Grace. We talk as though we understand the term. The bank gives us a grace period. The seedy politician falls from grace. Musicians speak of a grace note. We describe an actress as gracious, a dancer as graceful. We use the word for hospitals, baby girls, kings, and pre-meal prayers. We talk as though we know what grace means.
But do we really understand it? Have we settled for wimpy grace? It politely occupies a phrase in a hymn,fits nicely on a church sign. Never causes trouble or demands a response. When asked, “Do you believe in grace?” who could say no?
Max Lucado asks a deeper question: Have you been changed by grace? Shaped by grace? Strengthened by grace? Emboldened by grace? Softened by grace? Snatched by the nape of your neck and shaken to your senses by grace? God’s grace has a drenching about it. A wildness about it. A white-water, riptide, turn-you-upside-downness about it. Grace comes after you. It rewires you. From insecure to God secure. From regret riddled to better-because-of-it. From afraid to die to ready to fly. Grace is the voice that calls us to change and then gives us the power to pull it off.
The above is what I have been including in my Friday Fives for the last several weeks to help describe our current Bible Study series. It is entitled Grace and it is written my Max Lucado, just like the three paragraphs above.
When I read that above description it really got me to think. I have written papers on grace, taken classes centered on grace, talked about grace with other colleagues. But did I practice a “wildness..white-water, riptide, turn-you-upside-down” type of grace in my life? Had I been changed, shaped, strengthened, emboldened, softened, and snatched by the nape of my neck by grace?
Grace is at the center of why we are United Methodists. It is one of our core tenets as a denomination. John Wesley spoke at great length about grace and he himself was greatly impacted by the grace of God. God’s grace is something that will change you from the inside out. It takes you as you are and makes you into what God created you to be. Grace is not reserved for a select few or until you understand it, grace is for everyone. Grace comes after you. It changes the way you see people, it changes the way you interact with people, it changes everything about you.
The subtitle to this series on grace by Max Lucado, is “More Than We Deserve, Greater Than We Imagine”. I want to make sure grace gets you. I encourage you this week to spend time with God, in a quiet uninterrupted space, and talk to God about grace. If you can, find a book about grace, talk to me about grace, begin or continue the process to allow grace to retake you, remake you, and remold you. Do not let your grace be wimpy, do not relegate it to a name or an adjective. Let grace get you, let it change you, let the grace of God, make you into everything God intended for you to be. Grace is life changing and I pray it is always changes yours!
Have a grace-filled week!