If you’re like me, as you bid farewell to 2016 this past weekend, your thoughts quickly pivoted to the year ahead. Some of us made resolutions (some of which have already been broken) and most of us at least pondered what 2017 will have in store. Increasingly, it seems, our nature as a society is to look forward – not always with patience – figuratively straining our necks to see what is next.
But before we turn our gaze to peer through the windshield at the year ahead, let’s take one last glance into the rear-view mirror to appreciate the year gone by.
As an appreciation of God’s love, consider how he generously blessed you this past year. Was it a personal event, such as the birth of a child, a union with a new spouse, recovery from an illness, or perhaps an opportunity that permitted you to better provide for your family or others in need? Or was it an experience with God himself – the gift of deeper spiritual understanding and growth, or even feeling God’s hand guiding you to more fully use your gifts to further his kingdom? Whatever his gift, take time to thank him for his love and generosity.
All of God’s blessings are worthy of our appreciation, but none compares with his ultimate blessing – the gift of his grace.
The closing week of the “Surprised by God” series featured scripture from the book of Titus. Earlier this week, we dug into the book of Titus to examine how we have fallen short of God’s example by being foolish and disobedient, and how God saved us, not because we were deserving, but because of his mercy. Today, as we explore Titus 3:6-7, Paul tells us of how God has generously given us his spirit and, through his grace, made us right and provided us the confidence that we will inherit eternal life.
God’s blessings are not only wondrous; they are also essential. It is by no other method than accepting him as our Lord and Savior, and in doing so receiving the gift of his unmerited grace, that we obtain salvation.
The amazing thing about God’s grace is that it both humbles us and gives us confidence. Think about that. Too often, we associate being humbled with shame or possessing low self-esteem. But as author and theologian C.S. Lewis famously wrote in his book Mere Christianity, “True humility is not thinking less of yourself; it is thinking of yourself less.” Our humility comes from knowing that we do not deserve God’s grace; from thinking of ourselves less in terms of the credit for achievements.
At the same time, our confidence comes from knowing and believing that our eternal destiny is secure – again, not because of our own works, but because of those of Jesus. The result is a confident humility that serves as a powerful tailwind in our walk with God.
6He generously poured out the Spirit upon us through Jesus Christ our Savior. 7Because of his grace he made us right in his sight and gave us confidence that we will inherit eternal life.
For which of God’s blessings were you most grateful this past year?
What does God’s grace mean to you … and for you?
What can you do you more fully appreciate the humility and confidence that are inherent in the gift of God’s grace?
Heavenly Father, I thank you for your love and blessings, and most of all for the unmerited gift of your grace. Help me to appreciate the humility and confidence that come with your gifts, and to live my life buoyed by the confident humility that your grace provides. Amen.
This post was written by Todd Romain, a regular contributor to and editor of the LivingItOut Daily Bible Study.