Ever stop to realize how much we as Americans take things for granted? This past fourth of July, Independence Day, we celebrated a freedom many outside this country will never know, and many inside this country cannot comprehend. It is a loss of perspective brought by the consistency of it’s presence, and it happens in the Christian life, too.
The other night, my youngest daughter was saying her prayers. She still does the “Now I lay me down to sleep . . .” routine because she has not yet learned the meaning of prayer. We work with her, but understand that talking to God is a difficult concept for her age, however, one night presented me with a teachable moment. The girls were late getting into bed, and there was a flurry of activity of getting nightgowns on, bed’s made, teeth brushed, and getting into bed. When I said it was time for prayers, my youngest took her cue and off she went saying her night time prayer as fast as she could.
When she finished, my other daughter started to pray, but I said, “Just a minute.” I stopped what was going on and looked at my youngest daughter and asked her, “Why do we pray?” She just shrugged her shoulders, but my oldest daughter then spoke up, “We pray to talk to God.” I looked at my youngest daughter and asked her, “Do you talk to anyone else really really fast like that?” She shook her head “no” and I told her, “When you pray, you are talking to God, not just trying to get to bed as fast as possible. Try it again, but this time, talk to God.”
She did, and we all went to bed, but it had me thinking, how many prayers have I casually breezed through without ever talking to God? I pray when I wake up, pray for different things throughout the day, pray for safety when I travel, and pray for my food before I eat, but how often am I talking to God, and how many times have I just said words to get through the tradition and ritual of prayer before meals? Furthermore, in what other ways have I taken God for granted?
I soon realized that even having a Bible I can call my own is a gift, and how often have I failed to exercise my freedom to read its words? Convicted, I saw many things that surround my life that I have taken for granted from my clothes and car, to my health and my family. I have been truly given much. When my thoughts turn to salvation though, I have no excuse.
Grace. Salvation. Mercy. Words I understand in my own human mind that cannot even begin to compare to their real meaning on God’s scale. All God really expects of me is to live a life that will glorify Him, and to take the message of the Gospel to others. Yet my life is filled with so many other distractions, excuses really, that seem so important. Then I realize, I have been living with this grace for so long now, I have come to a place in my life where I have taken it for granted.
While we may now access salvation freely, there was never a mandate from heaven that required God to give His only begotten Son to die for our sins. When someone asks, “Where would we be without the grace of God”, just try to internalize that thought for a moment, and see if it does not change your perspective and guide you towards actions and a life that is lived to glorify God.
-reposted from www.MenRising.com 7/11/11