Saturday, 25 March 2017

Who I Am In Christ by Susan L.

  It is my hope while I am exploring Biblical affirmations about my own identity that you, my readers, will be able to find something that connects to your own lives and self. These blessings are meant for all followers of Jesus. Yet, in true Jesus form, these affirmations are also meant to touch the lives of those who may not know Him, to instill hope that there is a better way. We only need to walk through His open door into a life of love and acceptance.
  "I am abounding in grace." 2 Cor 9:8
  What is grace exactly?
  I blew the dust off my ancient, yellow paged dictionary, laughing at myself because it would have been faster to open a new tab and look it up online. That, to me, is practicing grace: laughing at myself because I can't help being old school sometimes. It's okay to be old school.
  The definition takes up a good chunk of the page of Funk and Wagnall's tome so I won't write out the whole thing. The part that stands out is, "Any divinely inspired spiritual virtue or excellence."
  What are the virtues of the Divine? Forgiveness. Hope. Faith. Love. Peace. Patience. Redemption. Restoration. Mercy and grace=zero judgement. Acceptance. Encouragement. Strength. And something not often included in the list: the mystery that is a God beyond human limitations.
  As I wrote out the list, my heart felt the times that I hadn't allowed these virtues to express themselves because, in embracing Christ as Lord, they became my divine inheritance.
  Even so, there are many instances where these virtues have shone brightly despite my human experiences and limitations. It always leaves me feeling rather surprised when it happens. Mostly they make themselves known when I make the choice to forgive. I know, without Jesus, making that choice would be impossible.
  Forgive me, my Lord, for not allowing these gifts to unfold. I will forgive those who taught me prejudice, hatred and suspicion. I will forgive those who have judged me or tried to make me into someone I am not. Forgive me for passing judgement on others or for trying to force them into my idea of who they should be.
  (There's a slight pause as I get personal with Jesus about this. Maybe you, my readers, can take a moment as well to give the Lord space to share His heart with you.)
  Humility or being able to admit I am far from perfect is a big part of grace. Being okay with the thought of not being perfect is, well, perfectly fine because I don't have to get all this good stuff right away. It is a process of growth through a relationship with Jesus. Pruning encourages new growth.
  So, I think there's a further step besides simply reading these blessings out loud to my reflection in the mirror (I forgot to mention this is how it's to be done.) The next step is to claim them, to own them for my own like an explorer placing a flag in a new found land.
  Lord, I claim an abundance of grace that will overflow like a life giving river. In Jesus' name, AMEN!
  "And God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance for every good work. As it is written, "He has dispersed abroad, He has given to the poor; His righteousness endures forever." 2 Cor 9:8-9


  1. I will add the Catechism of the Catholic Church's definition of grace: "Grace is first and foremost the gift of the [Holy] Spirit who justifies and sanctifies us. But grace also includes the gifts that the Spirit grants us to associate us with his work, to enable us to collaborate in the salvation of others and in the growth of the Body of Christ, the Church." (It goes on.) The language is a little complicated, but in essence it defines grace as coming from God, and is that which gives us salvation, and purification as we grow in Christ. Through grace, we are also given spiritual gifts that help us grow as persons (e.g. virtues) and assist us in carrying out God's work (e.g. 1 Cor. 12). When we are told we are abounding in grace, we are full of a lot of stuff! :)