Grace Extended, Week 3 ~ Letting It Spill Out

Grace like rain, poured out and overflowing into our lives.  There’s so much, isn’t there?  So much available and given, spilling out on us all.  

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Sunday morning I had the privilege of speaking with two ladies who are doing the study together, sharing how they’d sat for close to four hours one afternoon, talking about this grace that’s so poured out.  As I listened to their joy I wished so much that we could all just hang out and share about how we have seen and experienced this shower of grace.

So much grace… awakening us to God’s love, poured out so that we can receive it on a personal level.

But this week as we reach the midway point in our study, it’s all about to get very real.  Ephesians 1-3 gave us great details of grace and how ridiculously blessed we are.  But as we walk into the second half of the book, the overriding message is this:  So live it out.  Paul takes a turn and essentially says, “This grace is pretty awesome, but it can’t be just a great ideology.  This has got to be straight up lived out, with real-live-actual-people.”

It’s one thing to wake up to God’s grace.  It’s incredible to discover God’s gifts of personal salvation, and forgiveness, and acceptance.  These are essential truths for our lives and are absolutely critical in establishing our foundation.  But our personal story of grace cannot be the last word on the subject.

This grace must spill out of our lives and land on those around us. 

Grace Extended, to all those wonderful, easy people…and to those that…well, to those that aren’t. 

I think this one’s tough.  I think this whole thing of giving grace away is so challenging, because frankly, it involves other people.  

I can’t tell you how many times over the past few weeks that I’ve been in the middle of this study and one of my kids has provided a “special opportunity” for me to respond with a wholelottaemotion, and I’ve had to physically stop all motion, breathe deeply and ask myself, “Am I gonna extend grace?”    

Grace is great in theory.  But nobody around me is going to care one drop about how much grace I’ve studied or researched or taught.  

They’re only going to care about how much I show. 

At the end of the day nobody’s going to care if I know a bunch of great stuff about Paul or Ephesians, they’ll just want to know if I was willing to kneel right there with them in the middle of their pain and extend His kindness and love. 

Oh, I do not want to miss this one.  

And I so desperately need God’s transforming work in me, around me, and on me EVERY SINGLE DAY…anyone?

This Week {Week 3} ~ Grace Extended

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Thankfully, the second half of Ephesians is essentially a handbook on how to extend grace.  This week has so much goodness, I hope you’ll sit in these verses, take some sacred space for yourself, quiet your heart and listen to the Lord.

1.  Read Ephesians 4:1 – 6:9.  These two and a half chapters speak to themes of unity, holiness, and the use of our words.  They cover topics including marriage and raising our children, and how to do all things as unto the Lord.

2.  Pray.  I’m guessing that for most of us, it’s not difficult to show “general” grace.  Most of us are probably pretty nice to our Starbucks barista (right?), our bank teller, or our kid’s teacher.  Where this matters is with the people who we do life with every.single.day.  That woman who sits in the cubicle next to you, your neighbor, your husband, your children.  Your mom, or mother-in-law.  Pray and seek the Lord, ask Him to show you specifically how to extend grace to that one that’s…tough.  

Go one step further on this one:  ask God to change you from the inside out.  Because really, if we’re honest, we can maintain control of our emotions for a while, right?  We can try hard and work smart to stay on top of our reactions to others.  But essentially that’s just “sin management”.

Sin management is working tirelessly to respond well in the moment, to slap a bandaid on the issue, “be a good Christian” and do the right thing.  I’ve done this so many times in my life.

And it’s exhausting.

What I really need is transformation.  Transformation changes me from the inside out.  When I ask and allow God to do this level of work in me, my life is completely changed.  I begin to respond in ways I never knew were possible because it is God who is at work, not me.  He gets all the credit and all the glory.  Ask God to begin to change you from the inside out.  

3.  Extend.  Extend His grace to others.  This encouragement is found all over these three chapters…

I love how Ephesians 4 begins and ends with kindness.  Verse 2 begins with humility and gentleness and verse 32 bookends it with kindness and forgiveness.  What if our lives were wrapped in this encompassing kindness?  What if today began with humility and ended with forgiveness?  What if our words brought life and gave grace?   

Chapter 5 challenges us to make the most of every opportunity, to walk no longer in darkness but to live wide awake to His light and love.  Then gives clarity on loving and respecting our husbands…GRACE to our men.  Yes.  

Then Chapter 6 speaks to the relationship between parents and children, how grace goes both ways, and that ultimately we live and breathe for the Lord not for others.

As you read through these verses, take intentional notice of what stands out to you.  Find a notecard, write it down.  Put it where you might see, keeping His truth right before you.

Girls, this is where it matters.  Extending His grace to those people in our life that need it the most, which really, is all of them, yes?  I’m right there with you, soaking all of this up, asking God to help me get this to my core.  I want to live this life as if I actually believed God for all that He is.  I want to walk in a manner worthy of my calling.  To be a wife, a mom, a friend…a woman who is marked, inside and out, by grace

“Throw off your old sinful nature and your former way of life, which is corrupted…instead, let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes.  Put on your new nature, created to be like God – truly righteous and holy…be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you.”  Ephesians 4:22-24, 32 NLT

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See you back here Friday, as we take a “Weekend Walk”, an intentional exercise to enter His presence and experience His grace.

For additional encouragement and community throughout the week, find us on Facebook at facebook.com/womenwhobelieve.

Invite your friends to join us, from across the street or across the world.  Let’s live and breathe His grace together!

Tell us how God is stirring in your heart…there is something powerful that happens when we hear the testimony of others.  Tell us how you are waking up to God’s grace in your life!

 

 

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