“From the fullness of his [Christ’s] grace we have all received one blessing after another.”
John 1:16, NIV
Amazing grace, how sweet the sound…
Several weeks ago at our monthly Board meeting, I asked the group to pray that I would know what I should write about. One of our group piped up and said, “Write about grace…I was just listening to Amazing Grace and I love that song.” Since that time, I’ve pondered that suggestion while I’ve procrastinated beginning this letter. But as I sit down to finally write to you tonight, I realize there really is no better topic. However, I will make a disclaimer upfront and say that in no way is this a theological treatise or statement of doctrine (much wiser souls have done that), but simply the musings of one simple girl on the wonders of God’s grace.
It is likely that most of us know the beloved hymn and its familiar words. For me, the most poignant words follow the introductory Amazing grace, how sweet the sound…and those words are That saved a wretch like me! I realize many of us could claim to be the “worst wretch” ever, but sometimes I think I could have come in first place hands down! Attempting to make life work apart from Jesus without a doubt led me down a road of destruction. Many of you know my testimony: More than eleven years ago, God graciously set me free from an addiction to alcohol. The chains of a fifteen-year battle with an eating disorder were also broken loose, not to mention the healing from so many wounds caused by the consequences of living life in the pit. I do not share the details of my past to glorify my behavior, but only to glorify my Savior, who by His amazing grace set me completely free!
However, I do believe the most amazing part of this grace is that God, in His kindness, has brought continual redemption to my life as I have had the opportunity to minister to others. John 1:16 speaks of receiving one blessing after another from the fullness of Christ’s grace. Every single day, I receive blessing upon blessing as I am given the privilege of walking with women battling so many of the same demons that had waged war against me.
Part of this ministry is allowing God to use me as a mouthpiece of His grace. The Complete Word Study Dictionary defines the gift of grace so beautifully. The word comes from the Greek charis, meaning “a favor done without expectation of return; the absolutely free expression of the loving kindness of God to men finding its only motive in the bounty and benevolence of the Giver…God’s grace affects man’s sinfulness and not only forgives the repentant sinner, but brings joy and thankfulness to him. It changes the individual to a new creature (emphasis added).” I could stop and jump up and down right here, but it gets even better. The definition goes on to explain that grace remains “constant in, and basic to, a believer’s fight without against the devil and his struggle within against sin,” which means not only does His grace pull us out of the pits we are apt to find ourselves in, but it is grace which empowers us to stay straight on the path where He’s placed our feet!
How grateful I am for amazing grace that saved a wretch like me! Receive it today, and enjoy blessing upon blessing from the fullness of Christ!