Posted by: Jo | November 11, 2011

Becoming God’s Gracious People

“The Lord make his face shine upon you and be gracious to you.” (Numbers 6:25)

When I was a little girl I can remember my mother remarking about an acquaintance, “She is such a gracious lady.”  My mother placed much importance on good manners and appropriate behavior for me and my two sisters and my brother.  She wanted us to try to be always aware of what we said and more importantly how we said it and as my mother had a strong sense of family, we were also warned of how dreadful it would be to bring disgrace on our family name by an ugly disregard of another’s feelings and to remember that how we treated others had a powerful effect on those around us.

Perhaps being gracious does not rank highly in what parents think is important to teach their children in today’s society, but to my surprise recently I have seen several ads on T. V. promoting politeness while driving; to allow others to merge safely; to acknowledge with a wave of thanks when others allow you to go first; to wait patiently for your turn, so with my mother’s voice echoing in my mind I decided to explore the many times we read in Scripture that our heavenly Father longs to be gracious towards us and in turn would have us to be gracious towards others.  The dictionary defines “gracious “ as being filled with grace. When the psalmist begs the Lord

“May God be gracious to us and bless us and make his face shine upon us, that your ways may be known on earth, your salvation among all nations” (Psalms 67:1-2) he is asking to be filled with God’s perfect grace.

The grace of God is one of the most powerful images portrayed in the Bible.  Perhaps this beautiful characteristic of God has been etched on peoples’ lives and hearts for over 200 years by John Newton’s well-loved hymn, “Amazing Grace “, John Newton was writing from his heart as he felt he had a good reason to think that perhaps “a wretch” like him would not qualify for that redeeming grace that our Heavenly Father was offering to all his children.  It is obvious from the words of this hymn that grace cannot be earned; it is a gift lovingly bestowed upon us.

When we reread the psalmist’s cry in Psalms 67:1-2 we realize that asking God to be gracious towards us has two distinct parts.  Firstly we need his grace to forgive us and to accept us into his family and secondly having been forgiven we now need to become gracious members of this family so “that your ways may be known on earth, your salvation among all nations”  We need to be filled with his grace so others will come to know him.

So how do we become God’s gracious people?  This is when we all agree with John Newton, God’s grace is amazing! When we are aware of how much we need grace and ask God to be gracious towards us, an amazing transformation happens in our lives, suddenly we are more willing to offer grace to others.  We are more willing to love that difficult neighbor.  We are more willing to forgive rudeness in others and not to respond in anger.  We are more willing to be patient in that long line up.  We are more willing to be kind to those less fortunate than us.  We start to think of others more highly than ourselves and find great joy in pleasing the Lord rather than pleasing ourselves. We are on the way to becoming one of God’s gracious people.

“…How gracious he will be when you cry for help! As soon as he hears, he will answer you” (Isaiah 30:19)

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Responses

  1. Hi Jo ,
    I don’t know where you get your insite( of course I do) I remember you telling me once that I was a gracious hostess . I remember feeling so good about your comment but now I am feeling even more thankful. I know grace is given by the Lord and that we can’t earn it. However, doing what we can for others ,no matter how small I find is such a joy .Your blog this week confirms how I feel about graciousness and how blessed we are to know our Lord Jesus. Much love Jennifer
    p.s. Happy Birthday

    Like

  2. Thanks again Jo. Jim is hanging in and I think a little better with a slight change of medication. We are off to Brisbane 22nd to visit his old specialist. Thought it wise to get a second opinion.
    Love and God bless, Mary.

    Like


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