So… I was doing my devotions today and it was about judgment verses grace. The chapter of this lesson is called “Surprised by Grace.” Max Lucado says this to start off the lesson…”I’ve never been surprised by God’s judgment, but I’m still stunned by His grace…When we get to Heaven, we’ll be surprised at some of the folks we see. And some of them will be surprised when they see us.”
Ouch! Do you think people will be surprised to see you in heaven? I pray that people expect to see me there…but wow…surprised? Are they the people that I cast judgment on without knowing the whole truth? Are they people that judged me without knowing my whole truth? Or are they people that lived the truth and didn’t always see it in my actions?
Any which way…ouch! Why does judgment come so easily and grace…not so much at times? I think a lump just hit the pit of my stomach. This is a revelation for me today!
Judgment! It comes so naturally. It comes without concentrated thought at times. Judgment! It is accepted into most conversations. It helps create clicks among groups. It encourages division. It is a tool that the enemy sneaks into our hearts at a young age…and before we realize it…we struggle with a judgmental spirit. Until when? A revelation like this one rocks us to the core. I’m not talking about my words…but instead about the simple truth of God!
Grace…that takes work. Grace means putting what comes naturally aside. Grace means seeing people covered by the blood of Christ. Grace takes intense thought. Grace means controlling that mouth. Grace takes restraint. Restraint of actions, words, thoughts.
Grace was never promised to flow easily through us. But, it does come easily to us. God’s grace is immediate. God can take the sinner hanging, ready to die on the cross…and cover him with the same blood we have been saved by for years. And that man’s very next breath can be right smack in the middle of God’s glory! God doesn’t have conditions on his willingness to cover our sins. Do you? (I know sometimes I subconsciously do.) If we expect grace just like we expect forgiveness…we must be willing to extend it!
As I always say…these recorded thoughts are never meant to make you feel ashamed of how you’ve been treating others. They are to make you aware. And these words speak as much to my heart as they do yours. Each time God reveals the ways of the enemy…we have opportunity to defeat them. Do you feel as though you can be a bit judgmental? Defeat it! Pray about it! Ask God to help you overcome it!
Spend time with your Father so you learn to look and act more like Him! Converse with Him so that His thoughts, His ways become more naturally yours. Talk to Him so that you say and do the things that He feels in His heart.
I love the quote…”Live your life in such a way that if someone were to say something bad about you, no one would believe it!”
So, how do we get there? Through prayer. Through the willingness to see others differently. Through intense study on our natural, sinful behavior. Through accountability. Through regular quiet time with God. Through a conscious effort to not judge. And by remembering that grace covers us so easily…and we need to show it just as effortlessly. Soon enough your ‘natural’ will change. What used to be the normal for you…will be defeated! In Jesus name you will have victory over this thing that dares to oppose you.
We are new creations in Christ. Let’s look like it! Let’s live in such a way that people expect to see us in Heaven. And if we don’t ‘expect’ to see them there…let’s love them enough to find out for sure. Don’t judge before you know the truth. Notice I didn’t say don’t judge before you ‘think’ you know the truth. I have plenty of thoughts that are not from God…and should be dismissed as so.
Commit to be an example worthy of imitation. To your friends. To your children. To your parents. To your spouse. To your loved ones. To your church. To strangers. Let them all see something in you that they long to be more like. Not through the eyes of envy. But through the eyes of Christ in you! A new creation! =)