A Grace-filled Life

5 Sep

“That ye may approve things that are excellent; that ye may be sincere and without offense till the day of Christ.”  (Philippians 1:10).

The above verse was part of a prayer Paul prayed for the Philippian church.  I pray it for myself and for those I know.

The intent for writing a devotional blog (hopefully to become a book) on grace-filled living is to give 365 snapshots a year of how grace looks in our everyday lives.  The phrase “grace-filled” will appear a lot.  The word “graceless” should rarely appear, for a few good reasons.

First of all, the blog/book is meant to encourage us in our faith and in our growth in Christ.  I have never yet met the person who is mature enough to walk away from someone else’s scathing words with their first thought being how to apply that criticism to their Christian growth.  Not saying God never uses harsh words to help us grow, just saying that, in general, we are encouraged in our growth by gentle words.

Secondly, we all know what “graceless” looks like already.  Our world is full of it.  Often our Christian world is full of it, too.  In fact, I am pretty sure that every reader of this post could give me an example of “graceless” from within his or her last 24 hours!  We don’t have to think far back to find it.  It is a default setting of our modern culture.  But we can use some help sometimes in determining what “grace-filled” looks like.

Thirdly, I like a challenge.  I like learning how to “approve things that are excellent” instead of constantly voicing my disapproval of the chaff of life.  There are already enough people doing that.  They won’t miss me at all if I try doing things a different way.

Granted, in our world where sarcasm is an art form, I may find that learning to approve things that are excellent may initially sound pretty saccharine, to myself and even to others.

I have, in the past, been asked, “Are you being sarcastic?” when I was giving someone a sincere compliment and I expect that will happen again.  It will happen to you, too.  Our world is just not geared to sincere words of approval.

However I expect if I watch anyone long enough, even someone who might consider herself my enemy (and we all have one of those . . .), I will see something of which I can sincerely approve.  Hopefully conveying that approval to that person will be accepted, but, if not, I will at least know my heavenly Father approves of my obedience to His Word.

And, no, I will not totally abandon joking and sarcasm.  I will just learn to direct it at myself.  Laughing at oneself is perhaps the better art form anyway!

Lord, help us!!!  Getting to “grace-filled” is going to take some work but it will be so worthwhile!,

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