Grace is one of the most challenging terms for me to describe. I am sure that I am not the only one that has that struggle as well. Often grace is defined as _________________________. Originally, I was going to provide you with the general description of grace by most Christian scholars, but I felt nudged by God to allow you to search for the definition on your own. After all, who am I to define God’s grace for you? The people who have helped me grow in faith and the knowledge of God’s word were not those who quickly gave me all the answers, but instead pointed in the right direction and let me make my observations. One of my favorite quotes states, “The best teachers are those who show you where to look but don’t tell you what to see.” (Alexander K. Trenfor). I hope to do the same for you as well, to point you in the direction for the answers you seek, and to spur you on for the answers you seek. Therefore, when we are asked to give the reason for our hope and faith (1 Peter 3:15), we can point and lead them in the same direction (always toward Jesus). Below you will find some bible verses to begin your journey in defining what God’s grace is for you. Again, these verses serve only as a starting point, and not a conclusive list. Search and study.
Romans 3:20-24; Ephesians 2:8-9; Ephesians 1:6; John 1:14; James 4:6;
Hebrews 12:15-16; Ephesians 4:7; 2 Cor 8:7; 2 Cor 12:8-9; 2 Peter 1:2; Hebrews 4:16
Once you come to an adequate understanding of grace (your definition is your own, and it is subject to change as you mature in your faith and grace as a believer), you can identify and describe it in the space below and then proceed on to the exercise.
The reason for this exercise is to understand what we must do with the grace given to us by God. In Kyle Idleman’s excellent book on grace, Grace is Greater; he points out that “Grace is only grace if it goes both ways.” Receiving grace from God but not extending it to others, including those who offend and hurt us, isn’t an option if we are to be followers of Jesus. If we want to be forgiven by our heavenly Father, we must also forgive those who offend us (Matthew 6:14).
A few years ago, I was hurt and betrayed by two people I dearly loved. The hurt caused by others’ decisions did not just hurt me; their decisions also brought excruciating pain to some of my loved ones still to this day. The first thing that came to mind was to retaliate for the hurt they caused my family and me. Then a verse was revealed to me one day and it drastically changed my perspective of the pain I was holding. Hebrews 12:15-16 states, “See to it that no one misses the grace of God. And that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many” (NIV). Yes, I will be sincere, those two verses were two gut punches, and I truly wanted a reset button that would allow me to forget that I had ever read them. Trust me, I had to let those verses settle for a few weeks because in my broken heart, and my overwhelmed mind, extending grace to them felt cowardly and weak. Actually, forgiving those who we do not want to forgive is one of the most courageous steps we can take in maturing and becoming more like Jesus. To be true children of the Light (1 Thessalonians 5:5) we must surrender our desire to repay others for their offenses towards us and allow God to settle those debts on our behalf (Romans 12:19).
Spend some time in prayer and stillness with the Lord. If need be, refer to the Prayer of Presence on the inside of the cover of the journal. Ask God to prepare your heart to reveal times when you have received grace from Him or others. On the left side of the cross, list times that you have received the grace of God; On the right side of the cross, list times that you have shown grace to someone despite your desire to do so. Take notice of the times that you have received grace, but choose not extended the same grace to someone else. Ask God to reveal more ways you can share the grace you have received from Him.