And God is able to make every grace overflow to you, so that in every way, always having everything you need, you may excel in every good work. (2 Corinthians 9:8)
But He gives greater grace. That is why Scripture says: “God sets Himself against the proud and haughty, but gives grace to those who are humble enough to receive it.” (James 4:6)
Though there is nothing you can do to “earn” God’s favor, a person is quite capable of limiting the Lord’s grace in his or her life. When it comes to grace, the insightful adage, “your attitude determines your altitude,” rings true in many ways.
Now, when studying the Scriptures, whenever we discover a phrase or an idea repeated twice or more, we should regard it like a flashing light trying to get our attention. And so, it would behoove a person to pay special attention to the truth which God has repeated. In the case of grace, both the apostle James and the apostle Peter wrote of the same spiritual reality: The Lord resists the proud but gives grace to the humble (see James 4:6, 12 and 1 Peter 5:5).
Self-will, which is rooted in pride, causes God to step back and refrain from pouring out his grace upon an individual. When a person isn’t seeking after the Lord or refuses to submit to his will when it’s been revealed, why would we ever think that He’d empower that person in their waywardness? Newsflash: He will not!
Unfortunately, more than a few Christians intentionally steer clear from delving into the subject of grace because they have the mistaken idea that grace gives a person “a license to sin.” However, nothing could be further from the truth! God’s grace upon us gives us the wherewithal to overcome temptation and sin. It is only by his grace—and not our own self-will or perseverance—that we are able to come out on the victory side against sin.
Both apostles who wrote that humility is the key to receiving greater grace in our lives were referring to a “submitted life”—one in which a person’s deepest desire is to know God and his ways. Another aspect of humility is that a person is “teachable.” Being a “know-it-all” results in a person being “on their own”—because the flow of God’s grace will be thwarted.
On Jesus’ last night with his disciples, in the Upper Room, just prior to being taken away to be crucified, He told them, “”I am the true vine… you are the branches… you can do nothing without Me. If you remain in Me and My words remain in you, ask whatever you want and it will be done for you” (John 15:1,5,7). God’s enabling power comes from the True Vine, Jesus Christ. God’s grace flows from him to and through his followers, those who abide in him and his Word.
In short, grace comes from a person—the person of Jesus Christ. And as we humble ourselves before the Master, we receive an overflow from his throne room of grace—power from on high!
Be encouraged! No matter what circumstances you may face, if you will seek the Lord with all your heart, He will pour out his grace upon you. And it will meet your every need.
For this reason, many of the letters in the New Testament, as well as the Book of Revelation, conclude with the phrase, “The grace of the Lord Jesus be with you all.” Let it be so in your life! Amen.
Until the next time, which will be our final installment in this series on grace, walk in the Spirit… and be a blessing!