As I sit this evening and think about many different things, I stop to consider the decisions before me – those little things throughout the day that I could have done better, my goals for life in general, my goals for tomorrow. The days just seem to fly by for me now – unlike when I was in high school, when they seemed to drag between Friday night events and our girlish parties.
As life moves faster, I have a tendency to get caught up in the whirlwind of appointments, ideas, and socializing, ending in a gradual decline to the business of distraction. All the good things I do can come together in a poor fashion – each accomplishing its own purpose, but leaving me disorganized and dissatisfied nonetheless.
In the midst of my business, I need to remember why I do what I do. Am I going through the motions again, like I have in the past, getting caught up in ‘doing’ without remembering the purpose? Just making decisions based on emotion or reactionary impulses?
It really isn’t necessary for me to constantly complain about what goes wrong at work. Many times it is caused by circumstances outside my control. Where is the grace I need to speak patiently and find the problem, not whine about it to all within earshot?
It is right where it has always been. Perhaps I am just too busy with my business to see it.
“And it is my prayer that your love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment, so that you may approve what is excellent, and so be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.” (Phil. 1:9-11)
Grace is the power of Christ in us to endure. Endurance and perseverance do not only relate to hard circumstances like tough financial times or difficult marriages; it can be those little moments when laziness sneaks up on us at work, or when we want to snap at a coworker or family member, or if we desire to manipulate, gossip, or put down another person. Grace perseveres over and through those inclinations – grace abounds with love.
It is Christ’s fruit of righteousness filling us that enables us to share grace; the same grace that covers us in our sin. It is to the glory and praise of God, not me, that I am able to endure temptation and come out on the other side. It is to his glory that I can have the grace to make good decisions or react in a godly way. And to the contrary, when I react in anger or indignation, there lies evidence to convict me of a lofty view of who I am, forgetting that God is who He is.
It is during these moments that I think about what grace is that I realize how much God has endured by showing grace to me. He has endured my sin, my repeated offenses, my anger, my selfishness, and my pride – and when I realize how I am living and I am come back, he welcomes me in with this incomprehensible grace; grace that endures past my failure. How can I receive such grace and yet refuse to give it?
I am overwhelmed when I consider it, and it motivates me to thankfulness while also spurring me to think: is what I am doing, all my business and fun, working toward the glory of God? Or am I losing grace in the midst of it? God is never too busy to endure my faults and failures. Am I graceless enough to refuse that perseverance to those that I encounter?
Many times that answer is yes.
Forgive me Lord, for a graceless personality. Those you have given me deserve so much better, because you think them worthy of Your grace, so I can hardly deny them mine.