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Grace - God's Ability

Wendy Bailey

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Man, by God’s design, is capable of great accomplishments.  But in that design, to which we are fearfully and wonderfully made, man is capable of even greater things because of God’s grace. When we think of grace, we often think of God’s favor, or His mercy.  Yet grace is even more than that.  Grace is God’s ability; an excellence or power granted by God. 

God never created us to accomplish any work without His grace.  If He had, we wouldn’t have needed Jesus!  We could have saved ourselves through our own works.  But God didn’t set it up that way.  Ephesians 2:8 says, “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God.”  In other words, we were saved by God’s ability and our faith in that ability.

God wants us to depend on His grace, His ability, in every situation in our lives.  Oh, how we’ve spent too much time trying to accomplish everything in our own ability, rather than spending time in the presence of God and doing it through his ability!  Without His grace, we can burn out.  But God doesn’t want us to quit, or burn out.  He wants us to depend on His grace!

In Zechariah 4, Zerubbabel had a great project ahead of him.  His project was to complete the task of rebuilding the temple, despite opposition from the neighboring Samaritans.  Additionally, the people he had to work with were greatly discouraged, apathetic and many had turned away from the Lord.  Certainly, it would have been extremely difficult to accomplish the task in their own strength.  But God, in His great love, lays out the plan on how the temple is to be rebuilt. 

Zechariah 4:6-7

6          Then he answered and spake unto me, saying, This is the word of the LORD unto Zerubbabel, saying, Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, saith the LORD of hosts.

7          Who art thou, O great mountain? before Zerubbabel thou shalt become a plain: and he shall bring forth the headstone thereof with shoutings, crying, Grace, grace unto it.

The plan on rebuilding the temple was to be accomplished not by their own strength or power, but by God’s power – His ability, or his grace.  The task that seemed like a mountain would become a plain.  What seemed so difficult in the natural would come forth by shouting grace to it.  What tasks are we facing today that seem so difficult that could not change if we only shouted grace to it?

Now notice the following verse in the same chapter.

Zech 4:8-9

8          Moreover the word of the LORD came unto me, saying,

9          The hands of Zerubbabel have laid the foundation of this house; his hands shall also finish it; and thou shalt know that the LORD of hosts hath sent me unto you.

In verse 6-7, God lays out the plan to accomplish the task by grace.  Yet in verse 9, is says that Zerubbabel will finish it with his hands.  Zerubbabel couldn’t just throw up his hands and say, “Ok God, you do it” and sit back and have a lemonade!  No, God’s way has always been to work through us.  The difference with grace is the power working through us, which is His Spirit.  And we know the power of the Holy Spirit – the same Spirit which raised Christ from the dead.  We should have no doubt in God’s ability.

Whatever we do in life, we need to depend upon his grace, otherwise we are laboring in vain.   Ps 127:1 says, “Except the LORD build the house, they labour in vain that build it.”  Laboring in vain means that we might work ourselves into the ground, and still not yield the desired outcome.  When we rest on His ability, the outcome is always fruitful.

The apostle Paul knew the secret of grace.  In the face of opposition, God gave him a revelation.

2 Cor 12:9

“And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness.”

Why is this verse so important?  Because Paul truly depended on God.  He recognized that whatever came against him, he didn’t have to fight it in his own strength.  He trusted in God’s ability and strength to continue in the work of the ministry.  How are we to get to the other side of whatever we are facing?  The same way – by grace through faith (by God’s ability and our faith in that ability).

Just as we operate in faith, we need to operate in His grace.  How can we activate the grace of God in our lives?

(1) Simply ask for it.  God will not withhold any good thing from those who walk uprightly.  Hebrews 4:16 says, “Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.”  God’s ability is ever ready for us.  We need only ask.

(2) Be humble.  Pride will always get in the way of God’s grace.  Think about the person who is lost, driving around for hours trying to find a certain location, when they know they could just stop at the gas station and ask for directions.  What keeps them from just stopping?  Usually pride!  The “I know how to do this” or “I can handle it” attitude never cuts it when it comes to grace.  If you could do it yourself, you would have done it by now.  God’s ability works best in a thoroughly yielded vessel.

James 4:6

“But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble.”

(3) Know the Word.  When you know the Word, you’ll be fully persuaded of God’s ability.  In fact, the more intimate knowledge you have of God, His ability will be multiplied in your life.  2 Peter 1:2 states, “Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord.”

2 Cor 9:8 says this:  “And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work.”  God wants you and I to be everything he created us to be.  God’s grace, His ability, is truly amazing.  Draw upon it in every and any situation.  God’s best is ahead of you, as you take hold of His grace.