It was just going to be one of “those days,” I told myself. A day that started like so many of “those days.” I had been up with my youngest son most of the night, only to realize with the light of day, that he and his older brother had woken up with red, itchy eyes. Pink eye. Okay, change of plans. No school, a trip to urgent care instead.
After our detour, we were on our way back home with prescription eye drops, some drive-thru breakfast, and a plan: give the boys their eye drops, wash up, eat, rest. But, as I opened the door ready to set my plan into action, my senses took in the mess. My dog had decided that, after years of leaving the trash in its rightful place, today would be the day to try out a new location, the kitchen floor.
This was not part of my plan. No! No! No! I yelled at my dog. I yelled at my kids. I even threw my sunglasses across the room just the drive the point home. It was not one of my best moments.
Recently, associate pastor, Neal Nelson, shared a message titled Grace and Truth. His message focused in on one verse: “For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ (John 1:17).”
Neal shared that his love for this verse has been born out the desperate need for grace and truth in his own life. There in my kitchen, on a day that was turning out to be one of “those days,” I was in desperate need of grace and truth.
I am not perfect. But, I love a perfect God who loves me so very much that He gave His perfect Son. Paul begins his letter to the Ephesians like this: “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him (Ephesians 1:3-4).”
The truth in these verses blows me away! I am chosen and loved! Me, the crazy, tried, stressed mama, who yells and throws her sunglasses across the room! And in my not so best moments, He gives me grace, rich grace. A little further in his letter Paul writes, “In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight (Ephesians 1:7-8).”
Lavished. Other translations use the words abounded, poured, or showered. I love the image these words create. God is not a stingy grace giver!
Neal pointed out, it’s not just crazy mamas that need God’s powerful grace and truth. It is all of us, at every age in every stage of life. And we receive grace and truth through Jesus.
Neal highlighted two encounters that Jesus had with people who were also in desperate need of the grace and truth that He came to offer. First, Nicodemus (John 3:1-21), the other, the Samaritan woman at the well (John 4). In both of these encounters, Nicodemus and the woman perceive something about Jesus. Nicodemus said, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher come from God, for no one can do these signs that you do unless God is with him (John 3:2).” The woman at the well also perceived that Jesus was more. “The woman said to him, ‘Sir, I perceive that you are a prophet (John 4:19).'”
In both encounters, Jesus speaks the truth in love. First to Nicodemus, “Jesus answered, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God (John 3:5).'” Then to the women at the well, “But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him (John 4:23).”
Neal shared that we are called to be the tangible expression of grace and truth to one another, that we are to speak the truth in love to one another.
After cleaning up the mess from the kitchen floor, I called my dad. My dad was that tangible expression for me that day. He spoke truth into my situation with love. He reminded me that I need to give myself grace, I was having a bad day, but it would get better. What was important now was that I spend time with my boys.
My kids had seen me lose it. I wanted them to see how I find my way back. I decided that I wouldn’t just go into my room and pray quietly, instead I invited my kids to pray with me. Jack recently memorized this verse, “casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you (1 Peter 5:7 ESV).” We talked about how, because our God cares for us, we can talk to Him about what worries us; that we could talk to Him about our bad day. So that’s what we did. And during those precious moments spent praying a simple prayer with my children, I experience God’s grace.
Neal concluded his message with these two thoughts:
- Jesus wants us to know who He is now.
- Jesus wants us to know the truth about ourselves, that we are made in His image.
Neal shared, Jesus wants us to embrace His favor. He wants the best for us–to know Him and to be made into His image. He does this through His Spirit, the Spirit of Truth. The Spirit of Truth will remind us of His Word and it will reveal the truth about who Jesus is. Neal challenged us to daily spend time in His Word.
So where are you today? Do you need grace? Do you need to give yourself grace? Do you need to extend grace to someone else? Let me remind you, the grace that our Heavenly Father offers through His Son, Jesus, is rich and He can’t wait to lavish it on you!
Thank You for giving us Your Son, Jesus. Thank You for the grace and truth that comes through Him. Thank You for the Spirit of Truth that reminds and convicts us about who You really are and who we really are. Over and over again Your Word reminds us that You love us, You choose us and that You want the best for us. Open our hearts to receive this truth. Give us a love for Your Word. Help us to take time each day to spend in Your Word. And through Your Spirit, help us to be the tangible expression of grace and truth to one another. Amen.