“Grace be unto you, and peace, from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ”
(1 Corinthians 1:3).
There is a difference between the grace of God and the peace He promises. We must first have the grace of God before we can experience His peace. Scripture tells us that we are saved by grace, not by peace. But like grace, we cannot earn it; it is a gift from our sovereign God. He does this for us; we cannot produce His grace or the peace it yields through our own efforts.
I like this analogy: There is a belt with an alarm diabetics can wear that automatically puts insulin into the body when it detects insulin is needed. Grace is like that belt. It won’t kick in when WE CAN do something. It kicks in when we are at the end of ourselves and can’t do it. That’s when we know it is God that is keeping us going.
“…Wherefore He saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble” (James 4:6).
On the other hand, show me an arrogant man and I will show you a man without the grace of God. Many people talk about grace, but there is no sign of grace in their lives. Pride and grace are like sin and holiness; they cannot coexist. Grace is a gift given only to the humble because the humble give credit to God. We can be proud of many things – our children, our spouses – but would we have these people in our lives without the grace of God? I think not.
I pray always that there will never be a spirit of arrogance in our ministry; if there is, grace will not be present. No one owes us, or any ministry a thing. Whatever comes in to help us rescue the orphans is due to the grace of God, which is also present in the giver’s heart. It is not due to my speaking, concerts, or appeals; it is due to the grace of God.
“But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ…”
(2 Peter 3:18)
How do we grow in grace and knowledge? Read the Word of God! I hear people say they went to a service and felt the Spirit. Yet I know they have not opened their Bible in a year. If we want to grow in our relationship with God, the Word of God must be proclaimed in a service and in our personal lives. You won’t experience the peace of God by simply attending a service, I don’t care how moving or beautiful the event. The Bible tells us to acquire discernment by reading the Word and being obedient to it.
He will bestow more grace when we acknowledge the first wave of grace. Once we depend on His grace, there is no shortage of it. Whatever we are facing, there is grace upon grace and then His peace comes from reading the Word. It is not always a “feeling”; His peace is “knowing” that God will never abandon us even when we can’t “feel” His presence. We will never know His peace without humbly receiving His grace and getting to know Him by reading His Word, which then produces the peace He promised us.