By Sami Fortin
I come today to confess: I haven’t always been the person who apologizes first or asks forgiveness. I react without thinking. I speak before I have a chance to really listen. I want to be the person that’s never offended and knows the right things to say (at the right time), the first to laugh or make a joke out of something before it turns into an argument.
Your word says you’ve given us not a spirit of fear (or anxiety), but a spirit of love, power and self-control. I think this looks a lot like using the patience you’ve given us for ourselves and for others. I pray that you’d not only help me to use the gift of grace, but you’d pour it out through me for other people around me to enjoy.
I can’t change other people or the weather or my circumstances; the only power I have is to change myself. I need to recognize my need to change, see something in me that’s not pleasing to you, or lining up with your word, like communication problems and relationship problems.
I’ve been reading the Proverbs that tell us wisdom begins with knowledge of the Holy One and that fools hate wisdom and discipline. Lord, I don’t want to be a fool. I want to handle myself well, so at the end of the day, I can say I used grace and am satisfied with my choices.
We are to listen and add learning, to be discerning and get guidance. We have to be humble enough to ask for help. If we will turn our ear to wisdom, which can be found in your true word, and apply our hearts to understanding, if we’ll call out for insight, search for it like treasure, then we’ll understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God.
When we can come into this place, we’ll understand what is right and just, fair, and know every good path. That’s where I want to be found, following you. Help me and others not to forget your teachings and to know the best gift in life is the grace you give when we’ve made mistakes or don’t measure up.
You’re always enough for us. Your grace is sufficient. You are able to fill up our lives, where there’s emptiness or pain, loss or sickness. You’ve come to bring salvation, not condemnation. Lord, change my heart so it lines up with your perfect will. Allow me the grace to see others as you do. Just children who need some love to see them through their differences.
I don’t have enough in me to see to the cares of this whole world, but maybe in some small way each of us is significant for changing the world one grace at a time. Let us hold out the same grace you’ve given us so others can know they’re loved, in fact they’re the best thing since peanut butter.
May we be built up until we reach the unity of faith in knowing the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the measure of the fullness of Christ. Then we’ll be able to share your grace more consistently. This takes time, so take us back to patience for ourselves and others. May your grace make us hunger for more of You.
In Jesus’ holy, mighty name, amen.