Friday Thoughts: Evidences of Grace
A number of years ago I heard, for the first time, wonderful teaching from C.J. Mahaney in regards to encouraging one another by pointing out evidences of God's grace at work in others (click here for a recent video of his teaching on the same at SGCL). We are so often blind to the work of God in our lives and tend to see only the areas needing drastic improvement. In reality, God is at work in each of his children and we need to become more aware of it! Yes, we need to know about and grow in those areas needing improvement but we need to be more aware than ever of God's hand of grace in our lives. I believe that C.J. is right when he says:
“...we will motivate others by grace when we perceive where and how He is at work in their lives and humbly let them know. They need to know because so often they’re unaware. Too many Christians are more readily aware of the absence of God than they are of the presence of God, and they are more aware of sin than they are of grace. God is at work. We motivate others by grace when we help them to see this, and one of the greatest joys we can experience is when we watch them come to that awareness.” – C.J. Mahaney
Being motivated by grace...that's good and right motivation.
A few questions...are you more aware of your sin than you are the work of God in your life? How about your spouse? How about your kids? Others in your community group? Are those around us more aware of the ways that they disappoint us than the work of God in their lives? Generally speaking we all need to grow in pointing out evidences of grace in the lives of those God has placed around us and not just their shortcomings. Below is a list of evidences of grace for you to consider as you consider the work of God in those around you.
A List of Evidences of Grace
(Some signs that show God’s activity in a person)
|Belief in the Gospel||Trusts in Jesus’ death on the cross as satisfying God’s wrath for his or her sins; believes in God’s forgiveness, acceptance and favor through Jesus and puts no hope in personal performance (1 Corinthians 15:3-4; Romans 3:28)|
|Walking by Faith||Lives in a way that shows his or her trust that God’s word is true; doesn’t need to know how things will turn out before taking the next step (Colossians 2:6-7; 2 Corinthians 5:7; Hebrews 11)|
|Confession of Sin||Identifies areas in his or her life that are contrary to God’s will and admits to them before God and others (1 John 1:8-9; James 5:16)|
|Mortification of Sin||Grieves over his or her own offenses against God and takes action to sin less, depending on the Spirit’s power to do so (Romans 6:1-2; Acts 26:20; Romans 8:13)|
|Desire for Christlikeness||Wants the character of Jesus to be more obvious in his or her life (1 John 3:2-3; John 13:13-15)|
|Obedience to God||Willingly complies with any of God’s commanded attitudes or actions in Scripture (1 John 2:3-5)|
|Resisting Worldliness||Hopes in God rather than in the experiences and possessions of this life; isn’t ruled by cravings for things (1 John 2:15-17; Philippians 3:8)|
|Love Toward Others||Takes initiative to help others experience God’s goodness, including addressing their sin when necessary; is not self-focused and unaware of what others need (1 John 4:7; John 13:34)|
|Spiritual Fruit||Demonstrates love, joy peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control or other commendable qualities (Galatians 5:22-23)|
|Biblical Fellowship||Participates in discussion; shares about his or her current understanding and experience of God; isn’t silent (1 John 1:3)|
“Indeed, his[Paul’s] ability to give thanks for these Christians probably says much about his own character...In every redeemed person there is evidence of the grace of God, and that brings forth Paul’s gratitude, both to God and for them. To delight in God for his working in the lives of others, even in the lives of those with whom one feels compelled to disagree, is sure evidence of one’s own awareness of being the recipient of God’s mercies.” – Gordon Fee
Oh may we be a people who are marked by a constant awareness of the grace of God at work in one another. Take the time to look and see the work of God in one another...and then don't keep that to yourself, rather look the person in the eye and encourage them.