Grace and Gratitude
Imagine a family riding in a boat powered by an outboard motor. That’s a picture of the church. The boat (grace) keeps the family afloat, and the motor (gratitude) powers them across the water. Let’s first reflect on grace.
Grace is undeserved favor with a transforming purpose. Suppose I intentionally ruin the paint job on my neighbor’s car. He saw me do it. He was watching me through his bedroom window. Imagine I find myself in a financial bind. I knock on his door to see if he can loan me one hundred dollars. I make my shameless request. He pulls five twenties from his wallet. He says, “I’m not going to loan you the money. I’m going to give it to you.” That’s grace in twenties! I won’t damage his car again.
You’ve done untold damage to God’s purposes and to other people created in His image. We all have. Nevertheless, God actively pursues blessing you through His Son, Jesus Christ (Luke 15:1–7). By God’s undeserved favor through your trust in the sufficiency of Christ’s sacrifice on the cross in your place, He forgives your sins. He then expects you’ll forgive others who have offended you (Matthew 6:14–15) and live for Jesus who died for you (1 Corinthians 6:19–20). If you’re not becoming more like Jesus, you should rightly question whether you’re under God’s grace or His judgment.
Grace is the ultimate shape-shifter. It takes the form of your needs. God’s grace fixes everything, but it functions in harmony with His sovereign will. It was on display through Jesus’ life. Emotional, physical and spiritual problems dissolved as grace flowed through Him.
Grace is more about fixing you than fixing your problems. Your biggest problem is the gap between your character and Jesus. Fixing you means making you more like Him (Romans 8:29). Do you need the right words to speak to someone who is hurting? Do you need wisdom to make an important decision? Do you need courage to live against the prevailing ungodly current of life? Whatever you need today consistent with God’s will, His grace will supply.
Gratitude changes how you think, feel and behave. Gratitude springs from recognizing that God constantly gives you what you don’t deserve. A Chambersburg, PA wrestler once volunteered to forfeit a wrestling match to an injured opponent. He did that so the injured wrestler could win his 100th career match instead of graduating from high school with 99 wins. The wrestler who received that gift should have overflowed with gratitude. How much more should we because of all God does for us!
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