Okay, so this is a little hard to write. I’ve been ‘in church’ since well before I was born. But in over 30 years, I was still childlike in understanding God’s grace and favor.
I’ve had the Sunday School answer, a simple, childish acceptance, which is great, but we’re called to a combination of childlike faith and spiritual maturity. (Matthew 18:2-4, Ephesians 4:11-16, Hebrews 6)
I didn’t know what I didn’t know. But now I’m excited. Every time I do learn the Biblical or historical meaning of a word, I find my Bible reading time so much richer. It’s something I need to do more often because it’s so cool!
Today, I want to unpack some of what I’ve learned, understanding the grace of God on a whole new level. Then, I want to show you what that has to do with setting goals. Because it’s HUGE!!! Setting goals with God’s grace and favor will change Everything!
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Understanding God’s Grace and Mercy as a Child
The Sunday School answer, Understanding God’s Grace and Mercy as a child was as simple as this:
Grace is getting something we DON’T deserve, and Mercy is not getting something we DO deserve.
Accurate, sure. But incomplete, and I had no idea!
Ephesians 2:8-9 would be the key verses for this basic understanding.
8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith–and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God– 9 not by works, so that no one can boast.[Eph 2:8-9 NIV]
Understanding the Grace of God is a gift is powerful and life-changing. Salvation is the perfect intersection of God’s Grace and Mercy. We don’t deserve it, it’s a gift, and it spares us from the punishment we absolutely deserve.
Understanding God’s Grace and Favor as an Adult
There was a question in a Bible study I’m doing (Review coming December 11) that inspired me to look up the definition of grace.
Definition of graceMerriam-Webster
1a: unmerited divine assistance given to humans for their regeneration or sanctification
Unmerited Divine Assistance Given to Humans…
So, in plain English, Grace is God helping us become new and Christ-like.
Wow! Makes me think of another verse:
For it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.Philippians 2:13 NIV
I’ve always been encouraged by this verse, but I did not realize that it was talking about God’s Grace!
Biblical Understanding of Grace
So, let’s go from a dictionary definition to a biblical understanding of grace. I don’t want this to be another post that just talks in circles and doesn’t answer the question of helping with understanding God’s grace and favor. Especially when it comes to setting goals as a Christian.
The first part of understanding God’s grace is understanding the saving grace of the cross. God’s grace and favor in calling us, giving us the gift of recognition of our sins and the gift of saving us from the death penalty we have earned. Are there 3 steps to Salvation? (Click if you’re curious!!)
The second part of God’s grace and favor is the ‘favor’ part. God favors us with gifts and assistance we never could earn or deserve.
And that is what we’re here for today. The blessing of God’s grace and favor poured out over-and guiding-our Biblical goal setting and goal getting!
He wants us to live with purpose, not drift along. God gave us the desires that are in our hearts, and he wants to help us get from here to there. Remember Philippians 2:13, It’s God at work in us, giving us the desires, and the actions to fulfill his good purpose.
Grace and Goal-Setting
Think about the most common goals. Aren’t they usually fitness or finance-related? Maybe relationships or spiritual growth? Our body is his temple, and we’re supposed to take care of it, so we can serve to the best of our abilities, right? If our finances are in a mess, we’re not free to serve and give in the way God would want. And relationships? isn’t he in the relationship business? We’re supposed to be Christlike in friend, spouse, parent, child, coworker relationships, correct?
God gives us the desire to improve, yes. But the wonder of God’s grace and favor is this: He’s also willing to get in there and help us do the work!
God’s Grace in the Bible
It’s beautiful, looking at God’s Grace in the Bible. You know, there are over a dozen books in the New Testament where the author begins with a blessing, a prayer of Grace and Peace to the recipient. I’d love it if we could get out of our myopic ruts, and pray grace and peace over those we come into contact with.
The Riches of God’s Grace Explained
Another childhood acronym I’ve seen for GRACE is this:
If you want the riches of God’s Grace explained simply, this one is great! God’s riches are available to us, at Christ’s expense. He paid the ultimate price. I love this quote, which explains God’s Grace beautifully:
In Jesus, every believer has an infinite treasury of wisdom, knowledge, and blessing. Do you need strength? The all–powerful God grants energy for any task. Do you lack wisdom? He provides discernment and insight to cut through the fog of confusion. Are you searching for contentment? Divine peace is beyond human understanding.Charles Stanley, In Touch Ministries
Also Consider These:
- How to Cultivate the Ability to Multitask Wisely
- 3 Powerful Tools for Complete Life Change for Christian Women
- Goal: Leaving a Legacy of Faith as a Christian Mom
God’s Grace Changes Everything
Are you with me? Understanding God’s Grace Changes Everything! God’s grace and favor towards us is unbelievable, but something I believe with my whole heart!
