Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Demonstration, please

For God saved us and called us to live a holy life. He did this, not because we deserved it, but because that was his plan from before the beginning of time—to show us his grace through Christ Jesus. (2 Timothy 1:9 NLT)
You have probably heard it said that actions speak louder than a thousand words, right? Well, let me also tell you that grace is only truly understood in action - there are just no words to really describe grace. It is undeserved - unmerited favor. It is demonstrated love.
It is the kind of demonstrated love that reached out to the one with leprosy, whose body was marked by missing fingers and toes, scarred with untold sores, and a "stigma" society placed upon them as "unclean" and "rejected".
It is the kind of demonstrated love that takes notice of the small man perched in a tree, while attempting to catch even a glimpse of the "great teacher", while countless others overlook him because he is not of "great stature".
It is the kind of demonstrated love that recognizes the one whose disease plagues her body while making it almost impossible for her to press through the crowds, but whose determined hope in what others may see as "impossible" pressed her onward until she touched just the hem of his garment.
It is the kind of demonstrated love that opened the eyes of the one born blind, left to beg day after day for his very subsistence, humbled to the point of being labeled an "outcast" by those who saw his "imperfection" as a sign of judgment upon his life for some sin.
Grace isn't understood in the mind - it is understood and embraced in the heart. It is "known" in ways we almost cannot put into words, but it has actions all its own. Actions such as liberation of a ravaged body, restoration of a hurting spirit, or release of an anguished soul. Grace isn't emotional, but it touches the depths of our emotions. It isn't mental, but it sets in order that which confounds, confuses, and condemns the soul. 
It may not mean much to some, but to one whose life has been set free by the embrace of grace - it means labels falling away, status changing, and renewed hope refilling the empty spaces of one's life. Grace is "shown" - not just "known". It is "embraced" - not just given. It is "transforming" - not just a nice addition to our lives. It is demonstrated love - meaning it is revealed in actions on our behalf.
We may not fully understand grace in this lifetime, but we can be embraced in the richness of God's love revealed in the actions of grace - undeserved, unmerited love when our actions or condition probably deserved something quite the opposite of what is being demonstrated toward us. Grace isn't a "thing" - it is the demonstration of God's great love for each of us - even before we know we need the embrace of his love - he demonstrates his love toward us! 
Grace isn't just offered - it is demonstrated - not around us, but in us and through us. Love isn't known until it is fully shown - grace is God's love in action - it is his "show" of what it is he wants us to "know". Just sayin!