June / July 2018 - Vol. 98
CHALLENGES IN LIVING TOGETHER AS COMMUNITY

acts
                            of kindness and grace 
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Being Men and Women of Grace
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by Tom Caballes

"And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory,
glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.
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- John 1:14 ESV
In the situation where you are in - your family, neighborhood, school, or at the workplace, how much difference do you make? Does your presence in situations, both big and small, matter? God has placed us in different circumstances at different points in time to make a splash, a bang, a noise - for a purpose. God desires us to be men and women of grace - specifically, of God's grace. God wants His grace to overflow on us and towards all the people we meet. We are God's agents of grace on the face of the earth, and He wants us to make a difference in big and small ways. Are you ready to live a grace-bestowing life?

So How Do You Become a Man or Woman of Grace?

  1. Be friendly. Aim to make new friends show genuine interest with people. Reach out to the lonely and those with no friends. Make the most out of your God-given relationships. Be outwardly-driven rather than be self-absorbed or gadget focused. Build bridges of relationships rather than center on tasks and activities.
  2. Be positive when you are with people. Philippians 4:8 says we should dwell on what is true, honorable, just, pure, lovely, commendable, excellent, and praise-worthy. Show people hope instead of despair. Help people to seek courage rather than give in to fear.  Avoid negativity, slander, and gossip. Be a light to other people rather than be part of the darkness. Be encouraging. Be the positive influence of the people around you. Lead or direct conversations that are wholesome and up-building as best possible as you can. As importantly as knowing what to say and when to say things, bite your tongue if you have nothing good to say. Your tongue can be a powerful tool in the building up or destroying Gods Kingdom. See Colossians 4:6 and James 3:1-12. 
  3. Romans 12:10 encourages us to outdo one another in showing honour. We tend to take people around us for granted, especially those close to us. Show gratitude for big and small things people do for you. Honour the people for the way they mean to you, even if it is not their birthdays. Be sincere when you honour people do not flatter or do a lip service; they will know if you are faking it. Be creative in honouring others.
  4. Being a man or woman of grace means having the character of Christ. If you love, forgive, think, act and behave as Jesus would have in your situation, Gods grace would be transparent in you, and people will get attracted to the way you live your life.  You will make a difference. So, grow in becoming like Jesus in all things.  
  5. Be open to sharing your life with Christ in a way that attracts them to Christ. Be transparent so others can see the light of Christ in you. Use discretion in all situations, but do not also be closed about sharing to others about your relationship with God. Giving people a small peak of your life with God can make them curious.  
  6. Our lives here on earth are just like a momentary blip in the night sky or a small ripple in the sea of eternity. What we do in that short time can make a huge difference to others, who also live short lives, as to where they will spend eternity. If we choose to become radically loving, people-focused, and grace-giving people, others around us would be blessed tremendously by our temporary presence here on earth. And at the end, you help them in your own little way for them to get closer to having eternal life with God.  In a way, its all that matters.  
Other Scripture passages:
  1. Walk in wisdom toward outsiders, making the best use of the time. Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person. [Colossians 4:5-6 ESV]
  2. But as you excel in everything--in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in all earnestness, and in our love for you - see that you excel in this act of grace also. [2 Corinthians 8:7 ESV]
  3. But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. [2 Peter 3:18A ESV]
  4. Other References: John 1:16; Ephesians 1: 3-14; Ephesians 2:8-9; and Hebrews 12:15.
For personal reflection or group sharing
What changes do you need to make so you can be a more radically loving, people-focused, and grace-giving person?
Tom Caballes is the National Senior Administrator and a National Coordinator of the Lamb of God, a community of the Sword of the Spirit with 7 branches located throughout New Zealand. Tom also leads Kairos New Zealand, an outreach program for high school, university, and post-university aged people. 

Tom and his wife Mhel and their two daughters live in Wellington, New Zealand.

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Top photo images from bigstock.com

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