|I was reared to be a comrade
of Christ, being named
after James, the Lord’s brother. (Galatians 1:19)
My father would say to me, “Is this the way a comrade
of the Lord, a brother, would think and do? Ask yourself
I ask myself that question all the time. If you ask yourself the question, you will not do perfectly, nor do I, but you will do better than had you otherwise not asked it. It causes you to consider grace. Think in grace. Reason in grace.
Grace reasons comparatively on others. Do not say another Christian is a hypocrite. It would be better to reason by grace: If this is what a person is when he has some consciousness of Christ, what would he have been without any consciousness of Christ?
If you reason comparatively (but not untruly) from grace to grace, then you may be more positive in helping others. You can recognize the grace there, even though it may not measure up to enough. You will see the goal is to develop in grace.
It gets nowhere just being angry over the lack of grace in people. Anger just might close you up or sour you and you cannot demonstrate the concerned affection to be shown for all. Remember, we are not to make people perfect, but to help them develop spiritually, grow in grace, and sometimes to administer physical or material aid. (The Good Samaritan---Luke 10: 29-37)
If you do not have enough of anything do not be angry, but be thankful for what you have. Then in an attitude of grace, go after grace. Grace reasons from Grace. Start by giving thanks for the grace you have, then move on to more grace. Ephesians 5:20 says: “Giving thanks always for all things.”
Then you will not be in a sour mood as life and grace go on. Soured will only hurt you in doing anything you do. (Remember the ways of religion are practical ways. They may not seem so at first, but would a life-soured and angry person do a good job? No! This is a spiritual truth that is good practical advice. Whoever the person is and wherever you are, seek to see grace first and give thanks for it.
Reason from grace to grace. Thank God for the stair you are on, even it is shaky, scarred and creaks, and then go to the next stair. Finally you will come to a landing. Grace will have led you all the way. Even if every stair had a squeak as you went up. The good Christian says: I go from grace to grace, squeaking on every stair as I raise myself higher, the scarred steps creaking and groaning uncertainly as I go. But Christ is my comrade. With me He is.
I cannot stress too much the importance of starting with thanks wherever we are. That is why the Apostle said, “I have learned, in whatsoever state I am therewith to be content.” (He does not say “stop there.”) Then he adds, thinking ahead on his goals, “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.” (Philippians 4:11-13) He is going from grace to grace, giving thanks.
The Apostle gives thanks and makes a grace of wherever he is, saying he is content. This may seem ironic at times. But irony smells like grace. So wherever you are, realize grace may be in your being there. Wait to move in on grace as The Lord wills. He will so will. And you will have in your future Christ to strengthen you in (as it says in Ephesians 6:6) “doing the will of God from the heart.”
Dr. James MacLeod may be contacted through the Neill Macaulay Foundation.