Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures forever.
Have you ever received a gift you feel you did not deserve? The gift was given to you out of love. God does this for us; He gives us blessings, favors, and His Grace. God is so great that He gives us gifts because of His love for us.
Grace is God showing His love to us even though we do not deserve it. God also shows His grace by giving us strength and guidance, and by taking care of us each day. God, by His grace, gives us strength to handle difficult problems in our life.
Christianity defines grace as God’s unmerited favor. It’s been referred to as the good pleasure of God that inclines him to bestow benefits on the undeserving. Theologian Louis Berkhof defines grace as “…the unmerited operation of God in the heart of man, affected through the agency of the Holy Spirit.” Another source describes grace as the freely given unconditional love and forgiveness that regenerates and strengthens us.
Grace can mean various things depending upon your denominational beliefs and has slightly different meanings and references. Our human minds want it to mean just one thing; we want our interpretation to be the only true meaning. So arguments still wage over what exactly grace means, and how it applies to our lives. But regardless of the details and differences, we all can agree upon one thing: God’s grace is good. It’s a good thing.
For me grace is the positive, empowering, redemptive, cleansing and healing activity of the Holy Spirit in our lives. It is the Spirit of God moving in and through us; it is the action of the Holy Spirit.
Even when our minds are not focused on God, God’s Spirit is still affecting us.
There are times when we are not paying any attention to God, and our focus is so utterly on the world that we block out any conscious awareness of the Divine. This is when temptation, stray thoughts, misspoken words, and false motives invade our minds and hearts. This is what the Bible refers to as sin: unproductive and harmful thoughts, words, attitudes, and actions.
We can become so clouded that focus is not possible; we are caught in the darkness of our own creation. We are lost. At times like this it is Grace that pries open our resistant hearts and allows the smallest ray of Light to penetrate and clarify our thinking, reveal our path, and lead us home again to God.
As God said to Paul, He says also to us, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness.” It is when we feel weakest that the strength of God’s grace is greatest. When we feel ineffective and incapable, God reveals to us our innate gifts. As we open to God’s grace, we are transformed.
God’s grace flows through us when we are willing to open our hearts and minds and put someone else’s needs ahead of our own. Grace expresses through us when we show compassion for others that surpasses our own comfort level.
No matter how dire the circumstance may seem, Grace reveals what we need to know. Grace takes over when we cannot go further. As we pause to be still and move in the slightest way toward forgiveness, it is grace that carries us the rest of the way. Grace expands our awareness, softens our hearts, hardens our resolve, and sharpens our wisdom and heals our bodies and souls.
As for me, I said, "O LORD, be gracious to me;
Heal my soul, for I have sinned against You."
When we are spiritually distressed, just as when we are emotionally, mentally, or physically troubled, people around us can sense it. We act and speak in ways that indicate something is wrong. Sometimes we can see this in others because their soul is acting out its pain through their thoughts, words, and deeds. We can observe the pain that is transmitted to others through their disregard for life and disrespect for property and other people’s feelings. At times, we see this imbalance acted out in others by how they treat themselves and speak to themselves, with disrespect and perhaps even harming themselves as if they had little or no value. These can all be symptoms of a soul in need of healing.
In truth, our healing occurs by remembering who and what we truly are – a Child of God, a spiritual being with a body. All the material and immaterial parts of us – body, soul, mind, emotions, thoughts, will, and attitudes – are one in God. We are whole. To remember is to recognize that all our disparate pieces are part of the oneness that we are. To remember is to ‘re-member’, to bring back together, what once seemed separate and distinct.
Yet, there will be times in our human experience when we feel fragmented and dismembered. We yearn to feel whole again, and ache to ‘re-member’, to come together as one body and find balance and wholeness. Our suffering often comes from our resistance to the situation. We define our challenge negatively, and we judge it, attempt to flee from it, and consequently, we feel the suffering of dismemberment.
When we have these negative feelings of lethargy, apathy, imbalance, and being ‘out of sorts’, it is tempting to ask the world for help. Yet that can be disappointing. Asking more from the world simply brings more of what the world has to offer. Asking more from God, however, brings more of what God has to offer.
One powerful gift of Christ is to re-member: despite the challenge or illness, we can still know ourselves as God knows us - whole and complete. Remembering is God’s Grace illuminating our lives.
A simple prayer to attract God’s Grace is this: I open to Divine Grace and allow it to fill me now. I am living in God’s Grace as I move through my life. I trust Divine Grace to give me everything I need. God’s loving Grace is holding me and healing me now. I am overflowing in the fullness of Divine Grace. And so it is.
Divine Grace and Divine Love are two names for the same thing. God’s grace is moving through our lives at this very moment, restoring us, strengthening us, embracing us. We are empowered by grace, sustained by grace. When we surrender to the Divine, life becomes “grace-full.”
My prayer is that we will live a graceful life. I pray that we will trust that everything happening in our lives is leading us to God’s Good, and that we become aware that we are worthy, whole, and complete just as we are, despite the lessons that still face us. I pray that we can be joyous and peaceful, knowing that at every moment we are living in the undeserved Divine Love and Grace of God.