Summary: When we show people their worth, value, and importance by believing in them, we show grace. We validate people by assisting them in the ministry of building the kingdom of God and His righteousness. After this kind of affirmation, few persons will label u
Nineteen Ways to Be Strong in Grace (2 Tim 2:1)
"Be strong in the grace that it is in Christ Jesus." (2 Tim 2:1)
Learning how to balance the Bible’s emphasis of truth and grace is a continual struggle for most people working with legalists. There is such a thing as a healthy fear of God. Learning how to love, reverence and trust the Lord involves holding God in holy veneration. When we properly fear God, He becomes our sufficiency.
Illustration: There is a big temptation in Nigeria to smuggle gasoline to the surrounding countries where it is sold for an equivalent of $4.00 per gallon. In Nigeria, gasoline is sold for around $.50 a gallon. Several years ago, I remember reading about some gasoline smugglers who used their donkeys for carrying gallons of jerry tins over the mountain borders from Nigeria to Cameroon. However, one evening, a clever border custom official waited for the petrol smuggling donkey team along a deserted road. As the donkeys passed, with their jerry tins of fuel strapped to their backs, the smugglers spotted the border officials and ran away, leaving their donkeys to the custom officials.
The next day, the customs officer read a verse from Isaiah 1:3 that said, "The ox knows his master, the donkey his owner’s manger, but Israel does not know, my people do not understand." That official got a brainstorm. He decided not to feed the donkeys for two days. When he released the donkeys he secretly followed them back to their owner’s hideout. Very soon, the smugglers returned to claim their donkeys and they were arrested for attempting to smuggle gasoline out of the country without a permit.
When we walk in faith, we must also walk in the fear of God. Do not be deceived into thinking that little sins will not affect us. All sins have a way of finding us out. Sin leads to a death of a desire to love, serve, and do all of God’s will. The fear of God keeps us from little sins as well as the sins of omission. We will have to give account some day for every idle word, thought and action. Let a healthy fear of God keep you from straying. When we fear the Lord we will have no great needs. The young lions lack and suffer hunger, but they who fear the Lord will lack no good thing. Understanding God’s grace enhances a healthy fear of God.
The following list may give you some helpful tips in balancing out the ultra-conservatives’ tendency to give more weight to the law over the grace of our Lord.
HOW TO APPROPRIATE GOD’S GRACE
1. Most people want to be treated in a kind, gracious and respectful way. When one learns how to appropriate the grace of God, interpersonal relationships are developed in a genuine spirit of love. Without a proper appropriation of God’s grace to our communications, our maturity will be impeded. Paul, the apostle, once said, "When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me." (I Corinthians 13:11) Live life to your full potential by realizing that we, who are in Christ, are no longer under the
law, but grace. Exercise your freedoms for good.
Illustration: Henry Lyte, while dying of tuberculosis, wrote these inspiring words of God’s abiding grace that has become one of the popular hymns of the ages:
Abide With Me
Abide with me; fast falls the eventide;
The darkness deepens; Lord with me abide.
When other helpers fail and comforts flee,
Help of the helpless, O abide with me.
Swift to its close ebbs out life’s little day;
Earth’s joys grow dim; its glories pass away;
Change and decay in all around I see;
O Thou who changest not, abide with me.
Not a brief glance I beg, a passing word;
But as Thou dwell’st with Thy disciples, Lord,
Familiar, condescending, patient, free.
Come not to sojourn, but abide with me.
Come not in terrors, as the King of kings,
But kind and good, with healing in Thy wings,
Tears for all woes, a heart for every plea—
Come, Friend of sinners, and thus bide with me.
Thou on my head in early youth didst smile;
And, though rebellious and perverse meanwhile,
Thou hast not left me, oft as I left Thee,
On to the close, O Lord, abide with me.
I need Thy presence every passing hour.
What but Thy grace can foil the tempter’s power?
Who, like Thyself, my guide and stay can be?
Through cloud and sunshine, Lord, abide with me.
I fear no foe, with Thee at hand to bless;
Ills have no weight, and tears no bitterness.