Grace-full living
June 22, 2009
by Rev. Lucas V. Woodford, Zion Lutheran Church, Mayer

When you hear the word “graceful,” what picture comes to mind? What does it mean to be graceful?

To be sure, the poise of a dancer, the eloquence of a public speaker, or the finesse of a star quarterback can all be measures of gracefulness. However, is being “graceful” only a matter of performance? Or, could being “graceful” also be a state of being?

What does it really mean to live graceful lives? Does it mean that we do all the right things, never have any problems, answer every question our children may have, and pay all of our bills on time? Or could graceful living actually mean living life being “fully” covered by the grace of God – no matter what the circumstances?

Consider this. The Bible tells us that to live “graceful lives” is to live being “full” of God’s “grace” – in other words, to live being “grace-full.” Ephesians 2:4-9 says this: “But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ – by grace you have been saved . . . so that in the coming ages He might show the immeasurable riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.”

There is a reason that there is a hymn that tells about God’s grace. His grace is truly amazing. In this grace there is forgiveness, but it is a forgiveness that comes in no small amount. Living a grace-full life means that God forgives us more sins than we have got. Living a grace-full life means we have freedom – freedom from the anger, the bitterness, and the addictions that can plague our daily lives.

In this grace, there is life. No longer are we dead in our sins, but we are “full of grace” and made for graceful living!

God’s grace fills us and shapes us in such a way that we become God’s “workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” (Ephesians 2:10).

Yet, very often, our society wants us to think of being “grace-full” as something that we do, rather than something that God does to us. The truth is, grace is not something we can work toward. Grace cannot be earned, no matter how good an athlete, speaker, dancer, or person we might be. We cannot take five, seven, or 12 steps to get this grace. The only steps involved in receiving this grace were the steps that Jesus Christ took on his way to the cross of Calvary.

God’s grace is a free and full gift of God’s unconditional love. It not only affects our eternal relationship with God, but it affects our ability to live life here and now. Living a grace-full life is possible because we have been given God in our souls and Christ in our flesh.

Grace is the one word for all that God is for us in the form of Jesus Christ. Because of grace we have the power to believe where others deny, to hope where others despair, and to love where others hurt.

No, grace does not make everything right (at least not on this side of eternity). Rather, grace-full living gives us the ability to see life very clearly, admit it is sometimes all wrong, and still know that somehow, in the center of your life, by the gift of Jesus Christ, “It is all right.” This is grace-full living.