14-16 "The grace of our Lord was poured out on me abundantly, along with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners--of whom I am the worst. But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display His immense patience as an example for those who would believe in Him and receive eternal life."
1 Timothy 1:14-16 (NIV)
The Butler University men's basketball team came to a big realization in a game. The Bulldogs were trailing by 16 points at halftime, 41-25.
Sitting in the locker room, quiet, the team came to the realization that they had just been punched in the mouth. Once that fully set in, the drive to respond kicked in, and they marched on to outscore their opponent by 24 in the second half. Sure was a memorable, hard-fought win.
It's amazing what sudden, right realizations can do.
Ever had an “Aha!” moment? Have you suddenly seen something or someone more clearly or come to a big realization lately? I bet it affected your direction and decisiveness, but good. It's amazing what better perspective will bring! All of us are better for it.
I'm wondering to what degree the following have become big realizations and really set in with you and me regarding our relationship with God. I'm curious to sense, like the apostle Paul, how much these things are changing how we now live. Let's take a closer look into today's Scripture.
GRACE RECEIVED: In Jesus we have been given radical grace by God; faith and love too. All three have been poured out on us. Can you see it, sense it? Has that reality really set in? Do you feel the “wow,” the unmerited extravagance of it all?
MERCY SHOWN: Through Jesus we receive ridiculous mercy. God's wrath on us gets transferred to His Son. My sin is atoned for by another, and I am permanently pardoned. Can you believe it, sense it? Has that reality really set in? Do you feel the wildly justified “wow” of it all?
I'M THE WORST: My sin really deserves God's wrath. Judgment should fall on me. Do you feel the weight of your sin and your unworthiness before a holy God? Have you come to a big realization about this?
HE'S THE BEST: Do you feel lifted by God's grace and mercy? No one provides grace and mercy and lifts like God in Christ. His grace and mercy gifts are boundless, endless, free - rolling like a mighty river. My abundant and eternal life pivots on this and drinks from this. Are you carrying this big realization? Have you actually accepted these gifts?
Reflect: Have you come to any great realization lately? If so, what is it? What's your next move in light of this? Is it time for some serious adjustments out of the “locker room”?
Have you ever acknowledged Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior, King and Redeemer? Have you come to that realization of who He really is and how you must respond to His grace and mercy gifts in loving, obedient worship?
A suggested prayer: O Lord, don't let me ever get over the fact that You saved me, that You've graced me far beyond what I deserve and shown me mercy beyond measure. May these realizations stay big, and may I live large in light of them.
In fact, help me to be great at extending grace and showing mercy to others as I've received it so well from You. May my fight for Your glory in and through my life ever be strong in light of this. Amen.