Water for the Thirsty
Weekly Devotional

Water for the Thirsty

Living by Grace

Weekly Devotional

‘As the deer pants for streams of water so my soul pants for you, O God’. (Psalm 42:1)
‘…Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, "If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink”…’ (John 7:37)

31st October 2010

What does it mean to live by grace in our daily lives?

Here are a few thoughts:

1. Only compare yourself to Jesus and not other people.

A works-based religious person always sizes themselves up by comparing what they do with other people. It’s easy to come out on top by looking at someone who has is not doing very well. But if you want to get the true picture look at how Jesus reacted and interacted with people and use that as a gauge.

2. Focus on the true heart of God toward people.

God’s heart is so filled with love and compassion for sinners which means all of us. When we assume He quickly moves in judgment to punish the sinner, we will do the same. The Bible is very clear that He is very longsuffering and patient.

The greatest truth for us all is that God is love! This is the divine motive that enables all of us to receive His grace through Jesus. If we are grace-based, we will seek the same motive in our attitude toward people in need of it.

3. You are aware of your true condition apart from God’s grace.

This is what Paul had in mind when he wrote to the church in Galatia concerning restoring a fallen brother. ‘…you who are spiritual restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness, considering yourself lest you also be tempted’ (Galatians 6:1 NKJ)

Paul knew that if the spiritual leaders forgot their own true condition in the process of restoration,

  • They would become harsh instead of gentle
  • They would ostracize instead of restore
  • They would mete out judgment instead of mercy and grace

We do the same when we forget who we are without grace. Jesus taught we are not qualified to remove the speck until we deal with our own log. Being aware of this is an indicator that you are living a grace-based life.

4. Your list of rules is growing shorter.

I find it interesting that Jesus seemed to reduce things to their true essence. He summed up the entire law with two short and simple statements:

  • Love God!
  • Love people!

He exposed the Pharisees who made their many lists in order to achieve holiness. By the way, what does true holiness look like? It’s simply Jesus. Use all the scripture texts you want, but at the end of the day, it boils down to the fact that God had to come in the form of a man (Jesus) in order to show us what a holy life lived in a human body looks like. Give our religious bent a list of things to do and a list of behaviours to avoid, and we are happy. We can check off the lists and declare we are holy because of what we have done and not done. But God says, “NO!”

  • He looks at the heart
  • Man looks at outward actions
  • He looks inside the cup
  • Man looks at the outside of the cup

If the lists of do’s and don’ts would work, Jesus could have stayed in heaven and spared himself a lot of pain. Our goal should be to have the heart of Jesus toward the Father and toward others.

5. You don’t secretly rejoice when someone messes up.

This amounts to being a selfish opportunist. In other words, someone else’s misfortune becomes the means for you to gain something in some way. For example, the reserve footballer that desires the first choice player to get injured so he will get his chance. The employee who hopes the boss gets fired so he can be promoted. The churchgoer who is pleased if the deacon gets caught with his fingers in the till so he can ‘move up’.

We can exalt ourselves by showing how other people have done something terrible that we have not done. A grace-based attitude does not do this but realizes that if it were not for grace it would be me.

So, how you doing?

I know I’ve got a long way to go.

But by the grace of God we’ll grow in that direction.

Have a good week living by grace.

Pastor Barry

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