Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Your Grace is Showing

“For this is a gracious thing, when, mindful of God, one endures sorrows while suffering unjustly.” (1Peter 2:19 ESV)

And there’s the rub – Christians who are not “mindful of God.” Having been saved by grace, we resort to living by our wits, trying to figure out how not to get beat by the system. We’ve got our ticket to heaven. Now we must find our way in the world.

But there is such a thing as a Christian calling, and that is to be a Christ-follower. When Jesus submitted to suffering, he introduced to the world a scent from heaven – grace, that must be dispersed again and again by scattered people.

So here you are, caught in a system that you did not create, a slave to a master you did not choose. So long as it works well for you, it is tolerable. But when it pinches, then we are trained (by the world, not God) to cry and complain. “This is not right. It is not fair. I don’t deserve this.”

That’s what Jesus did, right? When he was reviled, he whined. When he suffered, he protested. When he was nailed to the cross, he vowed to retaliate. No, he submitted, in order that the grace of God could do it’s powerful work in a sinful world, in sinful people who in no way deserve God’s grace.

I think of Naaman’s servant in 1 Kings, an Israelite captured in a Syrian raid and now working in a foreign captain’s home. When he contracted leprosy, she could have wished that he would rot in hell. Have you ever wished that on a boss? But what showed was not her resentment, but her grace. “There is a prophet in Israel. He can help.” Why stick out her neck? Why bother? Because grace was a powerful force in her life, and she was “mindful” not merely of her self and her own situation, but “of God.”

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