The Gift of Grace

I currently find myself on a journey that is leading me to dig deeper into the concept of grace. I thought I might invite you to walk with me for a few moments in hopes that you, too, might want to join me on this journey. I don’t have all the answers; I don’t even know all the questions. What I do know is that this journey into grace continues to change me–my thoughts, my perspective, my heart. Grace continues to open my heart to forgiveness, my eyes to understanding, and my spirit to increased hope. It gently offers me greater self-acceptance and releases me from the bonds of self-protection and the need for control. It sweetly instills in me a sense of joy and absorbs me into extended moments of peace. The grace I receive persistently prompts me to extend grace and mercy to others, leading me to greater levels of compassion and compelling me to serve.
What is this gift of grace and what must I do to receive it? Ephesians 2:8 says, “For by grace you have been saved
through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God” (NASB, 1995). God’s gift of grace is available to us
through his son, Jesus Christ. We have been given a perfect and very personal gift. “There has been born for you a
Savior, who is Christ the Lord” (Luke 2:11, NASB). We can accept this gift that has the power to save us. Through
admitting that we are sinners, asking Jesus for forgiveness, believing that He died on the cross and rose again as a
payment for our sins, and confessing that God is Lord of our lives, we can be saved!
God does not stop there in providing us with the gift of salvation through Jesus Christ. He continues to provide
grace which sustains us, cleanses us, heals us, sanctifies us, and makes us whole. This grace serves as the conduit
through which forgiveness flows, mercy is made possible, peace is provided, hope is restored, joy is renewed, and
wisdom is instilled. Through God’s grace, Jesus “meets us at our point of need, and equips us with courage,
wisdom, and strength” (Lucado, p. 98).
Herein lies the challenge—accepting this free gift of saving and sustaining grace. It is so easy to become caught up
in “doing” to receive acceptance, placing value on our own accomplishments and abilities, forgetting that there is
nothing we can do to earn this gift or God’s continued love. The result? Exhaustion. According to Max Lucado
(2014) in his book entitled Grace: More than we deserve, greater than we imagine, those of us who continually try
to earn grace are “the weariest people on earth” (p. 49). He goes on to say, “Does He (God) build a bridge and
command you to cross it? No. He crosses the bridge and shoulders you over.” (p. 151). All He wants from us is our
faith in accepting His gift of grace.

(n.d.). A searchable online Bible in over 150 versions and 50 languages.
Lucado, M. (2014). Grace: More than we deserve, greater than we imagine. Thomas Nelson.
The concept of grace is getting increased attention in psychology journals and is being described as a less
frequently explored virtue. It is also being associated with positive mental health outcomes and adaptive
interpersonal functioning. Researchers are examining displays of grace from one person to another and
determining the merit of grace as a virtue independent from other virtues. I agree with Lucado when he says,
“Sequence matters” (p. 61). Grace starts with receiving. God’s grace is abundant and continual for those who allow
the work of God in their lives. It is out of this abundance that we can show grace to others. More on this and the
impact of grace on our relationships in September.

Mickey Jensen

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