Finding God's Grace

Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it. Proverbs 4:23 NIV

Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. 4 Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Philippians 2:3-4 ESV

Even though I became a Christian at a young age, I had a very legalistic view of what it meant to be a Christian. Perhaps, some of that came with the pressures of being a pastor’s kid and feeling like I had to be perfect because everyone was watching what I did. So, I learned that it was my actions that were important, and not my heart. I learned to hide my struggles, rather than talk about them because I did not want anyone to think I was not a good Christian. One example of this is that I have always struggled with a short temper. My anger will flare up fast but is usually short lived. I remember memorizing Bible verses about anger (Proverbs 15:1,18), as if it would be some magic cure for my temper. I was focusing on controlling the outward expression of my anger, rather than getting to the heart issue.

As my faith has matured, I have moved away from the legalistic view that I once had, to a view centered on God’s grace and mercy for me and others. I have learned, and am still learning, to focus on the heart of a matter.

A constant lesson I am learning from God is to change my perspective. My favorite lesson of this was several years ago when I was shopping at the grocery store around the holidays. I only needed a few items and I was in a rush, so I was frustrated when an older gentleman was blocking my path through the aisle. He seemed confused and in my rush I almost brushed past without stopping, but God nudged me to stop and ask if I could help him. I asked if he needed help finding something and was able to tell him what aisle to go to. I continued my shopping, but by the time I got to the aisle I sent him to he was still there and still confused. I went up to him again and this time helped him find the item. He thanked me and told me that his wife had always done the shopping, but she had recently passed away and he was having to learn where things were in the grocery store now. It is so easy for us to become focused on our own lives, rather than the lives of those around us who are hurting and in need of kindness.

Challenge Questions:

Day One We all struggle with difficult people or situations in our lives. In what way can changing your perspective help you to view the other person and the situation as God sees them?

Day Two

Ask God to show you this week an opportunity to reach out to help someone else in a simple way. Encourage others by sharing of times you were sensitive to God’s leading and the lessons you learned from it.

Day Three

Share one way that your faith has changed since you became a Christian.

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