The Secret Ingredient

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. – 2 Corinthians 12:9

As I ponder this gift of marriage, I find myself asking the question, what makes a relationship last? What is that secret ingredient that keeps couples holding hands long after others have dropped? How do we ensure our marriage makes it to the rocking chairs?

Grace. Every time I ponder these questions, I land on this same word. There are simply no enduring relationships without an abundance of grace. It isn’t keeping those romantic fires alive; it isn’t learning to communicate better; it isn’t even knowing your spouse’s love language. While those things are all great to have in marriage, Grace is how we make it to the rockers.

The word ‘grace’ literally means ‘favor.’ In Hebrew, it is CHEN from a root word CHANAN, which means to bend or stoop in kindness to another as a superior to an inferior. In other words, you concede with tenderness. You give in. You bow and allow the other person the win. You don’t right their wrongs; you show them favor. They don’t deserve it, they don’t earn it, but you give them the win.

In response to the incredible gift of grace shown to us by God, we are called to be ministers of grace to others. We don’t offer grace because others have done anything to deserve it – you see, then it wouldn’t be considered grace. Grace is unearned favor. No, we offer grace because nothing compares to the grace we have been offered. Nothing compares to the sin that separates us from the Father, or the grace that nailed Jesus to the cross so you could be free. This means we set others free from having to live up to our standards and expectations, and we allow them to be who they are – without harshness, without bitterness, without resentment.

The problem is that we are all broken people, trying to build a marriage in a broken world…so it doesn’t work. The truth is we struggle to show grace for any length of time. We try to tell ourselves we can do it, we resolve to be kinder and more forgiving people, but we fail at it. Even when we know what we should be doing, we can’t seem to make it work. When we resolve to show an attribute of God in our lives in our own power, we will fail. Every. Single. Time.

Grace is an attribute of God. The only way we can access His attributes, genuinely and for any length of time, is by being filled with the Spirit. Grace is the supernatural outcome of being filled with the Spirit and living proof that God dwells in us. We know He is alive in us when we see grace in our lives in such a way that surprises even us – when we have joy in a difficult trial, when we have peace in a heart-breaking decision, when we love the difficult person, when we show kindness in the chaos. 

Showing grace to other people is humbling and difficult, but trying to show grace to the person sleeping next to you is downright impossible in your power. You can’t do it. You need Him. If you want to make it to the rockers holding hands, you need His grace.

Press on ~ you are loved 💗

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