Thank goodness God has extended it to us and we can live our lives as less of a reflection of our old self but now... instead a better person... living a renewed life being more compassionate, empathetic, understanding and giving.
When we walk a closer walk with God we don't also recieve a shining sticker to flaunt like a proud pre-schooler, claiming that we are better than others. This walk of superiority is not only without justification but also harmful. Instead, we should be humbled and walk in graciousness that we are further along than we once were.
We can look back and see how far we've come and by examining specific areas see the progress we've made in life. This beautiful progression is from God's hand as is the grace extended by Him. Grace is given to us despite the ugly, dark and less than lovely sins, stumbles and flailing about.... yet there we are with His love.
Stop in the name of love...
By stepping away from the sins we've committed and firmly saying "No more..." and asking for God's help to stop re-committing them, we can take a significant step toward a new platform... one of betterment yet not better-than-thou. We have to take care not to allow ourselves to become haughty in nature or judgmental toward others who are not sharing the same platform. There will be times we may fail miserably at this yet don't fret... carry on.
There are platforms of all levels of progression yet in no way does one justify superiority. For we are all works of beautiful progress and no matter how further ahead, we are undeniably all still sinners.... and knowing that we have Christ's love.
If we didn't have God's grace think of what we might still be doing.... the saying "I'm not where I need to be but thank goodness I'm not where I used to be!" is so true and reaffirms that we can be comfortable with ourselves and who we are yet always ready to embrace further chiseling by God's hand.
I set my car in park and grabbed my leather clutch from the passenger seat. My daughter was excitedly removing her seat belt from the back seat almost giddy from anticipation... that moment we were on a donut run... although it was extremely early, still dark out and not being a morning person... I smiled at her vocal spattering of what she planned to order... it always being like this... a long list of so many donuts she desired that we could easily feed a small country if finances allowed. As she jumped out of the SUV and I took her warm little hand, clasping it in mine, we strode to the sidewalk with her pulling on my hand trying to lead the way.
As we did she saw something that made her pull back and pause to allow me to take the lead instead. Ahead of us on the sidewalk coming toward us was a young woman give or take around twenty... she had just exited a small car that had seen much better days.... she however was strikingly beautiful... her face like that of a classic beauty like Grace Kelly with long lovingly cared for blonde hair that looked conditioned and shiny .... yet she was dressed in skintight black pants with baring holes, a long sheer top revealing flesh and high heeled booties. However disarming her clothing may have been we can choose to take pause and not judge... to not look at the superficial outside but to remember this is a person with feelings, a past, present and future.
Reminding myself that once when I was give or take twenty years old, I myself would have thought nothing of wearing a similar outfit and chronically walked a path of stubborn pride, casting God off as requiring too many constraints on the fun life, the here and now. Yet here and now, I opened the door for her with a smile and was met with her startled expression.
Her initial reaction by her facial expression said to me "You're opening the door? For me?" followed by a gracious thank you and smile back.
Yes, yes I am....
I'm opening the door for you.
Just as God opened it for me.
When we see someone who resembles our old self either by their actions, their words or their dress, etc... we can stop the automatic fleshy desire to judge them and take pause.... and say to ourselves "Instead of shutting down and turning away... instead of spurning this person... I'm going to keep my heart open, walk in love and remember I was once in their shoes too. That instead of turning away I'm going to smile and say "hello" and ask God to bless them." as God has shown mercy unto us.
How blessed are we
to have God's grace!
But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ— by grace you have been saved—and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.
© gps-gracepowerstrength.blogspot.com ~ 2013
image “Blonde Caucasian Girl Posing Outdoors” by Serge Bertasius
Photography via FreeDigitalPhotos.net