Lifestyle · Love Life & Literature

Grace Upon Grace

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This is an installment of our series, Love Life & Literature: Romance in Real Life. In this series, we (myself and Meghan) will be delving into the ups, downs, frustrations, butterflies, and everything in between as career women who love romance, but are still searching in a world that isn’t all Mr. Darcy’s and Prince Charming’s.

Grace, n. undeserved, unmerited, unearned favor

It has become a popular trend at the beginning of the year for authors, bloggers, and a handful of people on social media to choose a word for the year to exemplify daily in their lives. I adored this idea when I first heard of it but I couldn’t think of a word that stuck with me.

Until I talked to one of my friends.

During my first year of college, I met one of my closest friends. We spend hours talking about God, life, relationships, and our struggles—I’ve learned more about myself and those topics during these conversations than I ever had in my entire life. Not long ago, my friend was struggling in some areas of their life and after many cancelled plans, they had texted me saying something along the lines of, “Sorry, I just need a lot of grace right now.”

That hit me hard.

I’m quite impatient and have a tendency to get frustrated easily—something I desperately need to work on—and will respond to people with short answers when things don’t go how I want them to. I realized that because of these faults, I struggle in giving people the grace they deserve; and so, because of this friend’s plea for grace, I decided to apply the word to my life.

I’d first like to point some passages in the Bible that have guided me in this area. I went to BibleGateway to find verses and read them in context but I was astounded by how many times the word appeared—especially in Paul’s letters to the church. Grace is a topic that appears all too often throughout the New Testament and yet it’s not a topic I usually see being studied by Christians to apply in our own lives, which is one of the reasons I wanted to write about it.

One of my favorite passages is in John 1: 14-17 (ESV)—

And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. (John bore witness about him, and cried out, “This was he of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me ranks before me, because He was before me.’”) For from His fullness we have all received, grace upon graceFor the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.

First off, Christ is the benefactor of grace. When He died on the cross for our sins, we were given grace upon grace upon grace. He guaranteed that no matter how many times we screw up, no matter how many times we fall short, He’d continue to give us grace. Every day, we wake up and God knows we’re going to make mistakes but He’s still okay with us anyway. He ensures that our mistakes don’t define us. God doesn’t look at our faults, He doesn’t look at our actions, but rather brushes that all to the side and opens His arms to us saying, “It may not make sense but this is GRACE.”

In Romans, Paul states:

“So too at the present time there is a remnant, chosen by grace. But if it is by grace, it is no longer on the basis of works; otherwise grace would no longer be grace (Romans 11: 5-6 ESV).

Paul was originally talking about Israel rejecting the gospel and how God would still not cast them away, but I’d like to apply this to my topic. God doesn’t look at the number of good or bad things we do to consider whether or not we’re worthy of salvation, He looks at the grace His Son provided and bestowed upon us all when He died on the cross for our sins.

What can we learn from those two passages?

We need to stop acting out of irritation and anger, even in the smallest of situations. Something as simple as honking our horns or thinking cruel thoughts can taint our days. People will upset us. People will try our patience. People will cause us pain. Yet, in the midst of all this, when we mimic God’s grace our (and their) lives will be changed. If we look to God and say, “Hey. This person’s actions are upsetting me, please help me imitate the grace you’ve given to me because I want to be Your light and have them see You through me,” we will feel so much better about ourselves instead of acting in anger and spite. Additionally, these people will be taken aback by the fact that we’re acting differently than they expect and will hopefully be positively influenced by our actions.

Why would we want to make someone feel bad about themselves by acting out of spite rather than filling them up with the love and grace that God gave us to share?

And even moreso, there’s the reality that we should be giving ourselves grace just as we are giving it to others. Over and over again, more times than I can count, I beat myself up daily over the smallest things—I stumbled over my sentences, forgot to rinse off my dish, couldn’t put my change away fast enough—and I make myself feel worthless because of it. Then, I have to stop and remind myself that I’m human and I make mistakes. I’m never going to be perfect and so I’m going to have to give myself grace because I mess up just as everyone else does.

Just the same, we all sin and fall short of the glory of God. Unfortunately we’re never going to reach His level of goodness for as long as we’re on this earth and so we’re going to sin and do terrible things; because we are given grace doesn’t mean we can excuse these things but rather that we can rest in knowing that God forgives us and loves us despite our failings.

How beautiful is that?

And just to close, I came across this verse that I absolutely adore!

1 Peter 4:8-11 (ESV)—Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling. Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms. If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God. If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. 

My mission for you this week is to think before you act. Are the words you saying or the things you’re doing being derived from grace? Try your best to be gracious to those around you. It will be incredibly hard, but you can do it!

***

Meghan and I will be taking turns every Friday, talking about Love Life & Literature!  Keep an eye out for her blog post at www.northernbellemeg.com next Friday! Until then, read her post from last week: Don’t Judge a Book by its Cover {or a Guy}.

Follow us on social media to keep in touch!

      Meghan                    Rachael

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