Athlete, Learn the Meaning of Grace
2 Corinthians 4:13-15 (ESV)
Since we have the same spirit of faith according to what has been written, “I believed, and so I spoke,” we also believe, and so we also speak, knowing that He who raised the Lord Jesus will raise us also with Jesus and bring us with you into His presence. For it is all for your sake, so that as grace extends to more and more people it may increase thanksgiving, to the glory of God.
There are some Christianese-type words — even the good and holy ones, like love and peace and mercy — that I find myself needing to relearn every now and then.
This year, it was grace. Sunday after Sunday, our pastor would quote Scripture — ”For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith”; “Your lips have been anointed with grace”; “Out of His fullness we have all received grace in place of grace already given”; “Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.”
I don’t know what it was — you might say it was just a season of slumber, or perhaps I hadn’t really wrestled with God in a while to refine my faith, or you might even say it was the enemy trying to thwart my belief.
Whatever it was, I found myself wondering about the word grace nearly all the time — during church service, mid-sermon; on the subway while reading through Ephesians; in conversation with a friend.
What does grace mean when you haven’t paused to define it and visualize it in forever?
What does grace mean when people abuse the term, when they really mean to say “ignore” or “enable” or “diminish” wrongdoing?
What does grace mean when it’s more of a saying — she’s so graceful; thanks for gracing us with your presence.
So I started from scratch. Somehow it was placed on my heart — probably by the Lord — that grace is a gift. If mercy is the act of God sparing my life despite my sin because of Jesus’s sacrifice, then grace is the above-and-beyond-ness.
This launched me into a beautiful journey of seeking and relying on God to teach me what grace is. And when I ask for the Lord’s help and guidance, Oh, Boy! Does He deliver!
Morning by morning, I encountered the trillion small and huge ways that the Lord has shown grace to me. And by that I mean, not just a small glimpse, but an overwhelming abundance of it.
Grace is the crisp coolness of a morning, gentle on the skin. Didn’t earn it, but I’ll gladly take the gift. Grace is the joy I feel when I’m having a soulful conversation with close friends over dinner, the freedom I feel when I find myself suddenly so far from old, unhealthy habits I’ve been praying for years to break free from.
Grace is the unrelenting, always-loving pursuit of a Savior who doesn’t just step in to save me from hurting myself, but is constantly caring for me and equipping us with everything we need to make this world more whole, and for everyone to feel loved like this.
The Bible perfectly captures this kind of abundant and multiplying grace:
“Since we have the same spirit of faith according to what has been written, “I believed, and so I spoke,” we also believe, and so we also speak, knowing that He who raised the Lord Jesus will raise us also with Jesus and bring us with you into His presence. For it is all for your sake, so that as grace extends to more and more people it may increase thanksgiving, to the glory of God” (2 Corinthians 4:13-15).
Paul takes us to church here, because he describes so intricately how lavish is the grace gifted to us. What’s more is the way this visual takes us even further: Grace is lavishly poured unto us, yes, but moreover, it actually overflows to reach everyone.
It can’t be contained within us; it pours into us and onto others, so that all may taste and see the glory of God.
Reflect: What are some words from Scripture that you find yourself needing to reinvigorate and make fresh and new in your mind and heart? What are some ways you see grace appear in your own story?