Originally published Wednesday, 30 October 2013.
I am trying to learn Italian.
For the last few months for four hours a week I sit down and struggle through “eh” and “gee” and “ah” sounds.
But four hours isn’t enough to become fluent in Italian. The real secret to learning a language is to immerse yourself in it.
I’ve got Italian tapes that play in the car, and when I’m cooking the Italian TV channel plays in the background, and I’ve got Italian language apps to play on my phone when I’m waiting around.
Slowly, but surely, I’m beginning to recognize patterns and words and sounds. I’m starting to understand what I hear, and learning how to string words together to create meaning.
I want to learn to speak Italian so I put in the time and effort.
While repeating Italian phrases in the car today it struck me that maybe I have to learn grace the same way I learn a language.
I want to learn to speak grace, to assume the patterns of grace, to be defined by grace, but for some reason I think I should just “get” grace, that it should just come naturally.
Acquiring another language has made me think that maybe if I want to learn to live the unforced rhythms of grace that Jesus speaks about I have to surround myself with those who already know the language of grace.
I think Jesus knew this, which is why he said, in Matthew 11:29, “come walk with me and work with me – watch how I do it.”
Jesus understood that I wouldn’t just wake up one day and suddenly speak Grace.
Like learning a language, understanding grace doesn’t happen by accident, it happens by surrounding myself with people who speak it.
Sometimes to learn grace I have to immerse myself in it. (tweet this)
I have to open my heart to Jesus’ invitation and walk with him and see how he lived grace. Take the time to read through the Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, and study how Jesus displayed grace. And I must hang out with people who get God’s grace, who understand what it means and let it rub off on me.
I’m realizing that to learn grace I have to be willing to give the time and work it takes to forget the language of law and assume the attitudes of grace.
Ponder: Who do I know that “gets” grace? What steps can I take to spend more time learning grace?
Prayer: Jesus, help me to find people who speak the language of grace to spend time with. And as I read the Bible help me to grasp how deep and wide your grace is. Amen.
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