“But grace was given to each one of us according to the measure of Christ’s gift” (Ephesians 4:7 ESV).
There are times when I feel sorry for myself. Sometimes it’s the unrelenting pain. Sometimes it’s regrets about decisions made, or actions taken or not taken. It usually doesn’t take too long , however, before I come to my senses.
I have come to realize that I am so much more fortunate than so many others. By American standards I’m not wealthy; yet to most of the world I have more than they could ever dream. While I do have chronic pain, I also have access to medical care that allows me to function, more or less, normally.
I have come to realize that I live in a constant state of grace. A grace that sees me truly blessed.
I confess that I often struggle to grasp Ephesians 4:7. It’s not because I feel “under graced” or shortchanged in any way. Quite the contrary; I often feel unworthy of the abundant grace which I’ve received. But that’s really the whole point, isn’t it?
If I could have somehow done something that made me worthy, then I wouldn’t need grace, would I? But you and I have received God’s grace “according to the measure of Christ’s gift”.
While we don’t get to choose, necessarily, our status in life–financial success, social status, health–we have received a full measure of grace. Our sin was a status we did choose. Our freedom, our grace, was a gift of infinite cost.
We learn from the apostle Paul, that such extravagant grace does not come with a promise of a peaceful and comfortable earthly existence. In the midst of terrible persecution, Paul also suffered a physical malady of some sort. And when he asked God three times to remove it, God told him, “My grace is sufficient for you” (2 Corinthians 12:9 ESV).
God wanted Paul, and us, to know that sometimes life is painful. Sometimes we receive more than we “deserve” and sometimes less, but those are earthly things! The penalty for our sin was paid for, not after we’d done some worthy deed, “but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8 ESV).
We don’t always realize that we have never received a promise of an easy life as Christians. We abolutely were not! We all were, however, given sufficient grace to survive because we have received grace according to the measure of Christ’s gift! And we know the love that it took for Jesus to go to the cross!
I think that we need to re-evaluate our definition of grace. Perhaps we have been looking at it wrongly. Perhaps we think that we are owed an easy life. That which we receive over and above our salvation is a blessing. But we all, from the poorest to the richest (financially speaking), and from the healthiest to the sickest, have received the full measure of God’s grace.
I am eternally grateful for God’s grace which has accomplished that which I never could have. And while there are storms in life over which we have no control, and while we may have to witness inequities of all kinds, we have the assurance of God that His grace is enough. We should find our contentment in Him, for we have the assurance that He will never leave us nor forsake us!
Blessings on your day!