In my previous post, “Going Back To The Basics: Grace, and Grace Alone”, I wrote about my struggle with being judgmental and critical and how I felt God gently telling me, “My child, go back to the basics. It is by grace and grace alone anyone can be saved. It is not your place to be so critical, instead tell people of MY GRACE, and extend grace upon others as well. For if I, The Lord, have bestowed such great grace upon you do you think you are above doing the same?” So, I want to take that post and expound upon it a little more and discuss how I want to put “Going Back To The Basics” into action. For starters, grace and love go hand in hand. Romans 5:8 says,
“but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
It is only by God’s grace that we can show others love. 1 John 4:19 says, “We love, because He first loved us.” When we extend love to others it is only because God has shown us first. Furthermore, God expects us to show love to others and He makes this message clear with the great commandment in Mark 12:28-31 which says,
“And one of the scribes came up and heard them disputing with one another, and seeing that he answered them well, asked him, ‘Which commandment is the most important of all?’ Jesus answered, ‘The most important is, ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”
It is so easy to forget how to love someone when someone says something hurtful, or when we are holding onto past hurts. It is easy to build up walls, but when we do we are stifling the love that we experience and give. God doesn’t say, “Love sometimes”, or “Love only when they love you back”, He says, “Love your neighbor as yourself”. We should love others in the same exact way we want others to love us. I don’t know about you, but I want others to love me and pursue me like I matter and have importance and value. So, starting today, I want to love every single person the Lord places in my path purposefully and pursue them as people who are so important and valued not only by God, but by me as well.John 13: 34-35 Jesus says,
“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.“
The end of this verse really speaks volumes to me because it reminds me that the way people will identify me with God will be through the love I have for others. Love could have been replaced with some other attribute, but He said LOVE.
Grace, like love, should be on display for others to see. Ephesians 4:29-32 says,
“Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.”
This passage humbles me and causes me to give pause and thought to the words I allow out of my mouth.So often I am unsuccessful at pausing before I speak, however this passage encourages me to try hard to think before I speak so that I might build up others in my words, giving grace to all who hear. So often I forget about the impact the words I speak and even type can have on others. I have been so guilty of allowing the words I say, and even type, to drip with criticism or judgment when what I really should be putting on display is love and grace.
So starting today, right now, it is my prayer that I would purposefully display love and grace to everyone and write these verses upon my heart. Then, when bitterness or anger, or the temptation to be judgmental creeps in I might be take back to the Word and reminded what is right and pleasing to the Lord. It is my cause in life to live in a way that is holy and glorifying to God, and I know that showing love and grace to others would please God and give Him all the glory. There is nothing good in me apart from Christ, so if I show others love and grace it is only God in me. Romans 7:18-20 says,
“For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out. For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me.”
If you know me and see any good in me, or read what I have written and find anything good in it then you are witnessing the work of the Lord in me and for that I am so thankful. I truly believe that in going back to the basics God is humbling me and preparing in me a servants heart so that I can better serve Him and better lead people to His kingdom, at least it’s my sincere hope and plead.