Feb 12, 2014

3 Ways You Can Grow in the Grace of God

2 Peter 3:18  But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ
What does it mean to grow in the Grace of Jesus Christ?

It means to Realize Grace
Romans 5:17  If, because of one man's trespass, death reigned through that one man, much more will those who receive the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man Jesus Christ
Ephesians 2:8-9  For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.

Jesus did everything for you that God required of you.  Unworthy, underserved, unearned, and unpayable.  We did nothing to prompt it and we can do nothing to repay it.  Without the work of Jesus Christ we could never have been saved. 
As the old hymn says,
Jesus paid it all,
All to Him I owe;
Sin had left a crimson stain,
He washed it white as snow.
Period.  How do we grow in is grace?  We realize the richness of it, the necessity of it, and the totality of it...and so we accept it.  It’s all we need for salvation.  By his grace we are forgiven and free.  We cannot add to it and we cannot diminish it.  It’s enough and it’s all.  God will never expect more from you and ever look at you outside of the grace of Jesus once you have it.  You and I should spend our lives digging into and enjoying the wealth of that unending pot of awesomeness that is the Grace of God.

It means to Live by Grace
2 Corinthians 12:9-10  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. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

We are saved by the grace of Jesus, but we also live by the grace of Jesus.  The grace of Jesus is absolutely necessary in our everyday lives.  Life throws us impossible moments and mountains.  Mountains that we are unable to understand, overcome, and push through.  It is pride and arrogance that tell us, “YOU CAN DO IT!”  Listen, NO YOU CAN NOT!  You NEED the grace of God just as much today as we needed it the day we were saved.  It is in and through our weakest moments that we find the greatest strength.  We will never get it all right and we will never obtain perfection.  And what a liberating thing to realize.  God does not expect us to ever come to him based upon our ability and doesn’t ever expect us to “get it together” and “get it done.”  Listen, it is already done in Jesus!  It is his power, his strength, and his ability that gets it done every day for us and for every mountain that we face.  It is the impossible moments that we face that the grace of Jesus is highlighted brightest in our lives.  It is when we do not depend upon our own doing or our own strength, but his that we are the strongest.  His grace is sufficient in every circumstance and it is motivating for obedience to him.

It means to Give Grace
We grow in grace by giving grace.  When we begin to really realize the grace of Jesus and then live by it then grace begins to flow out of our lives.  People require grace.   People require forgiveness, understanding, patience, prayer, and then more forgiveness...and that's what grace gives...and a lot of it too.  We can not expect, demand, or treat people as if they are perfect. 
We cannot expect from people what God does not expect from us.
They are not perfect and they never will be!  They will fail you, hurt you, anger you, annoy you, ignore you, make fun of you, disrespect you, etc, etc, etc.  People aren’t perfect.  You won’t ever be either. 
So often we demand grace from others but expect perfection from them.  What hypocrisy that is and what a constant state of disappointment we’ll continue live with others.  From the waiter who can’t seem to get our order right, to our spouse’s continual short comings, to our children’s failure to obey, to our church’s inability to satisfy your high expectations.  Giving grace means bearing the burden of other’s imperfections by giving them room to make mistakes with you and patiently helping them improve.
Husbands give grace to you wives.  Wives give grace to your husbands.  Parents give grace to your children.  Children give grace to your parents.  Church members give grace to your pastors.  Pastors give grace to your church members.  Friends give grace to your friends.  Neighbors give grace to your neighbors.  People who get cut off by the driver next to you give grace to the driver who cut you off.  You get the point.  Grow in grace by giving grace to everyone you encounter that isn’t perfect.