“Through him and for his names’ sake, we received grace and apostleship to call people from among all the Gentiles to the obedience that comes from faith. And you also are among those who are called to belong to Jesus Christ.” Romans 1:5-6 New International Version
Within most humans there is a deep rooted need to belong, to be part of something more than just themselves. There are also those who cherish solitude. They are in their element, feel most secure when left to themselves. They do require interaction with others; I think we all need some form of interaction with others so we remain balanced. However, those who cherish time to themselves prefer to decide when their need for human contact will happen.
I have often been described as a social butterfly, which is not too surprising as I was born with the personality of an extrovert. I had a difficult time understanding introverts; then I married one! Funny, it never really came up during our dating years. But we all know what late teen — early twenties boys/men are like. I think I will leave it at that for now.
The reason I mention this little tidbit of information is because through the illness and the stuff of life issues I have done a 180 degree change. Maybe not a complete 180, but nearly a 180! I have become more introverted. I’m not sure if it’s a permanent personality change, or just a bump in my extrovert road. This I do know, there has been a significant change in who I am compared to who I was.
If someone knew me 13 years ago, they might pick-up on the difference. People change over the years, and the changes are especially noticeable if we haven’t seen them very much during the elapsed time. It seems we understand people change, yet we are often quite surprised when we discover how significant that change has been.
We are faced with a multitude of choices everyday. Quite a few of those choices are routinely made without the need to think them through. Other choices may need attention, but will not cause us to lose much sleep. However, there are certain decisions, those choices which can and often do disturb our nights with worry and fear. We long to sleep, to shut out the spinning words, pictures, fears, worries, all the while knowing there is nothing we can do to change how those decisions must be answered.
As Paul pens his letter to the believers in Rome, the words of his greeting reveal the direction his mind is pulling him. Paul begins his letter drawing attention to Jesus, the Resurrected. Paul offers these words as evidence enough to identify Jesus as the son of God and Man, a descendent of King David’s line. Jesus, so like and yet quite different from those He was sent to save from death.
Paul continues to widen for us an understanding of what is ours, what we were given, what was placed in our hands. Paul recognizes Grace is a gift that is bestowed on those who believe and trust. Jesus made it possible for us to receive Grace. Because of His name we have access to His Grace! Paul pens it this way, “Through him and for his name’s sake, we received grace…” (Romans 1:5) It is ours because Jesus gave it, there is no other way to have the Grace of God. Accept the Gift Jesus gives, the alternative isn’t worth contemplating.
Grace has a purpose, actually several purposes, one being to introduce others to God’s Grace and the obedience revealed in a faith relationship made possible by the Grace that is ours in Jesus.
The very process of Grace is taking from us all that is harming us and filling us with all that is preparing us to live in Eternity with our Creator.
Jesus calls us to belong to Him; it doesn’t matter what you have done or haven’t done, Jesus gives Grace, Jesus gives forgiveness, Jesus gave Himself, because of what we have done or not done. He took all that is rebellion against His Kingdom, and all that cannot enter His Kingdom, on Himself. Everything in every person, every being, from the first moment of rebellion in the Garden to the last moment of rebellion at the end of days Jesus took to the Cross!
Each day we can choose to live in God’s Grace; each day we can ask God to make His Grace a reality in our lives. Paul’s opening words to the Romans are just as significant today as they were two thousand years ago. They may be even more crucial as we contemplate our lives, our families, the tremendous need we have for the Grace of Jesus calling us home, calling us to see the needs around us, to make a difference for someone.
One of those diamond shaped facets of Grace is seeking a way to let others know about Jesus. It is not about us trying to change their behavior, but trying to introduce them to the One who gave His all for them.
The majority of people really don’t need anyone telling them they’ve got issues. I know I’m dragging around steamer trunks of useless baggage. Most of us are. We need to hear, to meet the Baggage Handler who will dump all the luggage into the depths of the Lake of Fire! I’d bet no one is going to go looking for their excess baggage there!
Grace offers so much more to our lives here and now. Grace as a process under the supervision of the Comforter changes everything. It’s a day by day journey until that moment when everything changes in response to the blast of a trumpet and the voice of the Creator calling us home.
We don’t need to make it complicated, there are enough things complicating our lives today. At least there are in mine, both the real and the imaginary. We can spend a lot of time debating all kinds of issues, and as far as I can tell many of the issues being fought over today go back a long way, a very long way! And they don’t appear to be any closer to being solved now.
Jesus asked us to love each other. He had a specific purpose for that request, if we could follow His directive it would turn the world upside down. Actually, what Jesus said was, “…if you will love each other the world will know the Father sent me!”
One simple request, no moving mountains, no need to fight demons, no authority given to police anyone. Just one simple request—made by Jesus.
“So I give you a new command: Love each other deeply and fully. Remember the ways that I have loved you, and demonstrate your love for others in those same ways. Everyone will know you as My followers if you demonstrate your love to others.” John 13:34-35 The Voice
[contact-form-7 404 "Not Found"]