But Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD. 📖 Genesis 6.8 KJV
Grace is more than something that we receive or extend — grace is also a perspective.
While attending a d4 discipleship conference a few years ago, Lionshare founder Dave Buehring presented a simple yet profound illustration of grace that really stirred my heart and mind.
If you’ve been a Christian for a while, you’ve probably heard a lot about grace. Yet as often as we hear about it, applying and living it out in everyday experiences is another matter.
The image of God that you keep in your heart and mind affects your everyday life. – Dave Buehring
This image of God or perspective that we carry about Him literally affects everything that I do. It becomes the lens through which we view all of life affecting the outcome, big or small, of all that we do.
The Bible first mentions grace in Genesis 6.8 when the writer says that Noah found grace (also rendered as “favor” in some translations) with God during a time when chaos ruled the Earth.
Although this is the first time grace is mentioned in scripture, we see it playing out much earlier when Adam and Eve committed the first sin [among mankind]. God, as an act of grace, extended His provision to Adam and Eve (Genesis 3.21) even as the curse of their consequences began to unfold on the Earth.
When was the last time that you extended grace to someone even while having to also administer the punishment and consequences? The remarkable thing about grace is that it’s extended to us despite what we’ve done or what we deserve.
Grace can simply be defined as God’s unmerited (unearned) favor towards His creation (us). Grace is getting what we don’t deserve and have not earned.
Grace is God stepping into our circumstances to intervene on our behalf (A Discipleship Journey).
This perspective of grace can help us to cultivate a posture that produces a grateful heart. You see, grace is a two-way street — there is always a giver and receiver.
As freely as we’ve received grace (from Christ), we should also freely extend it; especially in the moments that we don’t really want to or when someone has committed a wrong against us.
As I know I have, oftentimes we reject God’s grace by rejecting His way of doing things, His timing, call to obedience, and ultimately His help and strength.
Accepting God’s Strength
I’ve grown to accept that there are certain things that I cannot do on my own strength. And even the things that I am able to do “on my own,” I humbly acknowledge God’s provision that allows me to do that, physically, monetarily, emotionally, etc.
I’ve learned that doing things on my own (my own way and my own timing) often isn’t pretty or peaceful. Life is never perfect, but what I’ve gleaned from all of this is that God’s way just works! Contrary to our fast-paced, “go get it” lifestyles today, even God’s timing is right [and perfect].
A follower of Jesus yields all their rights and understands that the grace extended to us by God is never something that we can earn or even deserve. In other words, nothing that I have do I deserve — so I’m grateful for everything.
Grace In Action
Imagine, for a moment… Missing a deadline that could cost you your job. Imagine losing a carelessly placed family heirloom so valuable that it devastated you. Imagine not studying for an exam that will probably cause you to fail the course. Imagine being in the wrong place at the wrong time and the consequences of that decision potentially altering the course of your life as it flashes before your eyes.
Enter grace… Now imagine that deadline on the job getting extended (and you keep your job). Imagine a stranger returning that precious family heirloom that you thought was lost forever. Imagine that exam you didn’t study for getting rescheduled at the last minute. Imagine you escaping that wrong place wrong time situation and safely returning home.
That… Is a feeling of relief, brought to us by grace, that we’ve all experienced at some point. It produces an aroma of gratefulness knowing [and acknowledging] that we’re getting something different and something better than what was coming to us [and probably what we deserved].
Imagine that feeling in the moment of being so grateful for not getting the consequences of what was coming to you.
A Grateful Heart
It’s hard to sadden, anger, or guilt someone with a grateful heart that is too busy appreciating every minute of what they know that they don’t deserve.
I can’t help but be happy knowing that everything that I have is a plus because I don’t deserve any of it.
My life as a sinner, the things I’ve done, the loved ones and opportunities that I’ve been blessed with — I knowingly don’t deserve any of it.
People with near-death experiences often find themselves with a renewed sense of being centered around a grateful heart knowing that every minute since their near death, they didn’t deserve, and was not promised to them, and are thus grateful for life.
Striving to live in a perpetual state of gratefulness (every day) doesn’t mean that we’re immune to emotion, circumstance, or ‘life sucks’ moments. Because we will experience that.
Gratefulness In Grace
Living in gratefulness under grace means not dwelling in the ‘life sucks’ moments. It means acknowledging how we feel but choosing a posture of gratitude (1 Thessalonians 5.18).
The Apostle Paul told the people of Philippi that he had learned to be content in whatever the circumstances (Philippians 4.10-13).
As for me, I don’t want loved ones and opportunities to have to be taken away in order to remind me of the grace that I am afforded each day.
Although challenging at times, I’ve purposed in my heart to live gratefully in all that I do. For therein lies a source of happiness that no one can steal — a truly grateful heart!