Last month, I got to have a ‘retreat day’ by myself for 8 hours in a hotel (without an internet signal). I spent the day with my Grace Goals 2020 Packet, a pencil, notebook, and the Gideon Bible from the nightstand since the one on my phone wouldn’t load.
This was an incredibly rare opportunity for me, and an unforgettable day. As I worked through my packet, my understanding of God’s grace and favor towards me grew, because Arabah Joy does such an amazing job. She challenges, explains, encourages, and makes you laugh and really think.
I worked through the pre-goal setting section, and 2 goals that day. A big “life-goal” and a smaller, short term goal. By the end, I know my goals are in line with God’s will, and that HE will stick with me and enable me to stick with these goals. I may stumble, but he will pick me up! Let me give you a peek at my goal setting day, and then I’ll show you how you can get started yourself:
First, A Look Back.
The first third or so of the packet is full of evaluation and review. It’s very interesting and so helpful to look back over the year. Not something I’ve ever really done much of in a productive way. Sure, I look back through a ‘wish I had (or hadn’t) done or said that’ lens. But to actually evaluate where I am now, and where I’ve been over the past year was eye-opening.
In case you want a taste, here’s a sample. A FREE personal spiritual formation assessment. This is just one of the assessment sections included in Grace Goals 2020, but it’s my favorite, because it’s so powerful!
Then, on to choosing and setting goals with God’s grace and favor…
I Really Want God’s Grace and Favor
I’ve been convicted lately, that I may know a lot about God, and believe in him, but I don’t Know Him as well as I should. He’s not always the first person I turn to when I want to talk, or need advice, or … So my first goal is this:
Life Goal: Friendship with God:
This one is huge. It is also going to require several smaller goals along the way. We read in Isaiah 41 and James 2 how Abraham was a friend of God. And we know from reading in Genesis that he was not always perfect. So that begs the question, how can I be a friend of God? I want that. Well, I know it means I have to obey promptly when he tells me to do something. And trust him. But it also means talking to him. and so much more. I found these two articles very helpful in forming my goal steps:
Some of the smaller goals associated with this would be developing a consistent listening and conversational prayer pattern, reading, writing, and memorizing scripture, and teaching my boys what I am learning and doing so they can get a headstart.
Short Term Goal: Rewrite Internal Dialogue Defaults
I’ve become aware that many of the things that are on repeat in my brain are lies, and extremely unhelpful. So I am ready to do something about it.
I plan on starting with Sarah’s new book, Transforming Your Thought Life. I’m really excited about this book. I don’t know exactly what else will be happening here, but I will try to make a list of what I need to change, and the truth that I need to replace it with.
Following Through with God’s Grace and Favor
Now, I have set goals before, like my 52-week challenge – which flopped. I tend to enjoy organizing and setting up the process. But on my own, I lack follow-through. I’ve gone back through my notes, and I have a lot of good ideas, that are simple and practical. It can work. With God’s grace working in me this time.
I also intend to set goals for writing a will, parenting and fitness, marriage and organizing my house/life. But I will add them one at a time, and not overwhelm myself with too much change too soon, which is when I shut down.
Knowing that I can set goals with God’s approval, and have God’s grace and favor in the journey, I believe I will be successful this year.
And since Tigger says that ‘half this bounce is 90% mental’ I have a head start this year!
Need some ideas for personal goals?
Do You Want God’s Grace and Favor For Your Goals?
If you want to have God’s grace and favor in your goal setting endeavors this year, please join me! Grace Goals 2020 is packed with kindness and wisdom and guidance. Over 80 pages in fact. This includes:
- A Year-End Assesment
- Spiritual Growth Inventory
- Spiritual Formation Assesment
- Goal Setting Workbook
- Planner Pages for putting your goals into action
- Mission Statement Worksheet, and more…
Whether you’re planning on writing a book, becoming a better mom, or running a marathon, Grace Goals can help. I’ve tasted it and had to share!
I hope you’ll give Grace Goals 2020 a chance to change your life for the better.
Until Next Time, Love God, Love Books, Shine The Light!!