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Monday, January 21, 2013

Grace is an invitation to intimacy!

Today I’m concluding my “Dress for Success” series.  We’ve been looking at the “new clothes” we have in our wardrobe that we can choose to “put on” for the benefit of our marriages.

These new clothes are described in Colossians 3. (You can click the links to see the other posts in this series):
Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience … And above all these, put on love.
Colossians 3:12,14

Between these two verses we find this instruction in verse 13:
Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.
Colossians 3:13

For the sake of the series, I am calling this putting on grace.

The Power of Grace

Did you know that grace is actually an invitation to intimacy?

God extended grace to us through the death of his Son, Jesus, so that we could have intimacy with him forever. Forgiveness was not the goal. Forgiveness was the path to intimacy with God.

It’s the same in marriage.

When faced with the choice to forgive your spouse or not, remember that unforgiveness means separation and forgiveness means intimacy. It’s really that simple.

Don’t let your desire to be right outweigh your desire to be close to your husband or wife!

Let me remind you of the scripture from the Put on Love post in this series.We are called to love like Jesus. His love was not cautious, but extravagant.
Observe how Christ loved us. His love was not cautious but extravagant. He didn't love in order to get something from us but to give everything of himself to us. Love like that.
Ephesians 5:2 (MSG)

Bearing with One Another

I believe this verse goes beyond our need to put on grace in the form of forgiveness when we are wronged. I believe it extends to loving our spouses beyond their weaknesses.

The New Living Translation of Col 3:13 says we are to “make allowance for each other's faults.”

Putting on grace means seeing your spouse through God’s eyes. That’s not easy. We aren’t God. But the truth is that we have been given a new nature in Christ, and that means we can choose to put on grace whenever we want to.

You have faults and weaknesses. Your spouse has faults and weaknesses. How much better would your marriage be if you both chose to focus on each others strengths and assets and disregarded each other’s weaknesses. I’m not talking about tolerating them. I’m talking about looking beyond them, into the very soul of the person you are married to, and seeing them for who they really are.

I’m telling you, the difference would be amazing.

Are you ready to put on grace for the sake of your marriage and to lay aside offense and unforgiveness? Do you have a story of grace in your own marriage? Share it in the comments!

Want to learn more about how to have a grace-full marriage? Check out this series:


Anonymous said...

This was a great series Scott, thanks for writing it. I find there are many scripture references that are so very easy to read, such as, "Making allowances for one another faults," yet difficult to apply -- and even more so when we try and apply them to our marriages. But I find when we do the hard work, you are right - the rewards are worth the effort.

Anonymous said...

I have found that when I can't "put on" this new clothing because of my own weakness or I am overwhelmed, I can ask the Lord to come and clothe me. He is ready and willing to take off my rags of selfishness or apathy and clothe me with love, patience and grace. This is always His will.
And btw, so glad to be married to a man who doesn't just talk the talk but lives what he writes about!
Jenni Means

Scott said...

Thank you, Robyn for your comments on this series. You are right - it is easier to read than to do. But doing starts by just deciding to put it on, and like Jenni said, we have the Holy Spirit on our side to help us.

Wilbur Holz said...

I don't think it is so much giving up my desire to be right. Showing grace and forgiveness means I am right, otherwise I would not need to show it. It has more to deal with how I am going to be right. Instead of paying back or hurting you in some form, even if it is just keeping you at arm's length, putting on grace means I will not exact vengeance in whatever way. My "rightness" will not be used to injure you when I put on grace.

Anonymous said...

Scott, your words are really powerful! "I’m talking about looking beyond them, into the very soul of the person " - these words make me stop and just pause to digest the depth. You are certainly blessed. Thanks

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