Tuesday, January 22, 2019
Luke 2:40 “And the child grew and became strong; he was filled with wisdom, and the grace of God was upon him.”
In the childhood of Jesus, we see a pattern for growth for each of us. In addition to physical growth, God has designed for us to grow in wisdom and grace. For the last week we have been looking at growth in wisdom. Today let’s begin a study of growing in grace.
I came across a very meaningful definition of grace the other day. In the past I heard grace described as “God’s unmerited favor”. I also was taught the acrostic God’s Riches At Christ’s Expense. I still wondered how to fulfill the command of Scripture to grow in grace. It also puzzled me why Jesus was described as having the grace of God upon Him when as God He certainly did not receive anything that was not merited.
Then I came across this definition of grace in Strong’s Greek Dictionary – “Grace is the divine influence upon the heart and its reflection in the life.” WOW! That answered both my questions. Jesus had the grace of God upon Him so that His life was a true and total reflection of the Glory of God. That means I grow in grace by allowing God’s divine influence to not only change my heart but also to be reflected in the way I live.
I began to consider the ways that Jesus’ life reflected the grace of God. I have discovered five specific references made to grace by Jesus during His public ministry. Each one of them becomes a standard for measuring our personal growth in grace.
When the free and unmerited Divine Influence of God impacts our hearts, these five characteristics of the life of Jesus will also be reflected in our lives.
- The Divine Influence to be merciful
- The Divine Influence to not require recognition
- The Divine Influence to withstand persecution
- The Divine Influence to endure suffering and loss
- The Divine Influence to fulfill God’s purpose
When grace grows in our hearts, it will result in a divinely influenced lifestyle. Colossians 2:6 says “So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in him.” We have been saved by grace – God’s Divine Influence upon our spirit – and we continue to live by that same influence.
In the next five devotionals we will study each of these characteristics of a divinely influenced life. To prepare, consider this – are my current lifestyle choices and my responses to life’s circumstances a reflection of God’s divine influence on my heart?