Skip to main content

The value of the gift

Talk and act like a person expecting to be judged by the Rule that sets us free. For if you refuse to act kindly, you can hardly expect to be treated kindly. Kind mercy wins over harsh judgment every time. (James 2:12-13)

It took me a long, long time to realize my 'talk' and 'walk' had to be the same - talking is much easier than walking! Walking is riddled with all kinds of potholes and 'unevenness', isn't it? We go up and down, in and out, running hot and cold. This whole 'business' of loving others as you love yourself seemed to be a little contradictory because 'self' gets us all into a lot of trouble at times, doesn't it? The reality is that we must learn to walk in grace. It begins by allowing grace to show us how to be kind to others when they don't deserve kindness - isn't that the way we would want them to treat us? We must not allow the harshness of 'immediate reactions' to come through, but how on earth do we do that when someone just disappointed us, made our life a little miserable, or created a whole lot of drama we now have to deal with? Here comes that 'grace' word again - learning how to 'live out grace' instead of just talking about it is what God is after in our lives.

If Jesus had just sat up in heaven and talked with his Father about grace, would sin have been dealt with in our lives? Nope...he had to walk the talk! He put it all on the line - showing us what grace actually means. Grace isn't earned - we have already established that many times in our lessons together. Grace isn't a 'thing', but the extension of a person - Jesus Christ living and breathing inside of each of us. Grace is actionable, but it is more than action - it is attitude - inward character built up each and every day by spending time with Jesus. The 'rule' that set us free was grace - now God calls for us to let grace 'rule' in our lives. Kind mercy - not harsh judgment. It may escape us on occasion to know exactly 'how' to extend kindness, but if we have spent that time with Jesus 'up front' in our daily walk, the ability to act kindly is a whole lot easier (even when the 'jerk' doesn't deserve it).

I struggle with this a whole lot, so I am not preaching 'at you'. I am challenged to respond with kindness when all I want to do is 'read someone the riot act'. I know what it is like to say I believe grace should be extended and then turn around and be as 'ungraceful' as possible. Lest you think I have 'arrived' at this 'perfect walk' with Christ - think again! It is a daily recommitment to allow God's grace to rule in my life (in reality it is a moment-by-moment kind of thing). What I do know is that God helps as I ask for help. Learning to walk the talk might just begin with the simplest of steps - asking for his help! Not once, but time and time again until the 'walk' begins to 'stick'. Grace isn't always as easy to give as it is to receive, but in giving it we learn the value of the gift! Just sayin!

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

What did obedience cost Mary and Joseph?

As we have looked at the birth of Christ, we have considered the fact he was born of a virgin, with an earthly father so willing to honor God with his life that he married a woman who was already pregnant.  In that day and time, a very taboo thing.  We also saw how the mother of Christ was chosen by God and given the dramatic news that she would carry the Son of God.  Imagine her awe, but also see her tremendous amount of fear as she would have received this announcement, knowing all she knew about the time in which she lived about how a woman out of wedlock showing up pregnant would be treated.  We also explored the lowly birth of Jesus in a stable of sorts, surrounded by animals, visited by shepherds, and then honored by magi from afar.  The announcement of his birth was by angels - start to finish.  Mary heard from an angel (a messenger from God), while Joseph was set at ease by a messenger from God on another occasion - assuring him the thing he was about to do in marrying Mary wa

A brilliant display indeed

Love from the center of who you are ; don’t fake it. Run for dear life from evil; hold on for dear life to good. Be good friends who love deeply ; practice playing second fiddle. Don’t burn out; keep yourselves fueled and aflame. Be alert servants of the Master, cheerfully expectant. Don’t quit in hard times; pray all the harder. (Romans 12:9-12) Integrity and Intensity don't seem to fit together all that well, but they are uniquely interwoven traits which actually complement each other. "Love from the center of who you are; don't fake it." God asks for us to have some intensity (fervor) in how we love (from the center of who we are), but he also expects us to have integrity in our love as he asks us to be real in our love (don't fake it). They are indeed integral to each other. At first, we may only think of integrity as honesty - some adherence to a moral code within. I believe there is a little more to integrity than meets the eye. In the most literal sense,

The bobby pin in the electrical socket does what???

Avoidance is the act of staying away from something - usually because it brings some kind of negative effect into your life.  For example, if you are a diabetic, you avoid the intake of high quantities of simple sugars because they bring the negative effect of elevating your blood glucose to unhealthy levels.  If you were like me as a kid, listening to mom and dad tell you the electrical outlets were actually dangerous didn't matter all that much until you put the bobby pin into the tiny slots and felt that jolt of electric current course through your body! At that point, you recognized electricity as having a "dangerous" side to it - it produces negative effects when embraced in a wrong manner.  Both of these are good things, when used correctly.  Sugar has a benefit of producing energy within our cells, but an over-abundance of it will have a bad effect.  Electricity lights our path and keeps us warm on cold nights, but not contained as it should be and it can produce