by Mike Genung
The Lord has been encouraging me to meditate on grace recently.
Sometimes I can focus too much at the negative; problems at the office or home, or changes I’d like to see made in the church, people I know, the government, or myself. If I get caught up in all of that for too long, my attitude spirals downward. Feeding on problems or on everything that’s wrong isn’t healthy; we can get so obsessed with the junk in life that it can poison us with a bitter, cynical attitude, plague us with fear and worry, choke our relationships with God and others, and steal our joy
It can also put us in a place of judging others. As I know from experience, that’s a miserable place to be. All we see is the wrong; what we think they need to change. It strips us of the ability to love them as they are; faults and all. Of course, unconditional love is something we want too.
As soon as I start meditating on grace, everything changes. According to Ephesians 1:3, I’m blessed with every spiritual blessing in the Heavenly places, which makes me a spiritual billionaire. All my sins are forgiven (Colossians 2:13). I serve a God who has promised to provide all of my needs (Philippians 4:19), which He’s always been faithful to do. My God is so rich in mercy that He made me alive in Christ before I cared about Him (Ephesians 2:4). All I have to do to find cleansing from sin is confess it (1 John 1:9). God has lavished His grace on me (Ephesians 1:8), probably in many ways I don’t see or understand.
I have a wonderful wife who has stuck with me through hard times and good (we just celebrated our 25th anniversary yesterday), good health, and four awesome children. He’s enabled me to use the gifts He’s given me, such as writing, to bless others. I attend a great church that preaches all of God’s word. We live in a country where we have the freedom to live our lives as we want.
I can come to the Lord with any of my trials and receive wisdom and help (James 1:5); He even invites me to come to His throne of grace boldly (Hebrews 4:16). God has set me free from sexual sin, healed my marriage from it, set me free from illegal drug use, helped me overcome fear, and much more, and He’s taught me a lot about life. I’m still very much a work in progress, but I can find peace in the knowledge that He’s continually shaping me (Philippians 2:13).
I have the assurance of Heaven and the incredible blessing of His word, through which He speaks to me often. No matter what happens or how bad things get during my time on earth, I have hope. When I take the time to slow down and earnestly seek Him, He speaks to me.
I have a band of brothers who I can bounce situations off of and receive counsel, encouragement, and exhortation.
I have the crazy blessing that God has used all of my trials for good; He’s taught, shaped, and cleansed me through them.
I have purpose to my life; I don’t want it to be about obtaining “the American Dream.” It gives me joy to help others and make investments of time and other resources in my eternal bank account.
All of life is a gift of grace. When we start meditating on all the Lord has done for us and the incredible hope we have for the future, we can’t help but start praising and thanking Him. Our joy-meter shoots up and our bitter/fearful/judging/misery index crashes.
Not having money or things doesn’t matter as much. Our perspective changes because we know the trials of this life are only temporary. We can accept people as they are, release the desire to fix or control, and let God do what He wants in their lives.
When we realize what we’ve been given, we want to love God and people more. We’re less self and problem focused and place more attention on God and others. Becoming a servant isn’t as hard as it used to be. We don’t need pride, a good reputation, or the approval of others. We’ve received the love we need from God so we don’t need to grasp for it in sinful ways.
What’s crazy is that all of this incredible blessing comes to us without doing anything to deserve it. In fact, we do and think things repeatedly that should shut off the spigot of grace, from man’s perspective.
Grace changes us. Maybe that’s why it’s been called amazing.