Friday, March 22, 2013

grace is what's right



There is a delicate balance in the life of the follower of Jesus as to how we deal with grace and judgment.  Often it is easy to point out weakness in the people around us, but it is hard to point out in the flaws in our lives.  This could be because we are arrogant, or this could be because we simply have overlooked something in our own lives.

My desire is to live for God and to encourage others to do the same.  We are told that to follow Jesus we need to live holy lives, yet our holy living or right choices doesn’t give us the right to judge or belittle others.

God has called us to love others.  By thinking about this love it is evident that love goes both directions.  We must understand that God loves us unconditionally.  Our love for God in return is in our hearts, and that love is seen in how we live which includes how we treat others.

Samuel said, “Has the Lord as much delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices As in obeying the voice of the Lord? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, And to heed than the fat of rams.

To obey is better than sacrifice.  Over the centuries people have said that sacrifice can be many things.  Sacrifice can describe how we live.  It has also been described as how much a person gives, but God’s desire is for our heart before our sacrifice.  Our lives follow our hearts.  In last Sunday’s sermon I shared this: “If you don’t like what you are getting, look at what you are giving”.  What are we giving?

Micah 6:8  NASB
He has told you, O man, what is good; And what does the Lord require of you But to do justice, to love kindness, And to walk humbly with your God?

What God requires of us is not always what we require of ourselves.  This verse came alive for me 14 years ago as I was leading a group of teenage guys.  God’s requirements aren’t harsh.  They really aren’t even hard. 

To do justice is a way of life.  Justice speaks to how we obey the law, how we deal with others and even how we come the help those in need.  To love kindness is to understand how kind Jesus has been to us and how we can turn that kindness to others.  Finally to walk humbly with God is a big deal.  It is the opposite of unhealthy pride or being arrogant.  Humility means you are teachable and able to hear what others say even when it is tough.

What God requires leads to us having life, enjoying life and sharing life with others.

For you have been called to live in freedom, my brothers and sisters. But don’t use your freedom to satisfy your sinful nature. Instead, use your freedom to serve one another in love.

Our freedom says that God’s grace for us is secure.  We can mess up and still be loved by God.  It also says that real grace is reaching out to the people we come in contact with and not stepping on them or hurting them.  Our freedom accepts God’s grace for our lives and extends God’s grace to the people we meet.

Serving people is a way of life.  Doing what God requires is a way of life too.  Both are done because we see and are humbled by how good God is.  Grace is what’s right.  Always know you are in God’s grace, and in turn give God’s grace to those you meet!

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