Grace that changes our lives
by Nanna Palkus, CBN Prayer Hotline
Grace has a name for me: Jesus!
He gave His life for me on the cross. He already loved me, when I did not know HIM yet. This is unconditional love and an undeserved gift and is called grace. I give my guilt and transgressions to Jesus and receive forgiveness in return – what a great exchange! Even my pain or powerlessness and helplessness I place in his hands and receive peace in return. Grace liberates and is more powerful than anything else. No man can give me that, but only Jesus.
A typical example of grace is found in the story of the prostitute who anointed Jesus’ feet (Luke 7:3-49). The woman has no name, but she is called a sinner or prostitute. She is so brave and goes to a meal where there are only men. She knows that Jesus is there and has recognized him in “his omnipotence” because she had bought anointing oil before and knew that only the encounter with Jesus could make her free from her sins. She went to Jesus, knelt before him and wept. Her tears fell on Jesus’ feet and the woman dried them with her hair and then she anointed his feet. The men around her made negative comments about her emotional actions and also about Jesus, since he probably could not see that a great sinner was touching him. But Jesus let the woman have her way and even took her back from the men by saying something to the host Simon: “A creditor had two debtors, one owed 500 denarii and the other 50, but since they had nothing to pay, he forgave both of them their debts. Now which of them will love the most?” Simon said, “I suppose the one to whom he gave the most.” Jesus replied, “You have judged correctly.” The story goes on, and it’s worth reading for yourself sometime. It reflects, among other things, that Jesus sees into each individual heart and responds to each one individually. There is no condemnation to be seen from Jesus’ side, but an invitation to repent to Him and receive the water of life for free (Revelation 21:6).
This is grace and only this will change our lives and enrich others as well.
In our church, we once broke down the word grace and looked at what is actually all in there. We see grace, which we are always allowed to accept and understand as an invitation for each new day, as a “red thread” for us, so to speak, and we try to put grace into practice and live it.
Fellowship – in breaking bread, sharing time and goods.
Discipleship – reading and living the Word of God.
Worship – giving God the 1st place, praising God and letting Him into all areas of life.
He is the head of the church
Serving – seeing need of people, I have nothing but Jesus has everything,
Expect signs and wonders – because Jesus loves to give.
Invite – share what you have experienced with Jesus, make His love known,
accepting people as they are, because Jesus does it too!
The above values are only held together by Jesus – because HE is the head and brings his life into the community. I can pass on what I have received from Jesus. Only in the relationship with Jesus I experience His grace and then I can also pass on this undeserved gift to other people. Where I judge or condemn other people, I have not yet understood the grace of God to the same degree. But I can go to Jesus with it and ask Him to give me His view of the person or situation, and I can exercise grace and grow in it.
Then I may ask myself: Can it be that I have no grace in dealing with myself? Do I then go to Jesus and ask Him for His thoughts and His view? Where do I find it difficult to look at others with eyes of grace or love? Where do I condemn the actions of others? Do I go to Jesus with this condemnation and ask for His view of grace? Can it be that I put a stamp on others, even though Jesus wants to lead these people to freedom? There is only one who has great interest in our not seeing and tasting grace and thus the love of God – that is the enemy of God. Where there is no grace, destruction and godlessness have the leading role. Let us stand up to him and reach out again and again for grace and his love. For in turning to our Lord, we show and give again and again our willingness for God’s will to be done, both in our thinking and in our actions.