Grace is free and unmerited! It costs you nothing, and you do not have to earn it. You can’t earn it! Only Jesus could give you a gift this huge.
When you understand what Jesus did for you, you can’t help but confess it. The joy of it spills out of you! Your sins are forgiven! No more shame!
Through grace, you walk in the Spirit. Grace is the key to the Spirit-led life. Grace is the reason you don’t have to perform a role, or live in a works mentality, or sink into legalism. Grace empowers you through God’s love. Grace lifts your heart to share His love with all His children!
So when I see a homeless person, grace is the lens I’m looking through. I see the need and I want to help. I don’t respond to the needs of the homeless because I have to. Wanting to help and having to help are two different things. My heart does not say, “Man, if I walk by this guy and I don’t help him, I’m going to feel guilty.” That’s not love, that’s fear. No, my heart says, “This guy is in need. What can I do?” My heart says that because that’s what the Spirit says.
I’ve walked by people who are homeless and yet not helped them. The Spirit did not lead me to help. I don’t know why. Maybe the money they wanted was for drugs. We’re not supposed to fund that habit. Or maybe the Spirit had other plans.
There have also been times when I’ve said, “I’m not helping that guy, because it doesn’t look to me like he’s going to use the money for good.” But in my heart, the Spirit said, “No, you need to help.” When that happens, I listen to the Spirit, and I help.
Grace doesn’t allow you to be legalistic. Grace doesn’t allow you to have a works mentality. Paul says we’re justified by faith alone, and James says faith without works is dead, but there’s no contradiction there. It simply means that if you live by the Spirit, you’re going to act by the Spirit. You come alive with the Spirit! You bear His fruit. You are alive with love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, and self-control. You walk down the street and you see needs and you meet them, because that’s what Jesus did.
Jesus didn’t have to do good works to get to Heaven. But He did them. He did them all the time. And He was not tied up in a legalistic mentality. He came to fulfill the law. That means there is no law. So you don’t feed a hungry person out of fear. You don’t think, “If I don’t do this then I’ll be struck down.” You don’t worry, “If I don’t do this, then God won’t bless me.”
You’re already blessed! That’s what grace is! You’re in the Kingdom of God, a grace-filled, blessings-filled kingdom. You are full of blessings and grace. That’s why Jesus said, “Don’t you want what’s best for your children? How much more do you think God wants for you?” He definitely wants what’s best for you. He’s going to give you what you need, just like you would give your children what they need. Does that mean God has works mentality? No! It means God loves you.
That’s why you long to do good for others when you live in grace. Feeding the hungry and clothing the naked does not contradict God’s grace. It expresses God’s love. Faith and good works don’t contradict. They are one, in rhythm with each other.
More on this next time. See you Thursday.