EVIDENCE OF GRACE
When he arrived and saw the evidence of the grace of God, he was glad and encouraged them all to remain true to the Lord with all their hearts. Acts 11:23 (NIV)
Have you every been in the company of a missionary ‘home’ on furlough? As they share stories and proclaim evidence of the grace of God, their eyes light up. God is real to them – in a way which is palpable.
Once we had national pastors in our home sharing stories of evangelism tours and church camps happening in their villages. Score of people’s lives were being transformed by the gospel of Jesus Christ. Our friends became so animated and were talking so fast – as if by the telling we too would be able to capture the excitement of the new believers half way across the globe.
It was when they showed us videos of baptisms that caught us off guard. It was months prior to their visit, and their area of service is in the north. The locals wanted to be baptized and didn’t want to wait – it was the dead of winter. As in snow and lots of it. So, our friend, the missionary, did what any man of God would do – he broke the ice. Literally. Broke the ice, got into the freezing water with the young believers and baptized them.
This, my friends, is evidence of the grace of God. And the love of God and what the gospel does to people – it changes them and motivates them to want to change.
No normal person would break ice then stand it for multiple baptisms unless it was because of the power and Spirit of God at work.
That video was shown to us years ago, and yet its memory is still fresh in my mind. Why? Because, it demonstrates to me sacrifice. And love. And a desire to live sold out for Christ. Abandoning self and living for Christ. In all areas – especially the areas of comfort.
God does not always ask us to go across the world to preach. Many times He asks us to cross the aisle. Or cross the lawn. Or speak up in a line while waiting for the cashier.
Have you been the one in a room full of strangers and left that same room having not ever talked to anyone? I have. It’s uncomfortable. And I am one who can make conversations with a rock (and have). So, after my last time of remaining unnoticed, I decided to change.
No longer would I walk past a stranger – especially in a setting where I was comfortable. Think church, Bible study, family get togethers, a baby shower and the like. I have become more aware of how just by my dying to self and my comforts I am making new friends.
Has it always been easy? No. But I made the decision to change because I did not like feeling that way; I could change it for someone else.
Recently a friend told me I was so good at this. Really? Me? I then shared why I began doing it. I did not like being the one left unnoticed, ignored, and not talked to. We all crave recognition and being sought out. Not for kudos but to be seen for who we are. Asked about our lives, our day, our family.
Do we see evidence of God’s grace in people’s lives? Say something. It is encouraging to them. Notice a triumph of faith? A struggle solved with prayer? Peace when all screams chaos? State the obvious – God is working.
This encourages me because my life is dropping fruit and leaving a trace – a trail of fragrance. The fragrance of Christ.
But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumphal procession in Christ and through us spreads everywhere the fragrance of the knowledge of Him. 2 Corinthians 2:14 (NIV)
Are we leaving a sweet perfume behind us after we shake someone’s hand? Is there evidence of grace after we walk out of a room or go away from the check out at the local grocery?
Did someone feel noticed or heard because we took the time to stop? Are we allowing God to use us to spread His fragrance?
It’s not easy. But it is good. It is good to used and to share in His kingdom work.
Are you in?
Father, You are incredible and I thank You for grace. Thank you for the evidence of changed lives, the gospel and power of the gospel. Use me Lord. Use me to give of myself because I want to partake in the goodness of sharing that evidence and be convicted of living sold out for Christ. I am here. I am willing. In Your Name, Jesus. Amen