The Grace of our Lord Jesus.
Recently I was thinking about this special Grace. What is it and how does it work? The following thoughts evolved as I pondered over this.
I think this Grace is different from God’s redemptive Grace. God showers upon us unmerited or undeserved favor. We are paupers and in no way can we buy favor from God. So God decided unilaterally to give this Grace to us freely. This is the saving Grace.
But what is the Grace of our Lord Jesus Christ? It is his ‘life style’ grace.
The word became flesh and lived among us…He walked the talk…those who witnessed this talk and walk, this word and flesh, made the remarkable statement “Full of Grace and Truth” about Him. Full of light. From His fullness all have received Grace upon Grace. A life full of Grace and Truth. Not a bit of this and a bit of that!
Paul explains this Grace, “you know the Grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, though he was rich, for our sake he became poor.”
The graciousness of Jesus was his willingness to let go, to descend, to become helpless and vulnerable for the nobodies. It also meant saying a big ‘Yes’ to his Father and an emphatic ‘no’ to evil.
Every Sunday we receive the benediction, “The Grace of Our Lord Jesus Christ be with us all”, telling us to go out and live. So how does it work?
This Grace is filled with the wisdom of God, the ability to live a different kind of life in this world.
My own experience is that:
This Grace awakens my heart to the things of God, to Righteousness.
Grace brings to my consciousness truths from the scripture that are applicable to my situation. It helps me to remember and prompts me to obey.
This Grace produces a desire in me to seek God’s kingdom.
This points me to Jesus and his ways and enables me to say NO to all that’s evil.
This Grace is the Spirit of Lord Jesus Christ, His very own nature. His Humility.
This gives us the capacity to postpone the immediate gratification of our flesh for long-term blessings. Eventually we may reach a place where we may not have to struggle endlessly to choose between evil and good. Pleasure of sin may lose its affinity and appeal to us.
This Grace helps us to accept difficulties and sufferings by changing our focus to joy beyond measure. This is the kind of life style we have been invited to take up. Jesus suffered everything that came in his way so as to let us know that it could be done. He was content to let God set things right.
We are still left with a choice to listen to this Grace, which is calling out all the time. We can choose to heed its warnings, encouragements or ignore it or respond partially. We can waste this work of Grace by betraying that moment of awakening or stirring deep within us.
We can learn to live in the atmosphere of Grace. It is just like the air we breathe without effort or conscious awareness. It’s always there for us to take in. We breathe in the Grace and its life -giving energy and words. Jesus said that his yoke is bearable and what he tells us to do is easy. Grace is the presence of Jesus in and with us and our awareness of this truth in all our happenings.
What was the secret of Jesus? How did he become full of Grace and Truth?
It came from knowing who he was. An awareness of his father’s love became the foundation for his Rest. There was no need to impress, threaten or boast. No need to do spectacular things and push His own agenda and draw attention to him by being somebody else.
It was an expression of his trust and security in his father.
He became truth incarnate. He made choices based on truth, so lies had no power over him. Not loving was not an option for him.
When we do not know who we are, our worth and preciousness of our being, how much we are loved, then we try to grasp what is missing in some form or other. We become Graceless people. We see people as objects. We see them enemies to avoid, criticize, to demean and to hate. We begin to use people for our benefit. We bully and ignore them.
Grace prompts us to reach out, to love, to respect, to understand, to trust, to forgive and to overlook many failures in the other. Grace holds on to truth all the time. The moment we ignore this prompting, we betray this Grace and ourselves and move towards self -justification to defend our self- betrayal.
To acknowledge to oneself and to God this betrayal is confession. Grace continues to walk with us and takes us to this point of confession and repentance.
How much of self- betrayal can we cope with? It soon begins to break through our system and begins to manifest in all sorts of negative and damaging ways. Eventually we become slaves to ourselves and this gives a handle to the devil to torment us and manipulate us.
We begin to represent more of evil and become controlled by fear. All our relationships will suffer as we live in this darkness. We become even afraid to look into our own hearts. We would rather ‘be sick’ and cover up our darkness rather than find healing through facing our real inner condition. Sometimes over activity or laziness become the only escape route.
The Grace of Our Lord Jesus Christ continues to call us. As long as it is called TODAY, this salvation from our self -deception is available if we heed to this Grace. The only things that will destroy us are fear and pride.
How shall we escape if we neglect such Grace?
We are partakers of Gods nature. His seed is in us. We are recreated for some thing super. Every sharing in the Holy Communion is an act of receiving Grace. Taking in the life of Jesus is the sacred invitation. This invitation challenges us to live out His life in the sad world all around us. This Grace is Life giving. He gives it freely. We receive it with thankfulness. It is a movement towards humility. We freely receive and so we freely give. We become channels of this Grace to the hurting world.
May this Grace of our Lord Jesus be with us to walk the talk.
Let me conclude with this ancient prayer called ‘Soul of Christ’:
May ALL that is you flow into me,
May your Passion and death be my strength and life.
With you by my side, enough has been given,
May the shelter I seek be the shadow of your cross,
Let me not run from the love that you offer,
But hold me safe from the forces of evil.
On each of my dyings shed your Light and Love
Keep calling to me until that day comes,
when with your saints I may praise you forever.