Last year I was asked to help in writing a book of devotionals for our church campaign on grace. It was the first time I had been asked to write something for a book, and I really appreciated the opportunity. I have decided to post these devotionals every other day over the next couple of weeks. I hope you enjoy them and that they make you think about the wonders of the grace of God.
You can see the previous posts by clicking the links below:
What Are We Here For?
And Stephen, full of grace and power, was doing great wonders and signs among the people. – Acts 6:8
Have you ever wondered what the purpose of the church is? A support system? A source of community benevolence? A place for people to worship? A place for friends to get together? A place to learn how to be abetter person? Well, I think it is all of those, but it is more than that.
Think about what we have been given as believers. We are given the grace of God that has given us salvation! We are blessed with eternal life and a source of power for living. We have had the truth of God’s love, mercy and grace revealed to us through His Word and his people, and we have been given a direction for its use. Are we supposed to just sit on that?
No. Absolutely not!
Stephen was called to be a deacon in the church, and he took his job seriously as he went out to serve people. Acts 6:8 says he was “full of grace and power.” A man like that isn’t going to sit still waiting for Sunday morning and the Adult Bible Fellowship or Sunday School class to share what he has been given. Stephen was out talking to people, sharing the work of Christ in His life in whatever way he could. God was giving him the ability to do amazing things, and he made sure to not let Him down.
What is different from Stephen than you and me? Do we not know the same God? Do we not have the same access to His power? Does the God Stephen served not allow us to speak out boldly in our faith? What is holding us back? We have the same Spirit of God at work in us, and we have the same grace in our lives. Where is the power? Is it possible that we could do amazing things in the lives of those around us if we let God work in us?
Think about the things that people are enduring every day – cancer, divorce, loss, addiction, emotional abandonment, and the list goes on. What difference might be made in their lives if a person full of grace and power from God were to get personally involved in their lives?
There are so many opportunities in a day for us to speak of the goodness of God and His life changing work in our lives. While the Christian faith is under more persecution here in America than at any other time, we still have the ability and freedom to show God’s grace to those around us. How you do it is up to you and your skill set, but there is nothing stopping you or me from doing it.
We can show the grace of God by not getting irritated with person at work, by giving someone the benefit of the doubt in a moment of annoyance, by showing humility in a confrontation. We can show sympathy and empathy to those who are struggling. We can share out life stories and how God works in our circumstances to show us how He is always there, and in that, we can show people the ultimate grace – extending God’s offer of salvation to them!
God didn’t show us grace to have us sit in a building on Sundays. If grace was just meant to put my body in a chair on Sunday mornings then I am doing no good for God here on earth. He gave us grace so we can show the reality of a life changed to those who do not yet know Him. As the church, it is our mission to reach out and show a bit of Christ everywhere we go. Stephen understood that mission and embraced it. How about you?
- Who do you know that could benefit from a friendship with someone who can share God’s grace with them?
- Who are you encouraging in the church to reach out to others?
- What next step will you take to living a life “full of grace and power?”
Father, you gave your grace to us to save us in your mercy, but you also gave it to us so we can share it with others. Give us your heart for the hurting that we can bring them to know you.
Over the last several years I have been slowly coming to the understanding that as part of the Church (the bride of Christ) I have been commanded to share the gospel not only in how to come to Christ, but in how Christ in me is changing me. Relentless Growth comes from surrendering to Christ’s call through the Spirit to share what He has done. Not every work that God has done in me is a miracle, but in giving Him the credit and the glory for what has happened, I believe He is giving me more power to speak of His gift and involvement in my life. That is where the growth happens, and it is what every believer is called to.