Friday, April 7, 2017

Is God's Grace enough to change us?

Dear friend,

This was written by another writer on her blog about 3 years ago and as it is a topic I feel passionate about, I wrote quite a long comment today on it that I would like to share with you here. I will post my comment after her post. For privacy reasons, I will not disclose her identity.

"this hit home today..............  i mean i know this.  once you accept Jesus Christ as your Saviour, you love Him so much, you want to Glorify His name through your life. but then "life" gets in the way, and before you know it, you look just like the world again...........
 if you cannot see the Grace in someone's life, then they probably have not yet asked for it or accepted it when it was Offered.  we all fall into sin sometimes (and if you are like me - a lot of times!!)  when we have received Grace, however, we can recognize it and not be enslaved by it - or literally be held captive by it.  we will ask the Lord to free us from it and to transform us into what He desires us to be..........this is not an overnight process and it normally hurts something awful............ but what if Blessings come like rain and through tears?  i see people whose hearts are so hard and who are so unforgiving and mean - it makes me so sad.  it makes me want to hug them and tell them that Jesus died for them too - yes, in our current, sinful state, He died for us.  you cannot be happy when you are always looking for ways to hurt others or do mean and spiteful and ugly things.......  it shows on your face, your life and in your ways...........
let Him change you - He is Grace.  let Him touch your heart.
and remember - a message to those of us who claim to be changed and saved by Grace - we need to be accountable to each other and tell each other when we see one another falling into sin............ i know that i appreciate it every time someone corrects me in Love............only through that kind of love can one grow into who He wants us to be.  day by day, step by step..............
all only for His Glory!!
Charles Spurgeon said it well: "The grace that does not change my life will not save my soul.""

My response to this was:

I don't know how I got to this post, but here I am. I love this post and absolutely agree with it. The meaning of my name is "Grace". I am all for it and passionately desire to show grace to others. I believe the names that God gives us, is also a prophetic blessing of who we are suppose to be an what we are suppose to accomplish for Him in this world. 

In the same spirit of this day where all South Africans across cultural divide came together to stand for what is right and good and honorable, despite their differences, I am reaching out to a fellow sister in Christ once again. 

When God calls us to be His light in a dark world, He also wants us to be unified as one Body in Christ. That means we need to have grace also for our fellow believers. We absolutely passionately have to on purpose love each other. 

My question to you, is should one sister in Christ not also have grace for another sister in Christ?

 Is it even possible that two strangers can find common ground and isn't that common ground suppose to be the Lord they both profess to love so passionately? Isn't it enough to spark a friendship? Are we not suppose to give each other the benefit of the doubt even if we misunderstood some things or didn't have all the facts or see the full picture that is a life given by God with all its ups and downs and lessons and change and challenges and pain and growth? Does the things of this world, money, business, work, interests, hobbies, stuff, have that much power over us that we cannot see past it, to see someone's heart...too see someone reaching out? Why do we then sometimes feel we need to shut a door, walk away, not give grace? I tell you is because we are all..even when we are in Him and He is in us and with us...still a little bit broken. And then I hear Him say: give me your heart of stone and I will give you a new one...a heart of flesh that feels again. Christ will never unfriend us, or exclude us or dismiss us or misunderstand us. He died for us...paid the ultimate price for us. He is GRACE. He is what we need all the time to give others grace. 

I have a big big big issue with Christians not being able to find this common ground. I seem to have a "thing" about it...blessed with a burden for it...and just maybe because it bothers me so much, God wants me to speak out about it...remind others in love to think again...sit up and take note of it...this "thing" between believers not being able to show grace for each other. We seem to be able to preach it. To give that grace to the broken world but not the broken pieces in our fellow believers. 

We are all cracked pots of clay and the only difference between us and the world, is that we stand under forgiveness and we have accepted it. I accept I will not be included by this world. I however have still a little bit of a struggle with not receiving grace or kindness from fellow believers. I'm getting there however...accepting it, I mean. Call me old fashioned or weird, but I thought if I was part of God's family that made His family also my family and that is also where grace and love should start...and then overflow to the world. 

