2 Peter 3:18 tells us to "grow in grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ". As Christians, we begin to grow in grace the moment we become saved and begin to pursue God's glory. We receive salvation and the gift of eternal life through faith in Jesus Christ and we mature in sanctification and holiness through grace.
It is through the Holy Spirit that we can repent of sin and accept God's grace and forgiveness. It is this maturing process of begin made holy, sanctification, that we grow in God's grace. The highs and the lows in life - when we are happy and when we are hurt - can all be used to grow us in grace.
What Does it Mean to Grow in Grace?
Grace isn’t something that you grow in overnight, it takes time. Growing in grace starts in realizing what it means to receive it yourself. When we believe in
Jesus and develop a relationship with him, we receive his grace. Grace means he has given us the gift of his forgiveness, kindness, and friendship. We did not have to work for any of it. We can live confidently knowing that we have received the favor of God because of the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross. There is no limit to his grace and love for us. He lavishes it upon us. If we truly understand what we have received, it will be easier to give grace to others. We are to see others as Jesus sees us. Made in the image of God, and more valuable than anything else in the world.
We have the opportunity to grow in grace when we are hurt by others. Obviously, it is not the most pleasant experience when we get hurt, but Jesus can take it and redeem it. He can help us heal from the hurt and give us the strength to extend grace to others. The more we let him into our hurt, the more he can help us grow in grace.
Our everyday life is where we grow in grace the most; it’s not just a one-time event. It takes time, effort, and the strength of God to continue to grow in it. If we walk with Jesus each day, it will be something that will come out of our relationship with him.
What Does the Bible Tell Us about Grace?
When you look at grace throughout the Bible, there are several instances where we see it. Grace can also have multiple meanings as you look throughout the Bible.
According to Easton’s Bible Dictionary, grace means “favor, kindness, or friendship.” You find an example in 2 Timothy 1:9, where it says, “who saved us and called us to a holy calling, not because of our works but because of his own purpose and grace, which he gave us in Christ Jesus before the ages began.” Another meaning of grace is “God’s forgiving mercy.” An example can be found in Ephesians 2:5, which says “even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved.”
Grace is something that is not earned but is freely given. We can read about the grace that God has given us in many places in the Bible. It is from God, because it is part of who he is. If we believe that Jesus died for our sins on the cross, we receive this perfect gift of grace. As believers, we are covered in mercy, forgiveness, kindness, and favor. We are able to have a relationship with God. All because of grace.
When we receive grace, we are also asked to do something with it. 2 Corinthians 8:7 says, “but as you excel in everything—in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in all earnestness, and in our love for you—see that you excel in this act of grace also.” Since we are given this gift of grace from God, we are to extend it to others as well. We are to give it freely to every person that we come in contact with. It should be something that we work to excel at, as much as anything else. Thankfully we do not have to do this alone. We have the help of God as we learn to grow in the act of grace.
How Can We Grow in Grace When Others Hurt Us?
Even when we are hurt by others we can grow in grace. Every single one of us is going to get hurt by someone else during this lifetime. We live in an imperfect world, with imperfect people. It's not if we will get hurt, it's just a matter of when. It is obviously not fun to get hurt by someone. If we can be aware that it will happen, it sets us up to deal with it better when it does happen.
It is also helpful to deal with hurt in a healthy way; we must process it so we can learn from what we experience. Holding our emotions in is never beneficial. It only hurts us in the long run.
When we live with a healthy perspective of an imperfect world, we learn how to deal with the hurt that we experience. It will help us grow in grace. Growing in grace is necessary if we want to become more like Jesus – making an impact on the world that we are living in.
Getting hurt by someone else can be one of the most painful things that we can experience. Although I would not wish getting hurt on anyone, we can use the hurt that we experience for something good. If we will let Jesus use our pain and hurt to mold and shape us, we can end up becoming more like him. This is how we grow in grace.
If we are able to process our hurt in a healthy way, it can give us a healthy understanding of others. We will be able to realize that as human beings, none of us are perfect, only Jesus is. If Jesus is the only one that we see that is perfect, that lets others off the hook of having to live up to that standard. Hurt is handled much better when we don’t have unrealistic expectations.
Growing in grace can also happen if we follow the example of Jesus. He lived this throughout his time on this earth. Many times, Jesus encountered people who did hurtful things to him. A lot of people, including members of his own family did not believe him when he said he was God. Jesus was betrayed, abandoned, beaten, and crucified on a cross by people that he loved. He still chose grace. He still loved those who hurt him. He extended forgiveness and mercy when he didn’t have to. Jesus is the ultimate example of someone who showed grace even when others hurt him.
Even though getting hurt by others is painful, we can grow in grace despite being hurt. It can bring about some benefits and blessings that we might not experience if it weren’t for going through it. We become familiar with the fact that human beings are not perfect. When you understand that, it helps to be able to offer grace to others. Then by growing in grace, you can become less easily offended because you know it's part of human nature to be hurtful at times. You also can learn to empathize with others when they are hurt, and offer your support because you understand what it feels like. We can be like Jesus to others and extend kindness and friendship, even when they don’t deserve it. That is the goal, to become more like the God we were made in the image of.
It is not easy to grow in grace, it definitely will take some work on our part. If we trust Jesus to help us grow in it, he will help us. When we are hurt by someone, he uses them as opportunities to grow in grace. It’s then our hurt can be used for something good, and not wasted.
A Prayer to Grow in Grace
Dear Lord, thank you for your amazing grace that has called me, saved me, and sanctifies me. Father, I want nothing more than to grow in your grace the understanding of your ways. Guide me to be more like Jesus every day. Help me to respond in ways that bring you glory. Show me the areas where I may be blind to the need for more grace and repentance in my life. Help me to use every opportunity to not only mature in your grace but to use it to show others who you are. Make me a shining light of your glory and grace. Amen.
Easton, M.G. (2001). Easton’s Bible Dictionary. Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.
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Becky Weber is a wife, and mom to 4 kids. She loves to write and speak. She is a pastor’s wife in Sioux Falls, SD where her husband Adam is the lead pastor of Embrace Church. Her passion is to encourage others (especially women) to learn how to walk with Jesus on a daily basis. You can find more writing over at www.becweber.com and connect with her on Facebook and Instagram.