Thursday, May 26, 2011

A Dfficult Commandment to Obey

Life would be easier if all we had to concentrate on was following the Ten Commandments. God knew that it would take only ten to convince us that we can't make it without him. Adding to that challenge, he slipped even more into scripture, here and there.

Recently I found yet another and I didn't like it. It stepped on my black-and-white, fair-and-unfair nerve. I winced to consider the stretching that this one will require.

It's found in 2 Peter 3:18. There Peter warns against error and presents the command, “...grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.” Why would this be difficult? Because it requires me to continuously choose to do that which is against my nature.

Some commandments I've not broken, probably because I haven't been tempted. Others simply required my resistance or avoidance, as indicated by the words flee, separate, and do not go. However, extending grace violates my self-interest, my reasoning, my judgments and my self-protection. Peer pressure and worldly values add to the challenge. Our world system sometimes permits mercy but grace? Next to never.

Grace flows out of our desire to extend God's compassion to his children, lost and found. Our perspectives prevent us from seeing what God sees. As we pray, God shares his response to those we reject. We need the eyes of God to recognize moments to grow in grace.

Gracious character develops in us when we choose to embrace God's nature. Awareness of God's favor lavished upon us motivates us to spill over onto others. Grace exercises God’s forgiveness, compassion and hope toward all, especially those who don't expect it.

How does grace affect my serenity? And what is involved in this growth process? Stop by tomorrow.