Recognizing God’s Grace in Others
I love the fact that God will use any body. I love the fact that He shows kindness to evil and righteous men. He sends the rain upon the just and the unjust. Sometimes, though, we don’t always recognize God’s work in the lives of other people. Sometimes, we don’t want to recognize God’s grace in the lives of others.
God has a really good way of messing with our theology, and jumping up out of our boxes!
We tend to be so judgemental. We often look upon external circumstances and situations, while God looks upon the hearts of men. We often judge others by their actions and yet we ourselves want to be judged by our intentions. We want grace but are not always so eager to give grace.
Do you recognize God’s grace upon other people’s lives? We should. God is at work in every human being’s life, saved or not saved! He is working towards their reconciliation to Him. We need to be more aware and sensitive to the work of the Spirit in other people’s lives.
and recognizing the grace that had been given to me, James and Cephas and John, who were reputed to be pillars, gave to me and Barnabas the right hand of fellowship, so that we might go to the Gentiles and they to the circumcised. (Galatians 2:9)
The leaders of the early church (James, Peter and John) recognized the grace that God has placed upon Paul. What if they had been insecure and jealous? What if they had not recognized that grace and pushed Paul away because of his past? What if they were afraid that Paul would take over as the Senior Apostle? They would have certainly missed out on what God was doing. They would have certainly messed things up a bit.
What if they tried to get Paul to work in the same manner as they were, even though he was called to a different group of people?
But this happens all the time today. We fail to recognize the grace gift upon another individual because it doesn’t fit into our scope of beliefs or traditions. We fail to recognize someone’s grace gift because of their past or because of our own insecurities.
Often times we fail to recognize His grace in someone else’s life because we just simply don’t like them.
We tend to have our favorite preachers and teachers. We don’t want to listen to people that may see things differently than we do. We tend to say that they are wrong. Sometimes we even throw out the dreaded H word . . . heretic! It’s amazing to me how we tend to stay within our own little clique, our own little stream of Christianity never branching out to the wider, flowing river of the universal Church.
One of the best things I have ever done in my walk with the Lord is when I started listening to people that saw things differently than I do. It’s been amazing. Even though there is a lot that I don’t agree with them, it has opened my eyes up to see things differently than I had been seeing them. It’s opened my eyes up to a better understanding of God’s word. Most of all, it’s made me see God’s grace at work in other people’s lives whom I previously would have tossed aside because, I hate to admit my thought process but, I was right and they were wrong. At least that’s what I would tell myself.
Yet, as I listen to, and recognize God’s grace at work in others, I am the better for it. I am able to discard labels (such as Baptist, Methodist, Charismatic, Calvinist, Armenian, etc.) and just simply enjoy the truth! God’s truth is His truth and He can use any vessel to bring forth that truth. Plus, it enables me to see them and embrace them as my brothers and sisters in the Lord.
As I look upon my own journey I have changed my viewpoints a lot in the last 20 years and especially in the last couple of years. That’s been because of God’s grace. Had I remained stuck in thinking that only my tribe could bring forth the truest and purest of God’s truth, I would be missing out on some of the best teaching out therein Christendom. And I would not be growing like I am.
God can use anyone, at anytime, to do anything for Him. The question is: can we recognize Him when we see Him wrapped up in a package that we wouldn’t identify as a God package?
Look around you today and realize that God has grace for each person you come into contact with. He is working on them, through them and with them to reach their fullest potential and His greatest good for them and the world.
What about you? Do you sometimes struggle to see God’s grace in others?