19 Jul God’s Presence, Grace Unleashed
One of the truisms of life is that to achieve anything of significance, consistency is required over a long period of time. To be in good shape physically, we have to maintain a regular exercise regimen and make healthy food choices not just for one day, but day after day, week after week, month after month, and year after year.
To develop a meaningful relationship, we must invest time and effort to get to know someone, and if that relationship is to grow and be sustained over time, our effort can’t top after one of two encounters. Deep connection is built over a long period, as our shared experiences provide opportunities for us to consistently practice trust and care.
And to raise a human being who is not a total brat requires parents to set clear and age-appropriate boundaries and to calmly, lovingly enforce those boundaries day in, day out, especially when the inevitable tantrums and meltdowns occur. Parents need thick skin (or Teflon coating) to withstand the embarrassment of a screaming two-year old and the dumbest parent in the world” eye-rolls of an adolescent. But with consistent and loving reinforcement, children mature into solid citizens and delightful young adults. (And it is amazing how much “smarter” parents become by the time kids are in their early twenties, so don’t give up, parents!)
Business, work, education, sports, money management—you name it, consistency is critical to long-term success. And the same is true in our spiritual lives, as well.
Developing a profound walk with God happens over years, not days. It is as I practice the spiritual discipline of prayer, as I am faithful to corporate worship, as I attend to the needs of a faith community, and as I delve into scripture with regularity that God, over time, becomes a trusted, daily companion in the ups and downs of life.
Of course, no one is perfectly consistent in everything all the time. Sometimes I have a “bad eating week,” or I am not patient with my children, or I give advice instead of simply listening to the friend who needs to talk. Life happens, and illness, grief, fatigue, and stress all impact our ability to make the good decisions we know are best, the ones we want to make. It is important to remember that consistency does not require us to be perfect. Grace is God’s gift that covers all the ways we are less consistent than we’d like to be. Receiving grace helps me recover more quickly, to get back on the right track rather than lingering on the wrong path. It’s what enables me to limit the damage so that a “bad eating week” doesn’t become a “bad eating month.”
The thing about grace is that it is readily available. I am the one who limits the power of grace in my life, not God. So, I’m paying more attention this week, allowing my focus on God’s presence to be a catalyst for a greater unleashing of grace in my life. May I encourage you to do the same?
Yours for the Kingdom,