When you are stepping out in faith it’s very important to remember grace.
Dictionary.com has seven definitions and I believe they are in the order of how often society uses them. That means #1 is the most popular usage – sort of like a Google ranking.
What I’m talking about today is God’s grace.
Definitions 3-4-5 are the meanings I’m interested in, especially 5.
elegance or beauty of form, manner, motion, or action:
We watched her skate with effortless grace across the ice.
Synonyms: attractiveness, charm, gracefulness, comeliness, ease, lissomeness, fluidity.
Antonyms: stiffness, ugliness, awkwardness, clumsiness; klutziness.
a pleasing or attractive quality or endowment:
He lacked the manly graces.
favor or goodwill.
Synonyms: kindness, kindliness, love, benignity; condescension.
a manifestation of favor, especially by a superior:
It was only through the dean’s grace that I wasn’t expelled from school.
Synonyms: forgiveness, charity, mercifulness.
Antonyms: animosity, enmity, disfavor.
mercy; clemency; pardon:
He was saved by an act of grace from the governor.
Synonyms: lenity, leniency, reprieve.
favor shown in granting a delay or temporary immunity.
an allowance of time after a debt or bill has become payable granted to the debtor before suit can be brought against him or her or a penalty applied:
The life insurance premium is due today, but we have 31 days’ grace before the policy lapses.
Compare grace period.
When I’ve heard it defined by a preacher, grace is usually defined as “unmerited favor”, which means we didn’t earn it.
Here’s a verse that I hope helps:
The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.
Because it’s so easy to make mistakes as human beings I am infinitely grateful for grace. That brings me back to the opening sentence and stepping out in faith.
Some people believe or someone has told them to believe that you have to be so incredibly careful not to make mistakes (or sin) that they simply refuse to leave their worship or prayer “comfort zone”.
What if I’m not supposed to pray for myself? Should I really have an expectation that someone would be healed by prayer in this day and age? Am I being too bold when I pray and command someone be healed in the name of Jesus? Is it really ok to lift my hands in worship? Is it ok to just lay on my bed and talk to God or do I have to be on my knees? How can I be really truly honest with God if I’m not always sure I’m honest with myself? We don’t have the office of prophet in our denomination so are we listening to crazy people?
What if I find out that God wants me to visit San Diego and later I find out I’m wrong? Is Lectio Divina really ok? Is there something wrong with me that it kind of freaks me out to listen truly for God’s voice? What if my blog is not a perfect reflection of Christ’s love? What if less than a hundred people make comments? How will I know I’m reaching people and not wasting my time?
While I do believe it’s important for Christians to understand if the person we are learning how to pray (or other spiritual practices) from is truly following Jesus, surely we can rely on God’s grace if we don’t do something exactly the way Grandma thought we should. We can also check with more than one strong man or woman of faith if we choose!
Even if you have questions, I urge you to trust God. (Some things are hopefully more obvious. I taught my son not to mess around with stuff like Ouija boards because so many people don’t realize that there are spiritual realms. Some things are not a joke and certainly I have never heard of a Christian teaching that God wants us to use Ouija boards. Stay away from them. Do be encouraged, though, by reading verses like 1 John 4:4-6.)
We can also ask Holy Spirit to guide us. Even if it’s new to us, as Christians, we really have access to Holy Spirit. If you’ve sincerely asked God to forgive your sins and asked Jesus into your heart, he has come in. He always says “Yes!” to your heart invitation.
We need to pray for God to lead us into action. When we pray we need to leave time for God to answer. If or when we don’t hear anything, we still need to be taking action in our lives.
When my wife told me she thought it would be a good idea to attend Power & Love in Pasadena in April, I asked two men from my home church with whom I study and pray regularly if they would look at the website and tell me their opinion. They both gave me a thumbs up along with my wife so I felt I didn’t really have a good reason to stay home.
I stepped out in faith in April and all of a sudden I found myself in a style of worship and praise that is more intense than what I find in my home church. I feel encouraged to “press in” to this charismatic style of worship and I continue to attend my home church and love with God’s love there in Solana Beach.
It’s also important to keep in mind that lots of people, churches and denominations have restrictions that God doesn’t require.
Many of you will be surprised to find out that I know someone who was raised in a church where they believed it was ok to sing to God, but they weren’t allowed to use instruments!
If we had a contest to see how many restrictions churches place on Christians that God doesn’t require, I’ll bet we could come up with at least a hundred. I remember a lady I met who only wanted to tell me how her church was right to worship God on Saturday.
(Keep in mind, I didn’t even ask her about this. SHE brought it up.) She didn’t talk to me about the love of Jesus or intimacy with God or salvation, etc…but she wanted to make sure I knew that people at her church gathered to worship God on Saturday because it was the correct day!
I urge you to expand your comfort zone in worshiping God. Remember, those who raise their hands for Jesus or those who worship Jesus less loudly than you are not the same as people who would enthusiastically teach you about Ouija and other occult practices. Why not visit each other’s Christian churches? Worship the Living God together at both your churches. If the One, True God is there does it matter if we’re singing Crowder’s Come As You Are a little (or a lot) faster?
Open your mouth and taste, open your eyes and see—
how good God is.
Blessed are you who run to him.
It’s All About That Grace.
God loves you!