On the 25th of November 2016 I wrote a letter to a fellow sister in Christ and I opened my heart to her and with honesty and care I took the time to be open and gave her an opportunity to get to know more about me and she shut me down. Her response was harsh and had no grace in it. I felt a dagger go through my already bruised heart because she dismissed my efforts, but I realized that she must have had something keeping her from giving that grace when she needed to. I responded very passionately reminding her about the reality facing Christians around the globe..that the Name she professed meant something and couldn't be kept aside and only brought out when it suited her. That day I was profoundly touched and affected by the news of Syrian Christians being beheaded and the plight of Christians over the world, was weighing heavily on my heart, and I know God wanted me to feel it so I could pray. She on the other hand, didn't want me to include Christ in my conversation to put Him in the middle between invite Him to the table. To her He was to holy for that and strangely enough all I was doing was witnessing about His role in my life. My heart sank as I read her response, because to me, Christ is in and part of EVERYTHING. I cannot and will not ever exclude Him. As a Holy God, who was the beginning of everything, He came to earth to become a lowly man...why?...So He could give His life to save us all and make us part of Him. He became my friend the day I accepted him at 15 and I cannot ever imagine excluding Him from anything ever and even if I was to be so foolish as to think I could, He is an ever-present God. He is everywhere and sees all we do and say. He is my ever present guide and His spirit is my Teacher and Comforter.  

So, as a "Peter" of old I pulled out my sword. "I will fight for You, Lord...I will make her see"...but then halfway through I realized I cannot make anyone see anything. I can only witness, like I am doing here..that Christ is Lord and every knee will bow before Him in the end. And all I could do is to pray for her and release her in His Name and hope that He walks with her and talks with her like He does with me in all my broken ways...and somewhere my heart was also still hoping that He would whisper my name in her heart like he is whispering her name in mine and that His grace for us both and for every other fellow sister in Him, would flow like the rain that fell in my fair city yesterday.  

Because you see, when we presume we have arrived at any given time, we can know, we still will always fall short of perfection, because none of us will ever reach it in this life. We are MADE knew daily by Grace and His is a lifelong process.  The Word says all men are equal in the eyes of the Lord and we all have sinned...there is not one good among us. We must accept we are all still in process of becoming all that Christ has for each of us and that we each have our part to play. 

Today we prayed for change in our country. We prayed for corruption to leave it...for evil to flee, but in my heart I also pray for the family of Christ to truly become one. Only when we shine His love like diamonds in the sky, will the world around us start to change. As long as we don't show this grace my fellow sister in Christ was talking about here, to one another, we cannot expect true change. 

On the 25th of November last year I let that fellow believer go with a heavy heart, but I am writing this in the hope that she would somewhere sometime someday go back and read my letter and see my heart...and maybe just maybe God will change her heart and mind and she would see what she is missing out on. And only He could tell her what that is. 

"Grace that does not change us...cannot save us" 

If we really believe that Grace, His grace is the answer, then why can't we give it abundantly? My heart is still filled with questions over the interactions between believers, but my Hope is always and will always be in Him. His Word is also clear that He will be the Stumbling Stone that divide men and I have to accept if I keep clutching to His cloak and keep on standing under His Grace, that I will be included in His Kingdom and His heart but most likely be excluded from things  or situations in this world. 

Finally, I pray that the grace we talk about here, is the same grace that you receive from Him daily and that you are able to truly give it in spades. May my story inspire you even though both these pieces wasn't even written in the same time, I believe the written word can reach hearts over a virtual space where physical connections are not always possible. God bless.

What does the Word say about Grace:

Colossians 4:6 ESV / 27 
Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person.

Ephesians 4:29 ESV / 24 
Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.

James 2:13 ESV / 18 
For judgment is without mercy to one who has shown no mercy. Mercy triumphs over judgment.

1 Peter 4:10 ESV / 17 
As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God's varied grace..

Colossians 3:12 ESV / 16 
Put on then, as God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience..

2 Timothy 2:1 ESV / 8
You then, my child, be strengthened by the grace that is in Christ Jesus..

Romans 12:18 ESV / 6
If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.

For more form His Word on Grace, click here.

And for a great article on how to show more grace to others, click here for some helpful tips.  

A prayer for believers:
Lord, help us to include you in every aspect of our lives. Give us the grace and understanding to know how to treat our fellow believers even in times of conflict or disagreement. Help us to resolve issues and not just give up and run away. Help us to live in peace with our family in Christ and Lord, bind us together, Lord, bind us together ...with cords that cannot be broken.  

In the lovely Name of Jesus Christ.

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