After a look at a personal definition of grace a few days ago, I want to take a peek at how grace is officially defined in the dictionary. I love words and their meanings. I love the nuances that alternate meanings and synonyms lean into, and I will admit, reading the dictionary (and thesaurus) are among my geeky pastimes. And present times. Feel free to roll your eyes. But really, the stuff is good!
One photo a week of our family throughout the year. 35/52
Of grace, Webster says it is:
- The unmerited love and favor of God toward mankind.
Unmerited, meaning something that is not deserved or earned. Favor meaning the state of being approved or held in high regard. Can I ask you to read that over again for a moment? The grace of God is something that we do not deserve, did not earn, and God holds us in high regard when we receive His grace. I don’t know about you, but something about that equation seems on the incredibly generous end of the scale…to our benefit. Grace is a serious thing that side-steps our inadequacy to make the grade, but lifts us out of the pit anyway. That humbles me!
He loves us so much that He gave His only Son. I’m sorry, but I can’t think of anyone I hold in high enough regard that I would offer one of my children in exchange for their life. That is unthinkable. And yet God has done it for us.
“For God loved the world so much that He gave His one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16
- Divine influence acting in a person to make the person pure, morally strong, etc
God is presently at work in our lives to strengthen us for the work He calls us to do. He is not disinterested or disengaged. He is near, present, invested, and involved in ways that we see only faintly, if we see them at all. Some people have not recognized God’s work in their lives, or have rejected God’s way (which He gives us the freedom to do). He promises that nothing will separate us from His love, if we want Him in our lives, even if it takes us a while to recognize what He has done for us. Everyone who humbles themselves before God and seeks Him is welcome into His family.
“Now we see things imperfectly, like puzzling reflections in a mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity. All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely, just as God now knows me completely.” 1 Corinthians 13:12 NLT
“No power in the sky above or in the earth below–indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:39 NLT
- A special gift or help given to a person by God
There are little ways that God helps in my days. I get comments often about how busy I must be with five kids, or how do I do it? Honestly, God helps me. Seriously. Some people talk about coincidence or stars aligning when things go well in life, but I am convinced that God literally helps. He gives me just what I need at the right times to get me through a tough day or a tough season. I hope to share some examples of how God has helped in my life as the month goes on.
- To bring honor to; dignify
Can I be honest about something? It completely blows my mind that God, Creator of all things would be interested in me. What greater honor is there than God’s attention? God’s care for me? The honor has no match.
And for another dose of geekery, some synonyms of grace: kindness, mercy, benefit, blessing, service, clemency, pardon, amnesty, indemnity, absolution, redemption, exoneration, reprieve, respite, regeneration
Those are some big words. And they are weighty words too. Start talking about amnesty, redemption and regeneration and you will have my attention in a quick minute.
Amnesty – Forgetting or overlooking a past offense. I need God to overlook a whole lot of offenses in my life. Overlooking it doesn’t mean He dismisses it. He knows what we’ve done and what has been done to us. Everyone will give an account for what they have done with the days given them, but isn’t it a comfort that what we have done, though acknowledged by God, will not be counted against us because of Christ? This is hope I hold on to, sometimes by my fingernails.
Redemption – Deliverance, rescue. I know better than anyone where it is I was headed without the transformative work of Jesus in my life. There is hope for more than loss, brokenness, and hurt. So much more.
Regeneration – Spiritual rebirth, or in biology terms, the restoration or new growth of tissue that has been lost or injured. Way nerdy and maybe a stretch, but how cool is that?
Ok. I’m done now. For today anyway. My prayer is that you would understand grace just a little bit more today and going forward.
”We have not ceased to pray for you and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so that you will walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, to please Him in all respects, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God, strengthened with all power according to His glorious might, for the attaining of all steadfastness and patience.” Colossians 1:9-11
301. friends having babies!, 302. fall weather, 303. routine & structure, 304. light, always illuminating, 305. thoughtful notes, 306. songs for the heart, 307. flexible children, 308. gentle reminders, 309. my tattered dictionary and thesaurus, 310. grace in its fullness