Realistic Daily Grace

While expectations can build excitement and anticipation, they have the potential to morph into unrealistic demands and disappointment. Understanding this can help Christians deal with the rate at which they move from the pre-Christian life to the new life. For some, the transition from old to new life is quick and comfortable. For others it’s difficult, taking time, requiring patience and determination as Jesus’ grace enables them to navigate the realities of repentance.

The apostle John alludes to this transition in 1 John 2:8, where he explains the new and old commands of love being true in Jesus and in you, because the darkness is passing away and the true light is already shining. Here, John refers to the progressive diminishing of pre-Christian darkness until it’s so obscure that all you celebrate is the light of Christ.

The apostle Paul also uses the darkness and light metaphor in Ephesians 5:8, to describe the life changing shift that salvation brings. He writes, at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light (for the fruit of light is found in all that is good and right and true)… Paul is not suggesting they launch a legalistic or militant attack on everything and everyone in life. No. He’s wanting the Ephesians to understand that faith in Jesus is a huge shift in worldview and personal identity, just as light and darkness are vastly different. Paul knew that some of the practical, real-world changes happen quickly, while others will take time.

Paul, like John, exhorted believers to take responsibility for application of the changes that come with knowing Jesus as Lord and Saviour. The apostles knew better than most, that the pervasive and growing nature of God’s truth takes place as believers grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ (2 Peter 3:18). This growth includes perseverance in Bible reading, in prayer, in fellowship with other believers, in worship, in service, in telling others about Christ, and in abandoning sinful activities. There is no one-shot formula that brings instant and total transformation of every facet of emotional, spiritual, and physical life and health of a Christian.

Lifelong ways of thinking, old values, old patterns of behaviour, old habits, and old desires influenced by spiritual darkness need to be unlearned. And I suggest unlearning is far more difficult than learning. It takes faith, and patient commitment, to replace spiritually darkened thinking with the truth of God’s Word. Each area of pre-salvation and darkened living needs to be touched by Jesus’ grace, then replaced with the light of Jesus’ truth. This not only requires grace, but time, humility, thoughtful reading of God’s Word, and gracious support from other believers.

Peter implies this when he first instructed, grow in grace. A growing knowledge of our Lord requires grace first. It’s realistic and supportive in its expectations of self, of others, and of God. It’s that softhearted attitude that stands with the believer on the difficult days as on the good ones. Grace has stickability that’s not demanding or critical, but its directionally sympathetic, pointing to Jesus while navigating the daily hurdles of a life wanting to obediently follow Jesus as Lord.

Therefore, walking with the Lord needs to be realistic in its daily application of tenacious grace. Whether applying this to yourself, or to others, grace and truth should be loving as it gives expression to Jesus Christ, regardless of the difficulty involved. May the grace of the Lord Jesus be with you (1 Corinthians 16:23).

Scroll to Top