This is Part Two of my blog series on the four rules of life I’ve established for myself to give teeth to the phrase, making God look good.
Some words wear out – even some words in the Bible.
It’s not that they’re wrong. The Bible uses them. But it may be that certain words have become so familiar they’ve lost their original meaning – like billboards we’ve seen so often, we no longer even think about its message.
The word grace, or to be gracious is one of those wonderful words which has worn out – but it shouldn’t. The term “means of grace” is interpreted differently by various denominations when they’re describing baptism, communion and salvational grace. But there’s one use of that term on which all Christians agree.
God gives us good things we don’t deserve which we have the privilege and obligation to pass on to others. This too is part of the good news – the gospel. That’s why Peter writes that all of us, “should use whatever (grace) gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administrating (dispensing) God’s grace in its various forms.” I Peter 4:10 (parenthetical note, mine)
Be a Grace Dispenser The 10 second rule is a reminder to dispense, or give out what we’ve so generously received from God to others. So, when I say a kind word, I’m passing on the kindness Jesus has shown me. When I forgive, I’m passing on the forgiveness I’ve been given in Christ Jesus and from Christ Jesus. When I give money, which Jesus has deposited with me, I am the means of grace Jesus chooses to work through, to actually pass dollar bills or checks to another person. You and I are stewards of God’s grace. The reason Jesus uses us is to distribute it, because he’s not physically present anymore on earth – or is he…?
“But if Christ is in you, your body is dead because of sin, yet your spirit is alive because of righteousness.” Romans 8:10. We are Jesus’ stand-in!
Being Jesus’ Stand-in What does it mean to actually be Jesus’ stand-in? It can mean getting up each morning and literally beginning the day thinking of Jesus inside of you looking through your eyes – taking it all in, saying a prayer and going out from wherever you are, intent on being good and doing good in your sub-kingdom today. Perhaps your first opportunity is saying a kind word to a step-mother you’ve not yet grown to even like – a refusal to make exaggerated claims about your company’s services – having a cup of coffee with a neighbor who has made some awful choices – being kind to a “fringe kid” in school – refusing to enter into gossip, laugh at filth, or a racial slur. It’s intentionally looking for ways to “be Jesus” daily as if he lives in you – which he does!
“Every believer walks around, every day with undistributed grace.” Jim Samra
“Putting on” Christ Try this: I’ve asked my children or men I’m mentoring to close their eyes for a minute. Now imagine Christ actually living in you, full size. (Not a miniature Jesus living in your heart.) This Jesus fills your whole body from the skin, in. He’s looking out through your eyes. His fingers fill your fingers like a glove. Your tongue is now controlled by his tongue.
Now, today move through the entire day conscious that you are no longer you. You are filled with Christ and controlled by Christ. This is exactly the imagery Paul meant when he wrote, “I no longer live, but Christ lives in me, the life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God.” Gal. 2:20a
Every day we are assigned the noble task of bringing the extraordinary grace of God and the goodness of God to the ordinary tasks of life. “To generous souls, every task is noble.” (Euripides)
Do you have a personal reputation for going out of your way to be intentionally generous, kind and forgiving? Jesus does, so should we. So today, who will Jesus bless using your tongue – your hands – your mind – your smile.
Christ in you may be dying to get out more.
Following Jesus in Real Life