Grace Encounters: Go With the Flow

Last post I examined VGS, Vanishing Grace Syndrome. This malady masquerades in many forms but can be boiled down to believing the world’s inhabitants exist to do whatever they want as long as they meet “My” personal needs 24/7/365, and are quick to forgive “Me” whenever “I” fall short of their expectations. The next step into the grace foray plunges us into an ocean with two currents. Reconnect with Crash, the Sea Turtle from Finding Nemo. He understood how to Go with the Flow. We need to do the same in order to have more godly Grace Encounters.

The first current represents the grace people willingly pour out toward others. Jesus masterfully shares grace to the woman He meets at the well in John 4, to the mother who lost her child in Luke 7 and to the friends as well as the paralytic in Mark 2 to name a few. I quickly recall times I expressed grace: to a woman who needed help lugging her suitcase up a long stair case when the airport escalator broke down, to assisting a family moving its luggage with several young children. However, I also quickly recall my anger at less than gifted drivers and people who lack self-awareness with how they walk and talk in public. We are all a work in progress in the extending grace area. As challenging as this is, the second current presents even greater going with the flow struggles.

Current two depicts the grace that flows toward us. I want to begin this section by making a bold statement. This is not found in the Bible. In fact I encourage you to take this statement and hold it up against Scripture. Let God speak to you about whether or not you believe I am speaking truth. Here it is . . . standing in the way of people comprehending and living out the full extent of God’s grace is the ability they have to accept grace from people and themselves. In brief, can you truly grasp God’s grace if you cannot give yourself grace for your shortcomings or the faults others point out to you? People catch God’s glimpses. This causes them to embrace Him as Savior. Knowing Him as Lord, however, involves a deeper surrendering. Think about the following phrase- “You are your own worst enemy.” Sound familiar?

Benefits flow from having an assiduous work ethic, but what happens when tasks are not completed? What internal thoughts emerge when others or you question your gifts, talents, and appearance? Scripture explains we are to love our neighbor as we love ourselves. When we do not allow ourselves to receive grace we create a barrier to loving ourselves. This barrier begins to make it difficult to believe we are worthy of receiving anyone’s grace. Begin to see how intimacy with God lies further down a path than we can walk IF we cannot receive grace from others or extend it to ourselves.

Reflect on what God sees and how He emotionally responds when He thinks about you. Add to this reflection the way you look at yourself and how you perceive others. Allow God to work in your heart bringing you to a place where grace can truly flow. Then Go With That Flow!

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