Amazed by Grace

Grace. If your mind runs to the rote prayer you say before a meal, then your view of grace is underwhelming and not likely powerful enough to change your life. God’s grace is life-changing; it is a grace that should truly amaze us. If the grace God pours out on everyone, everyday, does not amaze you then it is highly probably that though you give intellectual ascent to the grace of God displayed in Jesus Christ for salvation, you are not shaken to your core by it.

I woke up today. If your reading this, then you did too and your probably thinking, “So what?” How many mornings have you jostled open your puffy eyes, stumbled to the kitchen, started the coffee, poured the cereal, and lamented the nefarious burdens of the day ahead? How many mornings have barely started before you’ve uttered the words “this is not my day?” The reason that waking up today is such an amazing grace is that I very likely didn’t deserve to. I’m 44 years old. That’s 16,071 days, and how many of those have I completely failed to honor God? How many of those days have I lived for myself and gratified my flesh rather than the Holy Spirit? In spite of–not just my failures, but my rebellion, God grants me day after day and opportunity after opportunity.

God causes the sun to rise and the rain to fall on the righteous and the wicked. Just in case you’re thinking that one of those is meant in a negative context, they are both great blessings. Crops don’t grow and life can’t flourish with both sun and rain. God grants these life-giving elements to everyone, regardless of what they believe or how they live. Every day we wake, we are granted countless opportunities. Even those who refuse to acknowledge God and give him thanks are granted such an amazing grace as another chance. You are given, now.

Now, called the present, is an incredible gift. In it is contained the complete and utter inability to go back and undo or redo anything. The past does not exist, it is only a memory and only has the power and authority you choose to give it. Memories of past hurts may be bitter, but those past hurts are no longer happening. If you are a victim of the past, it is only because you are a willing accomplice. The now also contains the expectation of what can or could be. If we view this through the lens of fear it’s called despair; if we aspire for better things it’s called hope. All we have is now and the question is, what are you going to do with it? This moment, how will you spend it–keeping in mind that you will never get it back? If we spend too much time looking over our shoulder with regret at the wasted moments of our lives all we will accomplish is to make that collection of wasted moments bigger and heavier. Jesus said that we are unfit for the Kingdom that way. Seize the gift of now to let go and lay regret at the foot of the cross and look ahead to who God is and where he is leading. Exercise the grace of the present to repent, break the cycle, and fulfill the calling God has placed on your life. Don’t know what that calling is? Then make now the time to start seeking Him to find it.

Life can be hard, and another day may be the last thing you want. Yet, here you are, so God must know you need it. The time for change is now. Today is all you have. Yesterday is gone, tomorrow is not promised. You have opportunities–even if you feel trapped in current circumstances. Romans 12:2 tells us that we are transformed through the renewing of our mind–by changing the way we think. Let today be the day you begin to see your circumstances differently, through the lens of the person and power of God. Let today be the day that you stop assuming you know how things will turn out and start trusting outcomes to God. Let today be the day you stop making excuses why you can’t live like God can be trusted.

A new day, air to breathe, food and water, family and friends, His word and presence … the simplest things are amazing gifts of God’s grace. Take some time to take it in, to be thankful, to make the most of each and every one, and to praise God–the Giver of every good and perfect gift. Allow yourself, in this moment, to be amazed by His grace.

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