Delivery day finally arrived! Positioned in the front yard, I couldn't wait for the stories that would be shared around the TurquoiseTable. Our anniversary present to each other would become a gift extended.
We didn't waste any time inviting people to the table. On the day of delivery, we had our friends who refurbished the 'ole front door and a couple of neighbors join us for a picnic lunch. Such fun!
Two days later, The Red Carpet, Girls Only Bible Study ate dinner around the table.
In the middle of some very specific, faith-walking instructions, Paul us we are to extend grace to one another as grace has been extended to us through Jesus Christ.
Paul begins Romans 12:9 with...
Let love be genuine, without hypocrisy.
There are many impostors of the Christian faith today. Most people can tell if you're authentic or not, and nothing is more detrimental to impacting our world for Christ than not loving genuinely.
Our Red Carpet, Girls Only, Bible Study, Living Like You Belong to God, challenged us to examine our conduct by asking...
Is my behavior holy, distinguishable, vastly different from how the world conducts themselves?
Living holy is living counter culturally in the world. It's behaving the exact opposite from how the world behaves. Once we become a new creation (2 Cor. 5:17) we immediately begin the process of becoming holy - being shaped from the inside out as the Holy Spirit works within the heart of a Believer to transform thinking and behavior. It's called sanctification. Until a person comes to believe in Christ Jesus, that person remains in the old creation state, succumbing to the sin nature that leads to death. The new creation Believer experiences a new birth which leads to life everlasting.
Paul continues on in Romans 12:9-13 (CSV, some paraphrased) with more counter cultural behavior of the authentic Christian community:
(vs. 9) Detest evil; cling to what is good.
(vs. 10) Love one another deeply; outdo one another in showing honor to each other.
(vs. 11) Be diligent in zeal; be fervent in the Spirit; serve the Lord.
(vs.12) Rejoice in hope; be patient in affliction; be persistent in prayer.
(vs. 13) Share with the saints in their needs; pursue hospitality.
Paul ends this particular list of identifiers with...
Where the world looks out for #1, those seeking to live holy look out for one another, pursuing opportunities to be hospitable to the brothers and sisters of the faith.
A genuine display of Biblical hospitality toward one another is what attracts the stranger to the community (fellowship) of Believers. As we extend hospitality inward, we more easily extend it outward into a broken world, inviting them to believe and receive the grace that has been offered to all of us by Christ. This is practicing holiness. This sets us apart from the world.
We don't need a turquoise table to extend grace, but we do have to have a heart full of love for God and our fellow Believers, and a burning passion for others to know and love Him too.
How will you extend grace today?