1 Peter 5:10 NIV
And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.
AW Tozer once said, “A scared world needs a fearless church.” Today’s world is full of suffering and fear. In the midst of all the struggle, a strong steadfast church stands out like light shining into the darkness. Our current realities including a worldwide pandemic, political pressures, civil unrest, racial tensions, and so much more make for backdrop of darkness. That backdrop often generates a culture characterized by quite the opposite of the fruit of the Spirit Paul talks about in Galatians 5: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.
To those of us who claim to be followers of Jesus, here is a pertinent question for us:
“How would we affect the world if we daily intentionally fostered a culture of grace?”
In a world that is full of casting stones at others, what if we followed the example of Jesus that says, “Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone”(John 8:7)? In a world that hurls insults, what if we handed out kindness? In a world full of angry posts, what if we were known for making peace? In world filled with hatred, what if God’s church truly peddled hope? In a world where tearing down is commonplace, what if we found ways to build bridges. In a world where it is normal to make a point, what if we were focused on making a difference?
I don’t know about you, but I think such a culture would not just stand out but would change the world. Jesus did too, and the Kingdom culture He built through His church has changed the world for centuries. Let’s not stop now!
“Being a church characterized by Christ means being a people characterized by grace.”
Jesus was and is the full embodiment of grace and truth. Jesus personified grace and truth. He is all of both, all the time. So should we be. The world needs the truth of God like never before, so let’s stand for truth together in love. The best way to pursue that noble quest of standing for truth is to stand with grace as Jesus did. May we never neglect our utmost responsibility to be people of grace as His followers.
As for my church, Blackhawk Ministries, God has shown us His desire for us in 2021 is that it would be a year intentionally focused on fostering, cultivating, and multiplying a culture of grace and mercy. Such a culture must be modeled after the culture Jesus exemplified through His Word, life, ministry and design for His church. This starts with our own grasp of God’s grace poured out to us and spills over into our homes, workplaces, relationships with our church family, and outreach beyond our walls. “We love because He first loved us” (1 John 4:19). With this mindset, our capacity to relentlessly pursue our mission and vision with laser-like focus will exponentially increase. As it does, we will reach and equip people for the Kingdom of God at all new levels.
Let us strive to be a people of grace. Wherever you go, work to make it a place where grace abounds because you are there. May “the God of all grace who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ” restore you, make you strong, firm, and steadfast in a world that is struggling. “A scared world needs a fearless church.” I think one of the most fearless things we can do is foster grace even though hostility abounds.
How can you be a picture of the grace of Jesus in your world this week?
Let’s go find out together! As we do, God will accomplish the below verses from Isaiah in your life.
Isaiah 58:11-12 NIV
11 The Lord will guide you always;
he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land
and will strengthen your frame.
You will be like a well-watered garden,
like a spring whose waters never fail.
12 Your people will rebuild the ancient ruins
and will raise up the age-old foundations;
you will be called Repairer of Broken Walls,
Restorer of Streets with Dwellings.