I have been thinking a lot about grace lately. Having dinner with my friend Marcy last night, we got into a discussion about learning to recognize the sin inside you. Once my eyes were opened to my sinful nature, I just started to hate so much of what I said, thought and did. I would pray in the morning to be kind, patient and caring towards others, but by lunchtime, I had judged, ridiculed and been rude on more than one occasion. As hard as I tried to remain in the Spirit, sin trickled out of my mouth like word vomit. No matter how much effort I put into acting kind, my ability was not sufficient. Without God, without the grace of God, we are fighting a losing battle.
I love the way that Paul always starts his letters, with thanksgiving a prayer for his recipients. In Philippians 4:7, he gives praise and recognition to the people of Philippi:
“…I have you in my heart; for whether I am in chains or defending and confirming the gospel, all of you share in God’s grace with me.” – NIV
Even Paul, probably one of the most infamous disciples, recognizes his need for grace. He says “you share in God’s grace with me”. It humbles me to think that I receive the same grace from God that Paul does. The same grace that David does and the same grace that John does.
I have always heard that grace, like any other gift, can only be yours if you reach out and take it. Perhaps, being able to reach out and take it, is a gift in itself.