Standing Strong Through the Storm - Tuesday, September 10, 2013

UNGRACE

The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth. John 1:14

Yesterday we concluded that “grace” is Christianity’s best gift to the world! It’s a force stronger than vengeance, stronger than racism, stronger than hate. But sadly to a world desperate for this grace, the church sometimes presents one more form of what Philip Yancey calls “ungrace.”

Charles Swindoll in his book, The Grace Awakening, powerfully lists these enemies of grace as:

  1. From without: legalism, expectations, traditionalism, manipulation, demands, negativism, control, comparison, perfectionism, competition, criticism, pettiness and a host of others.
  2. From within: pride, fear, resentment, bitterness, an unforgiving spirit, insecurity, fleshly effort, guilt, shame, gossip, hypocrisy, and many more.[1]

Nothing has the power to change us from within like the freedom that comes through grace. And grace has very practical outworking in our lives.

  1. A greater appreciation for God’s gifts

    Those who claim the freedom God offers gain an appreciation for the gifts that come with life: the free gift of salvation, life, laughter, music, beauty, friendship and forgiveness.

  2. Less time and energy being critical or concerned about other’s choices

    When you begin to operate in the context of grace and freedom, you become increasingly less petty. You will allow others room to make their own decisions in life, even though you may choose otherwise. A grace-full Christian is one who looks at the world and others through “grace-tinted lenses.”

  3. More tolerant and less judgmental

    When you are so involved in your own pursuit of grace, you’ll no longer lay guilt trips on those with whom you disagree.

  4. A giant step toward maturity

    As your world expands, thanks to an awakening of your understanding of grace, your maturity will enlarge. You will become more like Jesus and you will never be the same!

RESPONSE: Today I will determine to avoid those things that prompt “ungrace” in my life.

PRAYER: Lord, I don’t want to live any longer in the same old ways. Help me to become more like Jesus.

1. Charles R. Swindoll, The Grace Awakening (Dallas: Word Publishing, 1990), pp. 5-14.

Standing Strong Through The Storm (SSTS), a daily devotional message by SSTS author Paul Estabrooks. © 2011 Open Doors International. Used by permission.

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