Sunday, January 18, 2015

Grow in Grace

"But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen."
2 Peter 3:18

"...grow in grace,...."  
How do you do that?  
I've been pondering this for a few days now.  
How do you grow in grace?

To help me better understand this verse, I looked up the words "grow" and "grace" in the Concordance.

The Greek word for grow means "to increase."  Makes sense.

The Greek word for grace means:  (bear with me, this is detailed)

graciousness (as gratifying), of manner or act (abstract or concrete; literal, figurative or spiritual; especially the divine influence upon the heart, and its reflection in the life; including gratitude): - acceptable, benefit, favour, gift, grace (- ious), joy, liberality, please, thank(-s, worthy).

1.  grace - that which affords joy, pleasure, delight, sweetness, charm, loveliness: grace of speech.
2.  good will, loving-kindness, favour - of the merciful kindness by which God, exerting his holy influence upon souls, turns them to Christ, keeps, strengthens, increases them in Christian faith, knowledge, affection, and kindles them to the exercise of the Christian virtues
3.  what is due to grace - the spiritual condition of one governed by the power of divine grace; the token or proof of grace, benefit - a gift of grace; benefit, bounty.
4.  thanks, (for benefits, services, favours), recompense, reward.

OK, now - Donna's condensed version - To grow in grace is to increase in God's divine influence upon my heart, and its reflection in my life.  To grow in grace is to increase in the merciful kindness by which God, exerting his holy influence upon my soul, turns me to Christ, keeps, strengthens, and increases me in Christian faith, knowledge, affection, and kindles (to start a fire; begin to burn; to glow or cause to glow; arouse, excites) me to the exercise of the Christian virtues.

Grace, simply put then, is His divine influence on my life, that causes me to turn to Him and excites in me a passion to walk out His laws while enabling me to do that; it causes me to be a reflection of Him to the world.

So, what causes me to grow in that grace?  
What enables me to grow in that grace?   

But the beginning point is - I have to want to see that grace operating in my life.  I have to want to see it, acknowledge it and respond to it in order to grow, in order to increase in the operation of His grace upon my life every day - moment by moment.  I'm actually blind to it if I really don't want it.

I want to give you an illustration that I hope will help you to understand what I'm trying to convey.
For those of you who have read my blogs on grace, you've "heard" me say that God has exploded this word grace and grace-needs in my life since the end of December.  I am seeking to walk this out in my daily life and as I attempt to, I hear, at certain times of struggle, "you have grace for this."  The Holy Spirit has made me so much more aware of the power of grace in my life.

Well, one night last week I was supposed to meet a friend for dinner.  All day I kept sensing off and on that this wasn't going to happen.  Late afternoon, I thought about calling her to make sure we were still meeting, but then I realized I didn't have her cell phone number or her work number, then thought, she's really good about this; I'm sure she'll be there.

Truth be known, I didn't really want to go back out because it was snowing and cold outside and I had lots to do at home, but I left on time to meet her.  Leaving my driveway, I kept thinking, she's not going to be there.  The roads were very slippery and at one point, I truly thought I would be hit by not one car, but two, when I started sliding through an intersection.  God's grace stopped my car.

Then all the way to the restaurant I'm thinking, if she's not there, I am going to be so mad!"  Well, she wasn't there!  After calling to confirm that she was indeed on her way home, I left the restaurant and went home.  All the way home, I am grumbling about the fact that I had gone out and she wasn't there, I almost got killed, the roads were slippery, wa-wa-wa-wa-wa-wa!!!!!

And this small voice kept saying to me, "you have grace for this!"  I didn't want grace for this, I wanted to be mad!!  I wanted her to know what I had gone through to get there and she didn't even show up!!  Yes, before I got home, I surrendered to the Lord's "divine influence" that caused me to turn to Him, and surrendered - my heart, my will and my right to be mad.

I began to "see" that it was the Holy Spirit nagging me all day long and if I had been willing to listen, I could have found a way to get in touch with her.  I also began to see that I have to want to "see" His grace made available to me through His still, small voice.  Then I have to choose to walk in that grace.  If I really don't want the grace, if I want my own way, then I won't "see" it.  I had to choose to surrender and when I did, His grace was there. I knew that I would not tell her about my troubles on the road that night.  That was my flesh wanting her to feel bad that she had put me to such trouble. That was my flesh wanting her to pay for her oversight.  But when His grace "showed up" somehow that wasn't important anymore.

"Your eyes are windows into your body.  
If you open your eyes wide in wonder and belief, 
your body fills up with light. 
If you live squinty-eyed in greed and distrust, 
your body is a dank cellar.  
If you pull the blinds on your windows, 
what a dark life you will have!"
Matthew 6:22-23 (Message Bible)

When I "heard" the voice of the Spirit, I had a choice to make, but I actually didn't have a choice to make; if you understand what I mean??  If I want God's grace as a fountain continually pouring over my life, I need to respond each time the Holy Spirit speaks to me and reach out for that grace.

THAT'S how you grow in grace!!

Each time you respond to the voice of the Spirit, it builds on the foundation for the next time and the next time and the next time.

God increases our capacity to hear Him, to see Him and to respond to Him.
But, you have to want to see the grace before you can appropriate it.

Lord, tune my senses to see Your grace.
You give grace upon grace upon grace.
Open my eyes that I might see!

No comments:

Post a Comment