Channels of Grace (8 August)

No more lying, then! Each of you must tell the truth to the other believer, because we are all members together in the body of Christ. If you become angry, do not let your anger lead you into sin, and do not stay angry all day. Don't give the Devil a chance. If you used to rob, you must stop robbing and start working, in order to earn an honest living for yourself and to be able to help the poor. Do not use harmful words, but only helpful words, the kind that build up and provide what is needed, so that what you say will do good to those who hear you.
Ephesians 4:25-29

Perhaps no subject is more important for us as believers to meditate on and understand than the subject of grace. So many of our struggles-from day to day and in the long term-stem from our inability or refusal to grasp what God's grace has done for us and continues to do each day.

I particularly like the definition of grace given by Philip Yancey: "Grace means there is nothing we can do to make God love us more; grace means there is nothing we can do to make God love us less." Everything we have, we have because God is a God of grace.

In the last verse of his second letter, Peter says something that, when I think about it, sounds a bit strange: "Continue to grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ." (2 Peter 3:18). It sounds strange to me because I am not sure what it can mean to "grow in grace." Does it mean I should grow in my understanding of God's grace? That is important, certainly. But perhaps there is an additional meaning.

Verse 29 in today's passage says literally, "that it may give grace to those who hear." In several places in the letters of the New Testament, we read of being "agents" of grace. In other words, God, who is "the God of all grace" (1 Peter 5:10), sometimes chooses to give grace to people through other people.

What we say to people can actually give grace. Unfortunately, it is all too obvious that things we say or do can have very negative effects on people. But God wants us to relate to those around us in a way that we reflect his character and are channels of his grace to others. "Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone." (Colossians 4:6) (NIV)

May God help me today to "grow in grace," to bring grace to every person and situation he puts me in.

- 8 AUGUST -

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