“Being confident of this very thing, that He which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ.” Phil. 1:6
One of the biggest things that comes with a true pursuit of greatness is growth. If we aren’t growing, we are not pursuing anything worthwhile. In the same way, if we aren’t growing, we aren’t effectively leading others.
One thing I am learning about growth is that there is no place, this side of eternity, where we obtain a certificate of completion. Knowing this, I find one of the biggest areas we need to be constantly growing in is grace. We need to remember we are all growing, as we pursue greatness together, and therefore, we need to extend grace to others. I know my own journey better than anyone, and I know the incredible amount of grace that God has extended to me, as well as, the grace that He continues to pour over me, as I grow. I am sure you can testify of the same amazing grace. It’s this same grace I want to be quick to extend to others. (Keyword being “quick”) I want to be a person who is prompt in responding to others with grace. This is not a natural response, but a learned response. It’s one that must be practiced. When someone hurts you or offends you, is your first response to extend grace, every time? Me, either. It’s a response I am pursuing, because I believe it’s a part of true greatness. I don’t believe it starts with this outward response, though. We must remember the grace we ourselves have been given, and really embrace that grace over our own weaknesses and struggles. Not an excuse to “sin that grace may abound”, but an understanding that we are in desperate need of grace, and our incredible Redeemer extends grace in abundance.
Just as we should be growing in the grace we extend to others, I believe it is vital for us to be quick to extend grace to ourselves. This seems to be the hardest for me. As a natural performance driven woman, who tends to be a perfectionist, I can be extremely hard on myself. Can you relate? It seems the voices in my own mind are harder and louder than anything anyone else says to me. The Enemy (devil) is fierce, but I find he most often gains ground and defeats us in our own minds, as we simply refuse to extend grace to ourselves. When we hold ourselves in contempt, even though we’ve been set free, we keep ourselves chained to inaccurate definitions of who we are.
What is it for you? What lies are you believing and what areas are you refusing to extend grace, to yourself or to someone else? Has someone let you down, and you just need to extend grace and remember they are growing, just like you? I am aware that there are healthy boundaries that are necessary in relationships and in certain situations, but I mean extending heartfelt grace. What seems to be a constant struggle for you? Is there something you feel like you’ve been fighting for years? Maybe it’s poor financial stewardship, a bad temper, or another self sabotaging habit. Whatever it is, don’t let it define you. Remember who you were created to be, who God says you are, and give yourself some grace, remembering that you are a glorious work in progress. We will not be perfect this side of Heaven, but we can rejoice, knowing that the work He has begun in us, He will complete.
Let’s not get hard or bitter, because of others or your own weaknesses. Let’s be encouraged, and continue to grow in grace, knowing that we are fighting for something worthwhile, pursuing something greater than we can imagine, and God is faithful to complete what He has started in us!