We use the word grace to describe many things in life: dancers are graceful; we say grace before a meal; financial institutions grant grace periods; and people of dignity and respect have the character trait of grace.
I find these descriptions useful, but there is another, more significant definition of grace: a gift freely given to another. For no other reason than an abundance of unconditional love, God extends grace to you.
Chuck Swindoll described grace with the following illustration:
Jesus stood alongside a woman caught in adultery. The Law clearly stated, “Stone her.” The grace killers who set her up demanded the same. Yet He said to those self-righteous Pharisees, “He who is without sin, let him cast the first stone.” What grace! Under the Law they had every legal right to bury her beneath the rocks in their hands . . . and they were ready. There they stood with self-righteous fire in their eyes, but He intervened in grace.
When His friend Lazarus died, Martha met Him on the road and Mary later faced Him as well. Both blamed Him for not coming earlier: “If You had been here, my brother would not have died!” There is strong accusation in those words. He took them in grace. With the turn of His hand, He could have sent them to eternity; but He refused to answer them back in argument. That is grace.
When He told stories, grace was a favorite theme. He employed a gracious style in handling children. He spoke of the prodigal son in grace. As He told stories of people who were caught in helpless situations, grace abounded . . . as with the good Samaritan. And instead of extolling the religious official who spoke of how proud God must be to have him in His family, Christ smiled with favor on the unnamed sinner who said, “God, be merciful to me, a sinner.” Even from the cross He refused to be angry toward His enemies. Remember His prayer? “Father, forgive them . . .” No resentment, no bitterness. Amazing, this grace! Remarkable, the freedom and release it brought. And it came in full force from the only One on earth who had unlimited power, the Son of God.1Adapted from Charles R. Swindoll, The Grace Awakening Devotional: A Thirty-Day Walk in the Freedom of Grace (Nashville: W Publishing, 2003), 16–17.
When weakness is overwhelming, instead of complaining, I claim 2 Corinthians 12:9: “My grace is sufficient [it is more than enough; it is limitless] for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness” (NIV). I claim that truth, and then I take time to thank the Lord with a simple prayer: “Thank You, Lord, for Your grace. Thank You that Your grace is sufficient for this moment. Thank You for the gift of grace—a gift given in abundance.”
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|1.||↑||Adapted from Charles R. Swindoll, The Grace Awakening Devotional: A Thirty-Day Walk in the Freedom of Grace (Nashville: W Publishing, 2003), 16–17.|