Grace Upon Grace

And from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace.  John 1:16

“Grace is simply another word for God’s tumbling, rumbling resevoir of strength and protection.  It comes at us not occasionally or miserly, but constatnly and aggressively, wave upon wave.”  Max Lucado

Grace upon grace.  In Colossians 2 it says that ALL of God, his fullness, was inside of Christ.  Because Christ has God’s fullness, including His deep store of mercy, Jesus can apportion this to us over and over again. It is not man’s grace.  Our grace is conditional.  It is divine grace.  The kind that died for us when we were enemies.  The kind that gave the best, the Son.  The kind that is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine.  The kind that gives us good gifts, all things.

Be quiet!” Jesus said sternly. “Come out of him!” Then the demon threw the man down before them all and came out without injuring him

 Now Simon’s mother-in-law was suffering from a high fever, and they asked Jesus to help her. So he bent over her and rebuked the fever, and it left her

“I must preach the good news of the kingdom of God to the other towns also, because that is why I was sent.”  (Selections from Luke 4)

These three selections from Luke 4 illustrate how Jesus went about distributing grace upon grace.  Grace that can overcome any kind of evil.  Grace that help us with our physical challenges.  Grace that is good news for our spiritual poverty.

Or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, tolerance and patience, not realizing that God’s kindness leads you toward repentance?  Romans 2:5

What will I do with this grace?  Will it soften my heart?  Will it give me hope through the dark times?  Will I remember it at all, or will I be consumed by negative circumstances or self righteousness?

I will give them an undivided heart and put a new spirit in them; I’ll remove their stubborn heart and give them a heart that’s sensitive to me.  Eze 11:19 ISV

I have done quiet times lately on what it means to have a  hard heart.  I see how my own heart is stubbornly independent.  The only solution is for God to give us a new heart.  That is his grace, not that we could do right or be right on our own, but that he would come and make us right, in spite of our shortcomings.  And this heart will be tender and responsive to him.

That is what the Spirit gives me, the ability to be softened, not hardened, when I am surrounded by fears and failings, up in arms with self righteousness, strapped by irritability, hurt, hopeless, discouraged.  The ability to be quiet and listen to God instead of go off on my own rant and pursue my own solution.  The ability to resonate with God, be in harmony with him, when I hear Him.

Grace upon grace.  Kisses from God that melt my craggy heart.  I need to overflow with gratitude as I recognize all the ways he is working, wave after wave of his love acting in the world around me.   This is my only hope of being transformed.  Just trying to be good won’t do it.

 

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