Thursday, November 08, 2007

Questions for you about grace

I've been meaning to post something like this for a while. It's pretty obvious that the "theme" of the various things I do, such as my website, blog, video program, Grace Walk Radio program/podcast - can pretty much be boiled down to "growing in grace." I don't think of myself as narrow-minded, but I do know that my focus tends to remain on this specific target when it comes to what my heart longs to grow in and share and discuss with others. Lord willing, there will be a book someday. He's planted that in my heart, and I would bet there are probably several books in me that are waiting to get out.

This "theme" is woven throughout the Bible, and some of the cornerstone verses that I love to share include Hebrews 13:9 ("it is good that the heart be established by grace"), 2 Peter 3:18 ("grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ") and Colossians 2:7 ("let your roots grow down into him and draw up nourishment from him").

My questions are very simple, but I know that the "answers" vary and can take many directions beyond the way that I've grown to understand things, so I think it would be great to hear what you have to say to these questions:

What does "grace" mean? What does it mean to have your heart established in grace? What does it mean to grow in grace? Basically, what comes to mind when you think of these things?

I'm not looking for any specific "correct" answer(s), although of course I don't want to stray away from biblical truth. But in your walk with Jesus and in your study of the Bible, what have you learned? What are your thoughts, experiences, etc? Also, do you have any questions that perhaps others could provide some help with? Feel free to be as short or as lengthy as you want in the comments section here. Perhaps even write about it on your own blog and share your link here.


  1. Well, lately for me, growing in grace has meant being aware of my Fathers acceptance of me at all times, where ever I go.

    It's being secure in His love at all times and in all situations. I notice when I leave my home or go somewhere outside of my comfort zone, I get worried and anxious and want to run back to where I can see Him clearly, if that makes sense.

    I want to learn to believe that God is always for me. When I get out in the world, my mind wanders and I can start to feel the weight of accusations and condemnation.

    It also means that I can approach Him in prayer, and trust Him to help me. To know He will work in me to will and do for His good pleasure. Also, that I don't have to muster up strength I don't possess.

    In essence, I believe that growing in grace is the ability to, in all situations, acknowledge God's unconditional love for me.

  2. Indeed, being aware of our Father's acceptance... that's something that I know is "hard" for many of us. We know the thoughts we have, we know the things we do, and we think God views us according to those thoughts and deeds. So we truly do need to grow in our understanding and acceptance that He loves and accepts us according to His very own love and grace, and not according to our thoughts and deeds.

    I know exactly what you mean about being insecure outside your comfort zone. I'm still too sensitive to how I often mumble and fumble when I'm around others and I love the safety and security of being in my van at work, for example, because it's just me and God and there's no one to make a fool of myself around! His grace is clearing a lot of this up for me, but it's been a long process, that's for sure. The good news is, He's not worried about it. :)

    I also like what you said about being able to approach Him in prayer, trusting Him. We need to be secure in knowing that it's His work in us and not our work for Him that matters in this life. It's kinda backwards to much of what it taught in the church today, so we need to constantly encourage each other in His grace and in His working in and through us.

  3. I think 'growing in Grace' can be connected to developing an attitude of heart towards who we really are. I would link to my post on this Having it and putting it on are two different things.
    My biggest struggle is 'resting' which is really another term for walking by faith. I would say growing is nothing but continually understanding the height, width, breadth and depth of His amazing love.

  4. Well said, Bino.

    It is insanely difficult to live by faith moment by moment. ESPECIALLY with non-spiritual battles like work, school, driving, etc. I guess they are spiritual since we are spiritual, but I'm referring to something other than battling temptation. Which is learning to acknowledge God in all situations and trust Him in the midst of them. Whether it be energy for work, wisdom for school, and a good attitude when driving. These are the places I lose sight of Him the most.

  5. Bino, I read your blog earlier but didn't have time to comment on it till just now. As I read it, it had "growing in grace" written all over it (in my eyes) and I'm glad you linked to it. I think we can continuously grow in our understanding of what we already have and in the practical application of everything we already have. We are complete in Christ, and God's grace provides all we need for life and godliness, and we live "from" a state of completeness, rather than thinking anything we do can make us more complete. To me, that's a big part of what growing in grace is.

  6. Matthew, you're so right... It's not just about overcoming temptations, but it's about everything in life. Every moment, every situation, every circumstance. Trusting God in everything, and appropriating His life as ours. This truly involves a lifelong growing process, as far as I've come to understand. Resting in Him doesn't come automatically since our preprogrammed brains have previously been set on self-sufficiency. Thankfully, He gives us grace to renew our minds over the long haul, and we find that we rest in Him more and more.

  7. Thats the key thing for me, Joel. Learning that there is no instant jello mix for the Christian life. Even trusting Christ to be my life isn't a "set in the fridge overnight and it's ready in the morning" kinda thing.

    I guess I tend to be a perfectionist. I want immediate results.

    Darn those darn those late night infomericals! Putting crap into my head while I sleep!

  8. Joel,

    To me there is no better picture of God's grace and what growing in grace means than adoption. The bible says that we have been adopted to be sons, but not only sons we are heirs of God. God chose us and saved us by His grace. Growing in grace is the process of getting to know our new father. We are fearful at first because we don't know what to expect. We are used to being orphans, fending for ourselves, not trusting anyone completely, not loving with all out heart because we fear rejection.

    Our new Father is unlike anyone or anything we have ever known, He loves us completely and totally accepts us just the way we are. We just aren't used to that and it takes us a while to believe it and accept it. Because of this, we don’t trust Him completely, nor do we love him with all our hearts. We grow in grace when we become more and more convinced of His love and acceptance and we grow to love Him and trust Him more completely. When we make a mistake and sin we are fearful that our new Father will lower the boom or even kick out of His house, but He reassures us that, even though we did something we shouldn’t have, we are still His children and nothing we could do could ever change that. Growing in grace is Him teaching us that nothing can separate us from His love, not even our sin.

    I could continue on, but you get the idea. In one sentence, growing in grace is the process of God winning the heart of His new child and the new child learning the heart of his new Father and giving his heart to the Father.

    In Christ,

  9. Thanks, everyone, for your thoughtful comments. You've all helped me to solidify some thoughts I've already had and also to expand my thinking quite a bit. I hope we've all done that for each other and will continue to do that!

    Matthew, that's sooo true about there being no instant jello mix for the Christian life! It would be so much easier to think of life in Christ as "set it and forget it," but that's not how it works by any means. If our minds and hearts are constantly changing and fluctuating, we need to renew our minds moment by moment and day by day, so that we come closer to the point of simply breathing the life of Christ naturally, rather than having our thoughts and attitudes fluctuating with every shift of the wind.

    Gary, our adoption into the family of God truly is a great picture. Things are so different in this family than in our previous family and it takes time to grow and become settled in the truth and reality of this new life! We have a Father who always reassures us of our identity in Him, but our hearts and thoughts are so easily led astray by our former way of thinking and by the things of this world that are so different from Him and His truth.

  10. I forgot to mention my excitement when you mentioned the possibility of writing a book.

    Maybe a few free autographed books for your blog buddies? hehe ;)

  11. "Let them eat cake." Haha!

    Really, all of you 'blog buddies' have been a great source of life and encouragement, and I know that the "book" of my life would not be complete without you all. I've prayed for fellowship with other like-minded saints and you have all been a huge answer to my prayers!