The Promptings Of Grace
|From inside of us there come
“good impulses” which can be promptings
of grace, because the Kingdom of God is inside of us.” (Luke 17:2) We
are warned to consider acting
positively on our good impulses. In that way we “receive not the grace
of God in vain.” (II Corinthians
6:1) Yet there are also promptings of selfishness, evil, excess and
meanness because our human nature
is a mixture of good and various forms of evil.
We frustrate grace when we refuse to listen to the inner promptings of the grace within us. Or as the Quakers called that grace, “the inner light.” But sins may come from giving in to the inner promptings of our unredeemed natures, bloody and violent, working by the rule of tooth and claw. That side of us comes out in selfishness and not considering the good of others.
Listen to the promptings of grace within you and, if you can, apply them with love and moral intelligence. But your grace can be the same as others or different from others since each is somewhat different from others and highly individual. But consider the promptings of grace in you. Test them by love and possibility. If they are impossible to do fully, then do partly, but act on your grace. Do not receive grace in vain. Do something, no matter how little.
I am often prompted by the uniqueness of my inner vision to do different things, but I try to answer grace where I see the need of it. So may you. To do that we must “divide the word of truth rightly,” (II Timothy 2:15) to separate the good promptings from the bad promptings, and to decide which promptings are grace and what can be done for Christ. But what I find I can do is never as much as I would have liked to do. The Lord understands this. He applauds our efforts yet understands our limitations.
The Apostle said that he knew what he ought to do, but often did not do it. Again this is the state all of us are in. We know what we might have done but we did not do it. That is a state natural to mankind.
Do not give up because you can’t be perfect since the nature of human nature is to make mistakes. We must not let the mistakes we might make (or have made) hold us back in our efforts to do right and follow the Lord Having put our hand to the plough, none shall look back. (Luke 9: 62).
God understands your situation. Try for the best you can. We must make efforts in faith to show our faith is sincere. Then if we have a sincere faith, we are saved by that faith. “The just shall live by faith.” (Romans 1:17) Nobody wants you to be a perfectionist, but try for the best you can, inch by inch, little by little, moving upwards to the Lord, often failing, sometimes falling, yet always getting up and going on.
Dr. James MacLeod may be contacted through the Neill Macaulay Foundation.