My purpose in writing is to encourage you and assure you that what you are experiencing is truly part of God’s grace for you. Stand firm in this grace.
—1 Peter 5:12b (NLT)
Peter is writing in this verse to believers who are living as foreigners in lands other than their own. He reassures them that the hardships they experience are genuinely a part of God's grace. They are not to give up, but to stand firm. His purpose in writing is to encourage and assure them that anything they experience is usable for God's good purpose. It is my purpose in writing, too—to encourage you that life will not defeat you if you keep an attitude of grace. God is love. He does not cause bad things in life, but, if you allow, He uses whatever you go through to grow you spiritually. When you believe in His love for you—no matter your experience—His grace changes your attitude from defeat to victory.
Do you feel that you, like the recipients of Peter’s message, are living in a foreign land? Well, you are. This world is not our permanent home,” the writer to the Hebrews imparts. “We are looking forward to a home yet to come” (Hebrews 13:14, NLT). We anticipate the time one day when we shall live with Him, but for now, we live in a land where others often misunderstand us. "The world would love you as one of its own if you belonged to it," John writes, "but you are no longer part of the world. I chose you to come out of it” (John 5:19a, NLT).
Yes, we are different than the world, but until we are called home, we live in it. We don’t allow that difference to keep us from loving with the grace of Jesus. The world doesn’t look further than its selfishness, but God does. His grace changes us from a world view of survival of the fittest to God’s unselfish love for humanity. His grace sets us free to share unconditional love.
Filled with the love of Calvary, you don’t strive to reach others. His love flowing in your life reaches them without judgment. You might not accept their actions, but you love despite them. You become less so that Jesus can be more in you. Living a life filled with the love of Jesus means spiritual life to someone else. His grace is the power to not only continually transform you but also to change someone else. Anything you experience—whether a blessing or a trial—is an opportunity for Jesus to love through you with the grace and truth of His Word.
“Let us run with endurance the race God has set before us,” the writer to the Hebrews advises. “We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith” (Hebrews 12:1b-2a, NLT).
Never forget that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love and are called by Him. Don’t give up. Let Jesus strengthen you and love through you with His grace. Keep your eyes on Him, and allow Him to mold your life. Run your race with diligence. God will cheer you on until the end, and you will inspire others to run this life of grace with you.
© 2020 Lynn Lacher