The stress of the last few months has had far-reaching effects. On our emotions. On our health. And on our relationships. When you’re forced into almost constant proximity with the same people, for days on end, sometimes it’s hard to be civil, much less gracious.
But that’s exactly what God calls His people to be – gracious. And not just when it’s easy. In fact, being “gracious” when it’s easy, when they deserve grace, really isn’t grace at all. Real grace is extending God’s loving kindness when they don’t deserve it. When it’s hard.
Instead of being a channel of God’s grace to others, I’m like a stagnant pool. I fail to pass along God’s undeserved loving kindness to others and instead hoard His grace like a selfish child. But God calls me to be a channel, not a pool. As someone who receives His constant supply of glorious grace, I should willingly share it with everyone around me. To be a “channel” that shares the grace with others that God has lavished on them. What about you? Are you a channel of grace or a stagnant pool.
Be a Channel of Grace
Anytime we find ourselves more “pool” than “channel,” it’s time to reflect again on God’s underserved grace in our own lives. In his book Putting a Face on Grace, Dr. Richard Blackaby writes that when we truly grasp its depth we would not dare withhold it from others.
“We are not called to just bathe in grace; we are called to shower it upon others. Grace has not been fully experienced until it is fully expressed to others. The deeper our understanding of grace, the more we see the necessity of making it the fabric of our Christian life.”
Everything we have, everything we are, and everything we will be depends solely on God’s lavish grace working in our lives. When that truth sinks into our hearts and minds, we will live our lives as a grateful responses to the grace God so generously pours out on us.
15 Characteristics of Grace from Scripture
Grace often feels a bit abstract. What does it look like to extend grace to others? The following characteristics of grace – which are straight from Scripture – can be used to evaluate whether your words and actions reflect God’s grace to others. Also, download the free, printable bookmark! Keep it in your Bible as a reminder to be a person of grace:
- Doesn’t insist on being right; seeks to make things right (Eph 4:3)
- Willing to be inconvenienced (Eph 5:2)
- Seeks the welfare of the other person (Phil 2:3)
- Speaks words that build up, not tear down (Eph 4:29)
- Doesn’t demand to be heard, but strives to listen (Prov 18:2)
- Focuses on others needs instead of our own (Phil 2:4)
- Acts with humility, not pride (1 Cor 13:4)
- Doesn’t keep score (1 Cor 13:5)
- Looks for ways to help and encourage others (Rom 12:10)
- Freely forgives (Eph 4:32)
- Seeks to understand (Rom 12:18)
- Doesn’t expect a return (Rom 12:14)
- Focuses on the important over the urgent (Phil 3:13-14)
- Doesn’t pick and choose whom to show grace (Philemon 1:17)
- Doesn’t overlook sin, but encourages holiness (1 Cor 13:6)
Do these characteristics of grace seem overwhelming? Remember, God has given us everything we need to live a life that pleases Him (2 Peter 1:3). In those moments when it’s hard to show grace to someone else, ask God to help. And remember we did not deserve His grace either.
When do you find it most hard to show grace? What are some things that help you show grace to others?
Want to learn more about God’s lavish grace. Kathy’s Bible study, “Lavish Grace” is a unique nine-week study of Paul’s experiences with and teachings about grace, Lavish Grace will guide you to recognize, rest in, and share the glorious grace of God. This study will help you:
- Submit to God’s grace for continued spiritual transformation
- Learn to share God’s grace with others in practical ways
- Rest in and rely on God’s grace in the inevitable difficult seasons of life