Those two words have the power to bring many things to mind.

The song. The God who is amazingly gracious. Certain Bible verses or books written about grace.  Sermons. U-tube videos.

If you Google the phrase, you’ll see around 324,000 results in 0.9 seconds.

But today we aren’t going to any of the normal places one might expect relating to God’s amazing grace. Instead, we’ll see how He powerfully used someone who treasured His grace to a radical degree, resulting in decades of blessing.

And I believe you’re an intended beneficiary of that blessing. 

Your value in Christ and what you have to offer others, through Him, is beyond measure. Regardless of how you feel you rank on the “success” or “talent” scale. No matter if you’ve been beaten down by life, feel empty, or have decided that it’s others who are life’s movers and shakers. Or even if you know you’re loved and used by God, but find yourself holding back in certain areas.

The “radical lover of God’s grace” you’re about to meet beautifully exemplifies these precepts!

* * *

My husband and I were in our young twenties and participating in a Sunday evening worship service. We pretty much loved everything about our Bible church, including the informal Sunday evening get-togethers. It wasn’t unusual to pass the microphone over to someone with a prayer request, a testimony to share, or a song to sing.

On this particular evening, a woman of indeterminable age who we didn’t know was welcomed by the pastor to sing a solo. She looked a little rough around the edges but smiled and graciously declined the offer of an accompanist. Her selection: Amazing Grace.

She began to sing and I was riveted at the beauty in which the first two words arose from her. I anticipated being wowed by her musical talent.

It quickly became evident, however, that any musical talent she possessed did not include singing. I’d never heard anyone who could lose a melody so drastically or so often in a single breath. She didn’t sing a little flat or sharp but was literally changing keys every few seconds.

I began praying my countenance wouldn’t betray the discomfort I felt from what I was hearing. Fortunately, nobody laughed, whispered, or coughed.

It was dead quiet except for the soloist. I was embarrassed for all of us and willed myself to smile and look at her face:

A face aged beyond its years.

A face housing the mouth from which poured the most dissonant singing I could imagine.

A face indescribably radiant in the midst of purest worship.

* * *

I realized our guest was free of any thoughts of those around her. This woman sang from the depths of her heart in rapt awe of God’s love for her.

Here in front of us was a daughter of the Most High who appeared to be in perfect harmony and fellowship with Him!

My heart pounded. No longer was I merely seated in a church building with a group of Christ followers; I had been ushered into God’s Holy of Holies.

The experience was sacred, even as I realized I’d been judgmentally comparing my own limited singing abilities to hers and considering mine superior. How foolish and sinful of me! I was literally in the presence of a mortal who, in that moment, pictured complete oneness with God Almighty!

While I had been inwardly wincing at how poorly our guest sang, God was likely bursting with joyous love and delight at the flawless sound and fragrant aroma of His child’s worship rising up to Him.

And with shame I wondered:  How many times have my songs of worship sounded discordant or offensive to God because my heart wasn’t perfectly in tune with His?

* * *

In the days and weeks to follow, I looked for the soloist, yet never again saw her. She had been powerfully used by God to challenge and bless me, and I longed to know her as a friend and sister.

* * *

For weeks I pondered how this woman could live in such a joyful freedom which rarely manifested itself in my own life.

She could have decided to ignore the Holy Spirit’s prompting to sing a solo in front of a group of people she really didn’t know.

The recognition of her inability to carry a tune could have prevented her from rising to her feet and graciously pouring out her gratitude to God in song.

Any number of “valid reasons” for not exposing herself to possible ridicule could have won her silence.

Yet those would have been the wrong standards of measure. The correct standard of measure she chose was derived from an accurate understanding of who she was in Christ.

Had she acted under any of the wrong standards of measure that evening, she would have missed an intimate and holy interaction with God and deprived me (and now you) of blessing.

* * *

You and I have multiple opportunities to act under the wrong standards of measure. Our culture is one in which every kind of “shaming” is the norm, and fear whispers its warnings. Long ago failures are freshly plastered all over us as if they were delightedly committed in the previous twenty-four hours. Lists and lives from which society defines “success” find their way into our thinking, causing us to become smug when that shoe fits us, or unhappy because it doesn’t.

And this not only happens in our “everyday world.” There may be subtle versions of the wrong standards of measure among friends or a church family.

Praise God for the example of this woman who stood in that worship service singing of her gratitude to Him! Through her, we can see how the joy of God’s amazing grace in our lives has the power to override everything.

Including any wrong standards of measure.

It doesn’t matter if other people can do something better than you.

It makes no difference if you have train wrecks in your past.

It’s irrelevant if you feel you have nothing to offer.

It’s immaterial if you think you’re too young, too tired, too unattractive, too poor, too short on talent, too old, or too… you name it.

* * *

God’s standard of measure (which we should adopt) resides in the truth that you and I are valuable to Him regardless of what we or others think of us! He’s the giver of “Amazing Grace.” When we are His grateful recipients—and our innermost being flows out of that standard—here’s what happens:

FIRST:  We’ll become in tune with Him (pardon the theme pun).  Jesus described this as “abiding in Him”. He and His Word become our standard of measure for everything. We walk with Christ, we seek to honor Him, we live Him. Our sister singing away is just one example of how freeing it is to be one with God!

SECOND:  We realize we’re wildly qualified to proclaim God’s amazing grace to the world. And we begin to treasure the joy of using each and every God-honoring opportunity to do that very thing.

THIRD:  We become God’s instruments to bless and encourage others. I don’t know what the woman who sang Amazing Grace thought when she rested her head on the pillow that evening. But I’m pretty sure she had no idea God would use her act of loving obedience and worship for decades of blessing to me before going on to encourage a group of individuals she’d never laid eyes on!

Friend, I want to live like that.

* * *

If you’d like to live free of the wrong standards of measure:

Continually feed on what God says about you. Here’s a few starter passages among many:  Psalm 139:13-16, Romans 5:8, Matthew 6:25-34, Jeremiah 29:11, Ephesians 2:4-9, Matthew 10:31, John 3:16, 2 Corinthians 12:9, Titus 3:4-7, Galatians 2:20, Hebrews 4:16, and 1 Samuel 16:7.

Be “in tune” with God through obedience to His Word and abiding in Christ. A sampling of Bible verses which can help you and me with this are:  John 14:15, I Samuel 15:22, James 1:22, Luke 6:46, John 14:23, James 4:7, John 14:21, John 15:4-5, John 8:31, Colossians 3:1-3, Galatians 5:22-23 (who doesn’t want this?!); and Revelation 3:20.

Be grounded in the truth that you are qualified to proclaim God’s amazing grace to the world. Consider the liberating truths which are yours in Christ:  I Corinthians 1:27 (a personal favorite), Ephesians 1:19-20, Ephesians 3:20, 2 Corinthians 4:7, 2 Corinthians 12:9, John 8:32, and Philippians 4:13.

Thank you for joining us today. May you be encouraged and live boldly in the freedoms of Amazing Grace!

June

June

People Lover. Author. Blogger. Speaker. Forgiven Much & Wild About God. Learn about June's latest book on her website.

2 Comments

  • Beryl says:

    His grace truly is amazing! Thank you June, for allowing me to see His amazing grace at work in you.

  • Judi says:

    June,
    This struck a chord in my heart. Thank you for the reminder to look for the message God is trying to send us, rather than taking things at face value or, worse, allowing our own leap to judgement get in the way.
    Amazing Grace indeed!

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