The church is made up of broken people, not one of them is perfect, even though at times they may not acknowledge that.
As I was reading this morning I read through Romans chapter 12, I was reminded of what the Church should look like. We aren’t there.
As we struggle with our insecurities and lack of confidence we stumble through and really mess this up… A LOT, but we aren’t too far off.
What may be the biggest missing element in it all is grace. Grace towards one another, grace towards ourselves and even to the ones who are
There needs to be grace to get things wrong, if we never fail we will probably never succeed. In fact, I would say that failure is a perquisite to success.
But the best part of grace, God’s grace, is that it is redeeming. It doesn’t allow us to rest on our failures, insecurities and short comings, it propels us toward perfecting these things in us. Grace is sanctifying. Imagine what the church would look like if it understood grace! Imagine what a grace filled bride of Christ would look like!
Imagine how things would look, if we had room to attempt and fail without judgement. That isn’t to say that we should attempt to do things without the end goal being success, quite the contrary. But when we attempt to do things with excellence our goal is success. When we attempt to do things with excellence and something goes wrong and maybe success isn’t seen should we just give up, walk away with our head down? NO WAY! If we have room for grace we have room for those failures, and if this is God’s grace that we are talking about it is redeeming! We learn from our failures and we move forward, better than before, more in the image of Christ than before… sanctified.
But when failure hits, and we lack grace, things go down hill. We give up, we get depressed, we doubt ourselves and our abilities.
WE NEED GRACE TO SUCCEED.
In proverbs Solomon consistently mentions correction, and that the wise (those with God’s hand of grace on them) accept it. Sometimes correction comes in the form of failure, and those who grasp God’s grace are able to accept that as a form of growth.
Scripture mentions, on more than one occasion, being refined by fire and refers to God as the refiner, watching over the precious metal not allowing it to get to hot or stay in the furnace for too long, but also allowing it to be refined by the fire. This is a form of Grace as well. But without the proper perspective one would clearly miss that.
We have to see that God’s grace is sometimes messy.
Sometimes it looks like failure.
But we have to be careful not to judge it based on what it looks like initially.
Grace is best viewed with in the lifetime of an individual, not within a day. And for our 140 character culture, maybe sometimes we don’t have time for that. Grace and patience go hand in hand, and if we are going to accept grace maybe we need to learn to focus our minds on the novel of life rather than the tweet of the moment. We need to learn to savor each and every word of the bigger picture instead of trying to condense a 3 hour movie into a 15 second trailer. A grace filled life is going to be the most adventurous story you may ever here, but you sure won’t be reading about it in a single post on social media, it is going to take a life time for you to see the full reward of a grace filled life.
Imagine if the Church invited grace to be part of it’s life. What if failure was allowed in the American church? What if we were allowed to try to do things as many times as we needed before getting it right? What if we also extended that grace to others, allowing them to not get things right every time, all the while encouraging then and doing what is within our ability to help them succeed on the next try. What would it look like if we all embraced our differences, our different gifts and worked together with Grace?
Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.
For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you. For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith; if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully.
Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in love.Honor one another above yourselves. Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.
Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited.
Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord. On the contrary:
“If your enemy is hungry, feed him;
if he is thirsty, give him something to drink.
In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.”
Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.