As you might have noticed, God has been tugging on my heart A LOT lately about grace. Ironically, the following post was a discussion board prompt I submitted dealing with grace-centered vs. law-centered living and ministry last week… It has been “edited” a bit for bloggity-ness, but hope it gets your wheels a-turning! ~SGK
“He’s still working on me… to make me what I ought to be. It took him just a week to make the moon and the stars, the Sun and the Earth and Jupiter and Mars. How loving and patient He must be… ’Cause He’s still workin’ on me.”
I grew up listening to this song via cassette tape, and as I was reflecting on this prompt, I realized that my grace-based living is a direct result of God’s grace and continual work on both my heart and ministry. Don’t get me wrong—I do believe there is a place for law in this world, living by the Ten Commandments for example, but I am in no way in a position to enforce that law or judge someone because of their choices. A sin is a sin and let’s be honest, we are all pretty big ol’ sinners.
For many years I have “ unofficially” ministered people through the challenges of life by providing impromptu pep talks, support and love. As I have grown closer to Christ over time and recently realized my call to ministry, I know that grace-based living is a must for myself as a Christian. I have just started an internship at Christ Community Church under an incredible SERVE director. Part of my (future) responsibility includes presenting and coaching people to discover their Spiritual gifts. In that process we talk about “Life Experiences,” and I know I can’t judge them for what they have done or where they have been. I am not the rule enforcer. I can, however, speak the truth in love, offering guidance on the law, yet still extend to them the same grace God has so graciously given me. As it says in Romans 6:14 “For sin shall not be your master, because you are not under law, but under grace.” That is powerful reassurance for my choice of grace-based living. Can I get an AMEN?
Grace-based living has a significant impact on my relationship with God and others. Not only am I attempting to model my life after Christ (I fall short ALL the time) but I am also praying for those I am serving to extend grace to me when I make a mistake or fall into sin. Living “gracefully” opens more doors to spread the Good News. God’s grace is free and undeserved—so why should my grace on others be any different? Being a Christian isn’t about checking things off of a To Do list via laws, rules and regulations. Rather it is holding ourselves to a Christ-like standard, and embracing God’s Amazing Grace whenever we (and others) fall to sin.
One of the most positive aspects of grace-centered living focuses on my leadership expectations of others and myself. It allows me to revel in God’s grace and attempt to grasp this extraordinarily generous and vast concept. By doing so, my heart can be filled with the sincerest of passion, love and words to share with others about this free and wondrous gift that is available to them as well. Centering my life and ministry on grace boosts my credibility and relational capacity with others… we are all sinners, in the same boat, praying to have faith to walk on water towards the ultimate, heavenly, graceful judge in Jesus Christ.
So yes, He is still working on me. I am a wretch, once lost and now found, and it is all because of his amazing, remarkable, generous grace. I pray that my ministry will flow by his graceful means, extending it to others that I lead. My strength for grace-based living is said well in Galatians 2:21… “I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing!”
Daily Deliberation: In what ways has God extended Grace to you today? Do you believe you show grace to others at the desired level? How can you continue to grow your ability to extend grace?
By His Grace,
“Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world. but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is– his good, pleasing and perfect will. For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather thing of yourself with sober judgement, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you.” — Romans 12:2-3