… ask God to reveal to you what stands in the way of you and holiness. Be it secret behaviors or secret thoughts, selfish ambitions to control your own life or that of others, or a bitter root separating you from others, the answer is also what keeps you distant from Him. Not only that but distant from experiencing the fullness of His amazing grace in your life.   Holiness is found by disciplining yourself to maintaining the presence of God throughout your day, constantly seeking the one who loves you most. It is as much a desire as a product of our lives.  It is revealed in discovering God living in you throughout all your activities.  Holiness is not some pious behavior. It is the outpouring of a thankful and grace-filled heart.

 

Want to experience real grace? Be holy…because He (in you) is holy.

(1 Peter 1:16)

 

 

To be noticed

P1000626Do you like to have your picture taken? And do you always check the photo to make sure it is a satisfactory rendition of you?

I found it a curious phenomenon when we were playing with the poor children of Las Lomas (Ushpa Ushpa) Bolivia. When the children saw my camera they wanted me to take a picture of them. Some asked to look at the screen picture but most did not. They did not ask for a copy of the picture. It was sufficient to them that a picture was taken. My brother says he found the same response when he did street photography in the USA. Where you might expect to find resistance, hesitation, or suspicion, people instead demonstrated an eagerness to have their picture taken by a stranger they will probably never see again.

And I wondered, how many people of the world do not have a picture of themselves or of their loved ones? How many live, to use Thoreau’s phrase, lives of quiet desperation that go unnoticed, unwitnessed by others? How many go to the grave with an unsung song, a journey walked alone, a dream unrealized?

I think there is this drive to be noticed, to be acknowledged. Not in the sense of, “Look at me. I am so important.” But rather, it’s as if it isn’t enough to live a solitary life, and that we are wired to need a witness to our existence and the meaning of our journey.

I wonder how many people live in the shadows of our own journeys. How many unassumingly blend into the background of our day and are so easily missed by those who pass by? At the grocery store, at church, those whose paths we meet on the sidewalk or in the halls of commerce?

What does it take to witness the journey of another? Affirming others often begins with a smile, a simple, “How’s your day going?,” or a brief compliment.

Make today count. Show others the love of God who sees them where they are. (He sees you where you are too!) Live a life that acknowledges the value of others.