“But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it.” Ephesians 4:7(NIV)
Yesterday we talked about three important lessons I learned from my kids. Today I want to talk about how those lessons were learned from Jesus originally and apply to all of us.
The first lesson talked about respect. When Jesus was ministering to others and living His life on earth, he showed compassion, love, and respect to those around Him. Colossians 1:16 tell us, “For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him.” (NIV) Therefore, if anyone should have a sense of entitlement, it would be God. However, the Bible depicts Jesus as demonstrating the opposite. He shared everything He had, especially the most important gift He could give – salvation through Himself. It’s a choice we have to actively make, but Jesus gave it freely. John 3:16-18 says it best: “This is how much God loved the world: He gave his Son, his one and only Son. And this is why: so that no one need be destroyed; by believing in him, anyone can have a whole and lasting life. God didn’t go to all the trouble of sending his Son merely to point an accusing finger, telling the world how bad it was. He came to help, to put the world right again. Anyone who trusts in him is acquitted; anyone who refuses to trust him has long since been under the death sentence without knowing it. And why? Because of that person’s failure to believe in the one-of-a-kind Son of God when introduced to him.” (The Message)
Secondly, Jesus was perfect. He was sinless. Hebrews 4:15 explains “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin.” (NIV) Jesus doesn’t expect me to attain perfection, but the Bible is clear that as His child, it’s my responsibility to work toward becoming more and more like Jesus, using His life as a guide for how to live my life. The Message Bible paints such a beautiful picture of how this happens in II Corinthians 3:16-18: “Whenever, though, they turn to face God as Moses did, God removes the veil and there they are—face-to-face! They suddenly recognize that God is a living, personal presence, not a piece of chiseled stone. And when God is personally present, a living Spirit, that old, constricting legislation is recognized as obsolete. We’re free of it! All of us! Nothing between us and God, our faces shining with the brightness of his face. And so we are transfigured much like the Messiah, our lives gradually becoming brighter and more beautiful as God enters our lives and we become like him.” Therefore, when confronted with areas of sin in my life, I want to be quick to confess and make things right. Not out of a sense of obligation or judgment but because of the intimate relationship I have formed with my living, breathing Savior.
Lastly, Jesus was generous with grace. He didn’t condemn people who messed up. He freely gave grace and through loving them, helped them want to change their behaviors. The first aspect of receiving grace is confessing our wrongdoing. I John 1:9 reassures me of that: “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” (NIV) Then, after I’ve confessed that I sinned, I am free to fully embrace the grace that God so generously gives. Ephesians 4:7 tells me, “But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it.” (NIV)
Yes, my children taught me so much more than not to lie about eating Thin Mints. They showed me that you don’t have to be a certain age to model the way Jesus lived on earth many years ago. I can’t wait to see what they’re going to teach me next.
© Cheri Swalwell 2014