Below are some personal reflections on grace I wrote last year. Please hang in there until the end. The Lord gave me the last paragraph as I was preparing this article for publication. In it our heavenly Father shares a loving word of encouragement and instruction for wives. Be blessed! –Your Sister in Christ
God’s grace. May it abound in our lives. I think few of us understand grace. I think few of us really understand God. I am on a wonderful life journey to discover who God is and who I am in Him. I have some understanding now and a good foundation. However, as I dig deeper into the things of God, I find that there is more and more and more. Why? Because God is infinite. He is endless. There is no end to His majesty, wisdom and awesomeness! Neither is there any end to His grace.
I didn’t understand grace growing up. I grew up in the Baptist church. I heard about grace but never received any good teaching in the area, nor did I see it modeled before me. You often hear it described as unmerited favor. However, it is so much more than that. The definition is actually misleading and sells short what God has really done for us through His grace. We know grace means unmerited favor but it also includes mercy, compassion, loving kindness and an empowerment to be who He is. James 4:6 is a good example of the kind of grace I am talking about. It says in the amplified
“But He gives us more and more grace [through the power of the Holy Spirit to defy sin and live an obedient life that reflects both our faith and our gratitude for our salvation]. God is opposed to the proud and haughty, but [continually] gives [the gift of] grace to the humble [who turn away from self-righteousness].”
Let’s break this down. He gives us more and more grace through the power of the Holy Spirit. This is good news! The Holy Spirit is a wonderful gift from God. He is a person. The third person of the God head. He IS the power of God! For example, Jesus-the Christ did not begin His ministry until He received the Holy Spirit. So, all the awesome miracles of healing and raising the dead the Christ performed was the manifestation of the Holy Spirit. Our empowerment and power as believers is in and through the Holy Spirt. It is God working in us and through us. The Holy Spirit, empowers us to walk out that good, acceptable and perfect will of God. Our faith is the Christ in us the hope of glory. Our gratitude is shown by loving God, who loved us first. And scripture says we love God by obeying His word. What does His word say? To love God first and love our neighbor as ourselves. So we show our Love for God by being Love. Love is who God is. He loved us first, and we love in return because love is who He is. And that is how the Holy Spirit manifests, through love. Lastly, God is opposed to the proud and haughty because it is the opposite of love. We, in our worldly wisdom, think hate is the opposite of love and it is not. Self is the opposite of love. Self-righteousness, self-consciousness, self-awareness, love of self, etc. this is the opposite of love. Love is selfless!
When we humbly submit ourselves to the Lord, daily, by denying ourselves (denying selfishness), His grace is there, lovingly, empowering us through the help of the Holy Spirit to manifest the glory of who He is. Don’t you know why you were created? Do you not know what happened when you were born-again into Christ? It wasn’t so you could live a wonderful, happy life, free of trouble. That would be selfish, right? It is so you can manifest the glory of your creator, now! The kingdom of God is in us. We are His temple and our heart is His throne. We serve a God of people. God is concerned about all people, which is why He sent His son. He wants to further His kingdom through us. As we manifest truly who God is, daily, we advance the Kingdom of God. By humbling ourselves, daily, we manifest the love of God through the many workings and giftings of the Holy Spirit. This is what brings God glory, drawing people to Christ, our one and only savior, leading them to the Kingdom of God…so they may transition from death to life. Born again from incorruptible seed and receiving, at the moment of conception, an inheritance of joy, peace, freedom, and life abundantly in Christ. Thank God for His grace that saved us and His more and more grace that empowers us to live in Christ.
Okay. I know this was kind of deep and what does this have to do with marriage? It has everything to do with marriage. The same grace that Our Father extends to us each and every day as we submit to Him, we should use to love our husbands and frankly, He expects us to. I am not talking about loving our husbands out of obligation or sacrifice. I am talking about loving with a willing heart because we want to please our heavenly Father and we want to see our husbands prosper. As I write this, I think about what John said in 1 John 4:20. How can you say you love God who you haven’t seen and you don’t love your brother whom you do see? I am convicted! How can I say I love my Father in heaven who I have not seen but I do not love my husband who I have been made one flesh with? It seems that wives are called to a high standard to have to love our husbands every single day despite disappointments, failures and sometimes hardened hearts. And yet, that is the expectation. That is our Father’s desire. How? Grace. As wives, we get to love our husbands with God’s perfect, beautiful love through the help and empowerment of the Holy Spirit. When we are willing and obedient in our hearts, the Holy Spirit steps in and “graces” us with an overflowing heart of love for our husbands. It is a pure love that allows us to see everything they are in Christ. It is a tangible love that draws our husbands to Our Father where they can taste and see the goodness of the Lord and begin to comprehend how much He truly loves them. It is through this beautiful, selfless love offering that the Father is glorified and our husbands are edified in Christ. Wow, that’s powerful! Thank God for not only giving us a vision and standard for loving our husbands but also the grace, His grace, that enables us to walk out the will of God each and every day. Amen.