In today’s blog, I am sharing “A Word, A Song and A Laugh” to encourage you around the topic of “grace shifts.”
“But by the [remarkable] grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me was not without effect. In fact, I worked harder than all of the apostles, though it was not I, but the grace of God [His unmerited favor and blessing which was] with me.”
1 Corinthians 15:10, AMP
Have you experienced a “grace shift” and not known what to do about it? Let’s talk about it. As you may know, everything we do is done by God’s grace — that is, by His ability and divine endowment of strength, know-how and favor. So, when His grace seems to shift in our lives, what do we do?
First: Recognize Divine Grace Shifts
How do we recognize a grace shift? A grace shift may be evident when you notice that you don’t LOVE the thing you once loved! (Hold on … there’s more to say about this!) For example, perhaps you owned your own business or were working at your dream-job and you were loaded with vision, energy and success was flowing at every turn; but now, you don’t love it, your energy is drained, vision has evaporated and things are not flowing like they once did.
Is this a grace shift or just the general ebb and flow of life and the need to push through a tough season?
Second: Ask God for More Grace
If you aren't sure if you're in a grace shift, but you are in a lull, bored and in need of fresh wind for your sails, one good way to find out if this is a “grace shift” or if you need to push through a tough season is to simply ask God for more grace! The Bible tells us God gives grace to the humble,
“And he gives grace generously.
As the Scriptures say,
“God opposes the proud
but gives grace to the humble.”
As you humble yourself under God’s mighty hand, He will give you more grace and in so doing you may find fresh vision and energy filling your heart and mind to empower you to keep doing what you are already doing.
Or, you may find God giving you grace for something new — a new vision, new energy and a new direction. Let’s talk about that side of the grace equation…
Third: Follow the Grace
If you determine you are in a "grace shift" -- you don’t want to “frustrate the grace” (Gal 2:21) but rather you want to follow and “access His grace” (Rom 5:2) -- that is follow the fresh grace He is giving you to do His will.
What does that look like? When we follow God’s grace and the leading of the Holy Spirit, we will experience His joy, energy, vision, peace … and we can reign in life!
“... much more those who receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ…”
In 1991, my husband and I felt called by God to plant a church in Kalamazoo, Michigan and for 32 years we sensed His grace upon our hearts and minds to plant, build and grow a church to reach people for Christ and to make disciples. As God graced us, we always had loads of vision, energy, ideas, joy and faith to walk it out. As a result, we saw consistent growth and fruit and God’s blessing was upon us and our church — why? It was because of His grace.
We felt just as the Apostle Paul said, “But by the [remarkable] grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me was not without effect. In fact, I worked harder than all of the apostles, though it was not I, but the grace of God [His unmerited favor and blessing which was] with me.” (1 Corinthians 15:10, AMP)
We worked hard. We had late nights. We walked through many challenges. We kept our foot on the gas for nearly 40 years in ministry. But the truth is: it wasn’t us — it was the grace!
As we operated under that grace, we couldn’t imagine doing anything else and definitely couldn’t imagine ever turning the church over to someone else. Valley Family Church was like our 5th child and we treated her (and our church family) like a beloved member of our family!
However, between 2018-2020, we began to sense a “grace shift” but we couldn’t put our finger on it exactly until June 17, 2020, when I woke up and heard these words, “You have laid a good foundation, now another builds upon it…” and I knew it was the Lord. In my heart, I recognized He was talking to me from this passage, “Because of God’s grace to me, I have laid the foundation like an expert builder. Now others are building on it. But whoever is building on this foundation must be very careful.” (1 Cor 3:10) and I sensed the Lord assuring me that my labor for Him had not been in vain, but rather “mission accomplished” and it was time for something new. As it turned out, in His kindness, He let me know about the “grace shift” we were in and gave me His game plan for the transition that was on the horizon.
My husband had a similar experience and the Lord spoke to him from 2 Timothy 2-4. As we talked about it, we recognized the “grace shift” and how the vision and energy we’d always had to plant, lead and build Valley Family Church had changed.