Devotions this week based on Sunday’s Message: Compass: GROW in grace and knowledge! (LISTEN HERE)
Grow in grace!
If you’ve been around Christianity for awhile, this phrase, “Grow in grace” is one that is used often. We even have a ministry in our church body of pastoral continuing education called “Grow in Grace.”
While it rolls off the tongue, what does it really mean to GROW in grace?
Certainly it’s more than becoming more graceful in my physical movements. It has to be more than just being more “gracious” in my demeanor and interaction with others.
But what is it?
It may seem like a silly question, but grace is God’s undeserved love for us shown to us through the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. It is the reality that we trust in for salvation. It is God’s gift to us that we have not deserved but is given to us.
So how do you grow in a gift that has already been given to you? It seems like once it has been given, that’s it.
Here’s what the Apostle Peter is getting at when he encourages every believer to “grow in grace.” Increase in your confidence, awareness, and trust in what God has done FOR you.
Grace in it’s essence is what God has done for us.
Unfortunately, grace is perhaps one of the hardest concepts, not necessarily to understand, but one to truly embrace.
Ephesians 2:8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9 not by works, so that no one can boast. 10 For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.
Growth area #1: Let grace be grace. We love to try to feel more secure in our relationship with God by our outward performance. Subconsciously we want God to notice our moments of patience, our acts of kindness, or our participation in worship. Why? Just in case God needs some evidence that we deserve his love. We abandon, so subtly, the confidence of grace to question what else has to be done to secure life with Jesus forever. Our nature is to DO something to earn God’s favor.
Just think when you receive a very nice gift. I just had a birthday. My family gave me two very nice gifts. It was hard for me to just receive them without thinking how much they cost. If I should pay some for them, etc. It is so natural to receive a gift conditionally and self-impose conditions that WE have to do to make ourselves feel better about receiving the gift (which is no longer a gift because no we feel we earned or deserved it!).
There is no need to add to grace our performance…in fact in doing so we negate grace.
There is no need to find a personal boast in receiving God’s gift of salvation…he is happy and desires to fully give it to us…no strings attached and no performance required.
Let grace be grace.
Growth area #2: Let grace motivate performance. Let go of the need to earn God’s favor and just live in grateful response TO God’s favor. Grace is already yours. Now just use that gift to be God’s workmanship and carry out his calling on your life.
Titus 2:11 For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people. 12 It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, 13 while we wait for the blessed hope—the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, 14 who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good.
Let grace motivate a life of grace.
What God has done for us in Christ is simple at the surface, but the depth and impact is a lifetime of growth to understand, appreciate, take to heart, trust, and live. Enjoy the journey of growing in grace!
Apply: What makes it challenging to receive grace without thinking you have to “pay” for it in some way?
Prayer: Lord, thank you for grace. Forgive me for lessening your grace by trying to earn it in some way. Keep me growing in your grace that I might love you more, trust you securely, and live for you more joyfully. AMEN.