“True grace produces joy and promotes godliness.”
I am not sure where the above quote came from but it has really stuck with me. I came across it at some point in 2014 as I was focusing on the word joy. For the most part I could sum up the year with this, “Joy in our circumstances come when we focus on Jesus not our suffering.” As I intentionally tried to focus on Jesus in the midst of the various sufferings that 2014 brought, and often failing, I would often come across the word grace. Grace is needed in order to produce joy. I can’t manufacture joy on my own, nor grace for that matter. Grace is the merciful favor of God which keeps me bound to Christ. It’s God’s grace that pours out upon me that helps me to even want to have joy in the hardest of circumstances.
Grace I have realized is something that I lack. My heart is too often a bit too judgmental, critical and self focused to really be a heart that flows with grace. So here is the problem, if I want to walk in joy I must focus on Christ, not my circumstances. But joy will elude the heart that is critical. The only real hope for a critical, judgmental heart is grace.
Grace changes us.My heart needs to change. My heart has a great propensity towards legalism. Legalism breeds a judgmental and critical heart. If we are stuck in legalism, judgmentalism, or have a critical heart we can not live a life that offers grace to others. I don’t know about you but I want my life, my heart, to reflect grace. I want it to reflect Christ. But it will never reflect Christ if I don’t allow the grace of God to change it. I must learn to live in the overflow of grace. To be grace-filled. Oh how I long for that!
But you nor I will ever be able to offer grace to ourselves or others if we do not first fully accept and understand God’s grace at work in us. This is where my journey begins in 2015. It begins with grace. Actually I began a few months back when I did 31 days of seeking Grace, well… I actually only did 24 days. But, October was a hard month. I was in the hospital and then we lost my mother in law so I didn’t get though all 31 days. Regardless though, as I began to understand grace I realized just how much more I needed to understand, embrace and grabbed hold of it. So my word, my focus for 2015 is GRACE.