They draw continually on the goodness and power of Jesus Christ, and then they breathe his love, kindness and wisdom into all of their relationships.
This is what the Apostle Paul had in mind in Ephesians 4:29, where he calls each of us to â€œgive graceâ€ to others.
â€œLet no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.â€
What does Paul mean by the word â€œgraceâ€? It is a rich biblical term. In a broad sense, grace often refers to the kindness of God to man (Luke 1:30). But Paul usually uses it to describe something even more wonderful, which is Godâ€™s kindness or mercy to those who do not deserve it, actually, to those who deserves just the opposite! (Eph. 2:1-5).
Breathing grace means to breathe in Godâ€™s grace, which is the undeserved love, kindness, mercy, forgiveness, strength, and wisdom that he gives to us through Jesus Christ, and then breathe it out to others, even if they do not deserve it.
We take our first deep breath of Godâ€™s grace by believing in his Son and receiving his gift of forgiveness. We can continue to breathe in his grace on a moment-by-moment basis by studying and meditating on his Word, by praying to him, by thanking him for his mercy and rejoicing in our salvation, by delighting in his character and many kindnesses, by worshiping him, by partaking of the Lordâ€™s Supper, and by enjoying the fellowship of other believers.
As we fill our souls with his grace, he wants us to breathe it out to others. We usually do this with our words, but we can also do it with our actions. This can be done in countless ways (I had to work hard to shorten the list!):
- By bringing hope through the gospel (Col. 1:5).
- By praying for others (Phil. 1:3-6).
- By bringing encouraging words, a cheerful look, or good news to others (Prov. 15:30; 16:24).
- By reading Scripture to others (1 Thess. 2:13).
- By giving a gentle answer in response to anger (Prov. 15:1).
- By bringing laughter and music to others (Ps. 126:2).
- By looking for the good in others instead of the bad (Prov. 11:27).
- By making charitable judgments about others, that is, believing the best about them until you have facts to prove otherwise (Matt. 7:12; 1 Cor. 13:7).
- By confessing your wrongs and acknowledging Godâ€™s mercy (Ps. 51; 1 Tim. 1:15-17).
- By drawing attention to EGGâ€™s (evidences of Godâ€™s grace) in other peopleâ€™s lives (1 Cor. 1:4-9).
- By gently showing others their faults (Gal. 6:1).
- By appealing for mercy on behalf of others (1 Sam. 25:1-38).
- By forgiving others as God has forgiven us (Luke 23:34; Eph. 4:32).
The more deliberately you breathe in the grace of God today, the more you will breathe out his grace to others â€¦ and experience the kind of relationships that reflect his love and extend his kingdom (John 13:34-35).
– Ken Sande
- Think of someone you consistently enjoy talking with; how does that person â€œbreathe graceâ€ to you?
- How can these spiritual disciplines make you more aware of Godâ€™s grace to you? Studying and meditating on his Word, praying to him, thanking him for his mercy and rejoicing in your salvation, delighting in his character and many kindnesses, worshiping him, partaking of the Lordâ€™s Supper, enjoying the fellowship of other believers. How can you practice them more productively?
- Which three ways of breathing grace to others will you ask God to enable you to practice more consistently this week?
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Â© 2015 Ken Sande
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