23 March 2011

Growing in Grace

Building Better Relationships Ch. 8

Growing in Grace

This was probably the longest chapter of the book, but packed full of truth.  "We cannot begin to obey these commandments without a big attitude adjustment, which is called "renewing of the mind" in the Bible."

Romans 12: 2 Do not conform any longer  to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.  Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is-his good, pleasing and perfect will.

I loved this chapter because it spoke all about our thought life.  We really get into so much hate and bitterness because of the way we think about other people.  We allow our minds to focus on the negative in people's personalities, their faults, the things that hurt us and annoy us, and we don't even give them a chance.  We play this "mental revenge movie" over and over and instead of stopping the tape and giving the person a second chance we fill the movie with more negative feelings and hurts.  Sometimes we can't even control when this movie will play, but nevertheless it comes on in our mind, and we are right back where we started from with being angry or hurt at someone.  If we want to GROW in GRACE with problem people in our life then we have to learn how to respond lovely to unloving people...and it all begins with our thought life!

We need to have scriptural thinking as a "necessity for right relationships."

Philippians 4: 8
 8 Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. 

I'm even choosing to put my favorite pictures in this post because I want my thoughts to be focused on good memories and lovely thoughts as I type.  God wants us to fill our thoughts with the positive.  He doesn't want us to rehash or brood over the past or the things that hurt us or the people who were rude or mean to us.  These negative thoughts will come, but when they do it is our CHOICE to dwell on these thoughts or remember a verse, remember the positive, or say a prayer.  We all have problem people in our life!  Thank God for them!  Because of them, you are being molded into the man or woman of God He wants you to be!  The way we treat the problem people in our life is a testimony of our character.  I think of my mom's mom.  My Grandma Corrine is a true saint!  She had 7 children!  She got saved at a Billy Graham Crusade in the 60's.  She also was cheated on by her first husband.  By her "best friend!"  A woman who came to the house, played cards with them, went to parties with them hurt her the most.

My grandfather called one day to tell her the truth about the affair and she tells us the story that she just screamed on the phone because of the pain she felt.  But guess what?  In spite of all the hurt, the drama, the 7 children to raise and care for in a godly way, she is friends with my grandfather to this day.  And my grandfather is still with the "other woman".    My grandfather is now a devout believer in Christ, and I can't help thinking that Grandma's testimony and the way she treated him and the "other woman" at parties, graduations, get togethers (and there are a lot with 7 children and 13 grandchildren and 2 great grand children...mark and julia).  I am amazed at the Grace my grandmother extends to all.  She is the kindest most loving person, and super prayer warrior I've ever met!  And it's because of Christ and how He has worked in her life.  The Grace Christ extended towards her is the Grace she extends towards others.  My grandmother never said a negative word about my Aunt Jena.  She never treated her cold or gave her the cold shoulder.  In fact she would sit right next to her, offer a hug or a kiss, ask how she is doing, etc.  Unbelievable right?  I never knew their story til I was older and my mom told me, I never would have known.  My grandmother always showed love which had to be very hard at times.  But to God be the glory.  Grace is God's Riches At Christ's Expense.  We get grace not because we earn it or are good enough we get grace because God is so Good...it is totally undeserved.  We need to be willing to extend that same undeserving grace to others who we feel have no right, those people who have abused us, wronged us, neglected us, overlooked us, ignored us, belittled us.  You are right they don't deserve grace, but then, neither do we. 

"How quickly we want to escape our people problems.  We want the people removed from our lives, or to blame them for our discomfort."

Ephesians 4: 23 Be renewed in the spirit of your mind.

Colossians 3:2 Set your mind on things above not on things on the earth.

1 Peter 1: 13 Gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, rest your hope fully upon the grace that is to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus.

When "problem people" are put in my life, my job is to change my way of thinking about them.  My job is to extend grace and love to them no matter what.  I may have to set up healthy boundaries, but there is never ever a reason for me to be rude or unkind.  S*tan wants us to believe his lies when our thoughts need to be set on the truth.

Here are some of his lies...
*When people act unfairly, unkindly, thoughtlessly or obnoxiously I should blame them and dwell on the wrong done to me or others.
*When I am rejected, hurt, or unfairly treated I have a right to be in a bad mood and harbor negative thoughts.

God's truth says: Ephesians 4:32 that we are to be forgiving, kind and tenderhearted, even as Christ forgave you!

Gina brought up a great point in Bible study yesterday.  Animals react on instinct.  A dog might just snap at you in fear.  But we are not animals.  We can think through a situation before we act.  We can ask God for wisdom and guidance in how to handle a situation.  We don't have to react with a snap or be harsh.  We can change our way of thinking and work on our emotions so that we respond with GRACE.

I don't know about you but I want a healthy thought life.  I want to think about the things that are going to move me forward in my journey here on earth.  I don't want to dwell on the past or have to avoid people who have hurt me.  I want to live a life of GRACE.  I'm praying that we can all grow in grace and choose to dwell on the positive.  Let's set our minds on the things above not on the petty things.

I hope you were able to build better relationships with this book.  I know I definitely grew a lot during this study.  Click on any of the chapters you missed and be blessed today!

Chapter 1
Chapter 2
Chapter 3
Chapter 4
Chapter 5
Chapter 6
Chapter 7

1 comment:

  1. Wow! What a powerful account of your grandmother! That is complete grace.


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