Activators of grace and peace

italy-78177_6401Corinthians 1:3: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Grace and peace are like twins. Grace fuels you forward, peace makes you grounded. The bible says: it is good that the heart be established with grace not with food which has not benefitted those who are given to it. So Paul was saying in the focus verse that it is better to “eat” grace than to eat food for energy. It is more sustaining.

When God wants to send help it comes in the shape of grace. The help which Jesus is the embodiment of, which was sent to the earth was said to be full of grace. Jesus is a grace-package (John 1:14). And when Paul wanted to write about Jesus he identified him with his grace, saying the grace of the lord Jesus be with you (2Corinthians 13:14).

Grace is about activity while peace is about rest. When it comes to the operation of spiritual gifts, it is about grace (Romans 12:1-8, 1Peter 4:10-11).

You have a certain grace (which you get from Jesus) that you should release to the life of theirs which you do when you step into the various activities that you are called to do.

There was a parable that Jesus gave about how people use the talents that they are given. This has to do with the special abilities that God gives his servants. In that parable, the master said: occupy till I come. They were expected to use those abilities, graces well. Grace is what flows, while the gift is the firm in which it will happen.

Peter said that when we come to Christ we are expected to serve with the grace we have through him. We have different gifts, which are different forms in which the grace of Jesus gets communicated to others.

In the Garden of Eden, God called Adam to keep and tend the garden (Genesis 2:15), to enhance and protect it, and with that instruction comes the grace to do the work.

God does not give an assignment without the grace to succeed in it. If you are struggling in an assignment, always feeling incompetent, and rather than make progress you are drawn back, it is a sign that maybe you do not have the grace for the output that you want to release.

You may ask the question: which one does God give to the minister, and which one is released to the people? Are both graces? So where does the gift come from?

Answer: what comes from God is grace which turns to gift in the individual. I call it grace-gift. But for those who encounter the grace from others, they experience the gift in the life of the minster, which becomes grace in their lives.

Paul told Timothy to stir up the gift that is in him. He did not ask him to do anything else, other than put to use the gift in him. He recommended that the way to do that is to embrace the grace activators which are: love, sound mind and power (2Timothy 1:6-7).

Activators of grace

Sound mind

For sound mind, Paul wrote to the church in Rome that they should not think more highly of themselves, than they ought, but to “think” soberly as God has given them the measure of faith.

That means your self-perception will be defined by your contribution through the application of your grace-gift to others.
To think you will succeed in the ministry God has given you, to think you can do all things through Christ shows you have a sound mind (Philippians 4:13).

When God told to Moses to go and rescue the children of Israel (Exodus 3:1-4:18), he did not apply the principle of sound mind and allowed fear to mess up his thinking, and push him back from going to confront Pharaoh, from doing the will of God.  Hunted by his past he was afraid of his future. He rejected the grace on offer for him to do the great things God was offering him, because his mind was twisted by fear. Eventually he was given no choice but to go. But if the fear had been all he knew, he would not have stepped into the role God wanted for him, and release the grace for the rescue of the children of Israel from Egypt.

Love

Love is a grace activator. It causes you to draw near to God to receive grace from him, because love is about attraction.

Love activates grace to flow through you. Jesus when he ministered to people was moved by compassion. Being the embodiment of the love of God, power flowed through him on the wings of his love for the people. When we live in love we live in God who is the source of all grace. The bible says love believes all things (1Corinthians 13:7), which means that he (the one who loves) is opened to receive from others and to God moving through them, since God is love. As we receive and increase in grace, we can release more to others.

Power

Power also activates grace. When we receive the power of the Holy Spirit we experience his the spirit of grace. That means grace us generated in us and we have nothing to do with it. The bible says that there is a power at work in us, the same which raised Jesus from the dead (Ephesians 1:15-21).  We also read that we have the heavenly treasure in earthen vessels so that the glory for the manifestation of the power can be of God (2Corinthians 4:7), and not of us. So that the praise can go to God. And when power comes timidity goes out the window.

Activators of peace

The God of peace

When things are seen from God’s perspective then peace is the eventual result, because God is not rattled by anything. God sees the end from the beginning, the end which is glorious for his children (Isaiah 46:9-10). And God’s end is always joy. Jesus saw from God’s point of view as he moved to Golgotha to be crucified. The bible says: for the joy set before him he endured the cross, despising the shame (Hebrews 12:2). He did not see the difficulty of the cross as his end, so he walked in the value of the shadow of death fearing no evil. Paul calls God the God of peace (Romans 16:20).

The prince of peace

The prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6) is Jesus and he rules in our heart and makes his peace manifest there. As the Word, we get coded with his peace on the inside, which colours our earthly experience. We are baptised with his peace.

When Jesus was born the angels said: peace on the earth (Luke 2:14). The reign of Jesus in our heart is marked by peace. The bible says the expansion of his kingdom and of peace there shall be no limit, no end. He said he gives us his peace (John 13:27). He is our peace (Ephesians 2:14, Romans 5:1).

Jesus going in a boat across a sea, together with his disciples, rebuked the wind and the storm which rose up against them. He said: peace be still (Mark 4:39). God said be still and know that I am God (Psalm 46:10). When we call Jesus Lord, his lordship of light begins in our hearts.  What he offers is lasting peace, constantly being generated by the Holy Spirit within us (Galatians 5:22-23).

The gospel of peace

When we preach the gospel of peace (Ephesians 6:15) we give others the opportunity to come into peace with God. When we understand our ministry of reconciliation, we would with earnestness tell people that God was in Christ reconciling to the world to himself, not willing that anyone perish but to come to salvation, telling them that the unrest in them is because of their being outside of God’s peace orbit. And that Peace orbit is Jesus Christ (Matthew 11:28-30).

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