God and grace are the same. One defines the other. He overwhelms us with His grace and then He says He gives us “more grace.”1 It’s one of those impossible to understand traits of God.
There are however some embedded Christian sayings that actually mean the opposite, but sound really good. One of these is “the grace has lifted.”
What Does It Mean?
It is a saying I heard often when I was a kid. Recently I said that in regard to a situation. My daughter, who was home for a visit, said, “What does that mean anyway?”
I told her I thought it meant that as long as God was intending me to do something, His grace was covering it and I felt good about it. When everything seemed to be coming against it, I would begin to feel that it was time to move on and “His grace had lifted.”
As I heard myself explaining this saying that rolls easily off my tongue when I want to stop doing something that is hard, I realized, “God has grace for EVERYTHING.” There is not a thing He doesn’t have grace for. Every failure, every success, every circumstance, He has grace for it.
“From His fullness we have all received grace upon grace; as the Law was given through Moses, so grace and truth came into being through Jesus Christ.”2
So if we have Jesus, we have grace. We also have truth. Truth makes grace possible. Without the truth of why Jesus came, died and rose again to set us free, there would be no grace. It is through grace by our faith we are saved.3
It is through God’s grace that He redeemed us, saved us, ransomed us from our eternally decrepit state.
I cannot “blame” God when I am facing something hard. I can’t use the excuse of, “Well, God just didn’t give me grace for that.” That’s a lie. The truth is, He gives me grace for every little thing in my life.
The choices I make are mine, based on what I believe He is showing me or how He is leading me. Sometimes we have to slog through the hard stuff to get to the victory.
Grace Through Difficulties
I was watching an episode of Biggest Loser, one of only a few tv shows I watch by dvr. The challenge was to go through an obstacle course, which included a mud pit, memorize a sequence of colors on a board, go back through the course and recreate the colors on your board at the end. The first one to do it right won.
But if you didn’t do it right, it was back through the course and the mud to see the puzzle again, memorize again and go back through the mud to fix your sequence. They did it until one person one.
Interestingly it was not the person who got through the course the fastest that won. It was the one with a plan of how to memorize the colors by associating them with names. She took her time and memorized. She only made two trips through the course before she got it. No one else was even close.
She stuck with it. She tried harder. She had patience for the journey. She could have said, “I give up. I can’t do this. I don’t have grace for this.” Her eye was focused on the prize at the end of the challenge.
Whatever you are going through, God will give you grace to go through it until the time at which you can leave. Stay the course. Hang on to Him.
Grace Through Failures
And if you fail, He’s even got grace for that.
“We have been ransomed through his Son’s blood, and we have forgiveness for our failures based on his overflowing grace, which he poured over us with wisdom and understanding.”4
Grace in light of our failures is probably the most difficult to understand, accept and embrace. Why would God give me grace for my failures when I know better? Why would He forgive me when I should never have done it in the first place.
The truth of grace is it is given so we don’t have to stay stuck where we are. God doesn’t want us to fail, but if we do fail, He will forgive us if we ask.
My biggest failure was not taking care of my body and gaining a tremendous amount of weight. He had truth for how to get out of my situation, but I didn’t listen for years. And still His grace wooed me time and time again.
Why would He be so patient with me until I finally listened? Why is He patient with you in your area of weakness?
Grace to Do Kingdom Work
The reason is simple. We are His hands and feet on the earth. We are a chosen people called to do His work. Grace is the power house that allows us to go forward in spite of our human failures.
“As each of you has received a gift, a particular spiritual talent, a gracious divine endowment, employ it for one another as befits good trustees of God’s many-sided grace, faithful stewards of the extremely diverse powers and gifts granted to Christians by unmerited favor.”5
Peter goes on to say that whatever we do we do it “as with the strength which God furnishes abundantly, so that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, the Messiah.”6
In other words, God gives us gifts because of His grace. We are stewards of these gifts and whatever we do with the gifts we do through God’s strength. And here’s the entire reason behind every ounce of grace, “so that in all things God may be glorified.
Be grace greedy. Drink it up. It’s only when we apply grace to every needy area we have that God’s purpose will be fulfilled.
To answer my question, His grace never, never, never lifts unless we turn our backs on Him completely.
1 James 4:6 NIV
2 John 1;16-17 Common English Bible
3 Ephesians 2:8-9 NIV
4Ephesians 1:7-8 Common English Bible
5 1 Peter 4:10 AMP
6 1 Peter 4:11 AMP
Teresa Shields Parker is an author, speaker and coach. Her bookSweet Grace: How I Lost 250 Pounds is the #1 Christian weight loss memoir on Amazon. Sweet Grace Study Guide gives practical tips on weight loss. Her new book, Sweet Change: True Stories of Transformation, published Dec. 2014, shares the stories of 17 individuals on the weight loss journey and includes much information from Teresa. Downloadable pdfs of all books are available under the products tab.
Sweet Change Weight Loss Coaching and Accountability Group provides support, encouragement, weekly videos, action steps and an online group for those wanting to be intentional about their weight loss efforts.
To request Teresa to speak at your event, please contact her here.