What does grace mean to you? When you think of grace, do you think of the opposite of discipline? Is it grace to release a child from rightful punishment?
According to Scripture grace is actually far more than getting out of a deserved punishment. It does begin there, but grace is part of the character of our holy and righteous God. Within His character He holds the crux of where grace and truth intersect, where judgement and forgiveness meet.
Those of us who have surrendered to the Lord and follow Him, are called to grow in our intimacy of knowledge with Him. Practicing grace is how we can begin to grow in that intimacy and thus live out of the healing that that provides.
Practicing grace is done in the very details of our everyday life. Right here in the joys and trials of our day, in the small things and hard things alike, that is where we can weave in the grace practices that fill our soul and draw us nearer to the Lord.
The Lord has been teaching me five practices with the acronym GRACE, thus “grace practices.” I will be looking closer at each of these on Tuesdays this month. Join me!
Examining the Scriptures is one grace practice that we can incorporate into our day. When we take time to sit at His feet and let His word speak into our day; then we begin to tend our way by His word and live out the grace we receive.
Tending our way by the word first requires us to make the time and take the time to be still and ask for Him to open our understanding, as we see in Psalm 119:18. We must not separate the word of God from the warm breath of God. He breathed the word by His Spirit, so we must talk to Him and allow the word to speak to us.
I prayerfully choose a book of the Bible to read through. Remaining in the same book from start to finish helps build the context to help us better understand the true meaning of the passage. Starting in chapter 1, verse 1 of the chosen book, every morning I take just a small portion that I will dig into.
Then I begin examining the text. Right now I have been in the book of Malachi for a couple weeks. Today I came to chapter 3 verses 1-4. I wrote down the main facts in each of those verses in my journal, paying attention to who is doing the talking and the responding here. I answer the question, what does the text say?
I then ask the Lord to help me narrow down the spiritual lessons being taught. What was the original reader/hearer being taught here? Most often we learn something about God. What does this passage say about His character? I often ask the Lord to show me what is being highlighted in the text. Is there a sin to confess, a promise to claim, a command to obey, and example to follow? I write down the spiritual lesson being taught next to the facts for each verse in my journal.
Finally, I ask the Lord how I am to respond. How can I do what it is saying here? That is when I pray, repent, confess or even write down the exact action I sense the Lord is asking of me. Apologize to someone or serve someone today or repent for a sin. Whatever the action is, the Lord is faithful to show me, even if I don’t immediately like it or even want to do it. I remain in my time with Him asking for the strength to obey with joy and He is faithful to give it.
This simple grace practice is just one of the ways the Lord has been teaching me to draw nearer to Him. God is gracious enough to remind me of the verses and lessons He taught me in the morning throughout my day and it helps me to remember to walk in grace and truth for His glory.