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Giving Yourself Grace - A Biblical Perspective

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The catch phrase "Give Yourself Grace" is very popular now.  I hear it often in circles of young moms when their days are hectic and tiring.  I've also heard people apply it to themselves concerning losing their temper or speaking unkindly in a situation that they perceived was provoked.

But is giving yourself grace really just giving an excuse or a justification for your sin?

In order to understand the answer to this question, it's important to fully understand what grace means in a Believer's life.

The Biblical Meaning of Grace

The King James Version dictionary provides the following meaning of grace:

:Appropriately, the free unmerited love and favor of God, the spring and source of all the benefits men receive from him.

And if by grace, then it is no more of works. 

:Favorable influence of God; divine influence or the influence of the spirit, in renewing the heart and restraining from sin.

My grace is sufficient for thee. 
2 Cor.12.

:The application of Christ's righteousness to the sinner.

Where sin abounded, grace did much more abound. 

As I read through these definitions, the only Person able to give grace is God.

And the purpose of God's grace in a Believer's life is explained very well by

to grow in grace does not mean gaining more grace from God. God’s grace never increases; it is infinite, it cannot be more, and according to the nature of God, it could never be less. He gave His only Son so that whoever believes in Him should be saved (John 3:16). How much more grace could there possibly be than that? But to grow in grace is to grow in our understanding of what Jesus did and to grow in our appreciation of the grace we have been given. The more we learn about Jesus, the more we will appreciate all He has done, and the more we appreciate His love and sacrifice for us, the more we will perceive the never-ending grace of God.

But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. 
To him be glory both now and forever! Amen.
2 Peter 3:18

How to Biblically Apply God's Grace to Yourself

Although we cannot give grace to ourselves, we can apply God's grace to ourselves.

First I want to explain what applying God's grace is not.  Applying God's grace to yourself is not a means to excuse or justify any sin no matter what your circumstances are or how unfairly you have been treated. 

Grace is unmerited favor from God AND we cannot give that to ourselves.  It actually takes the grace right out of grace.  "Giving ourselves grace", without repenting, defies the cross and the need for forgiveness.

To apply God's grace to yourself, is to walk in the Grace of God.  To put on the new self each and every day.

to be renewed in the spirit of your minds; 
and to put on the new self, created to be like God 
in TRUE righteousness and holiness. 
Ephesians 4:23-24

By applying Grace to yourself, you are not accepting, excusing or justifying your sin, but recognizing that you are a sinner saved by Grace.   Through that grace you remember that nothing will separate you from the love of God - NOTHING!  From the moment you realize you have succumbed to Satan's lies or from the moment you have sinned,  you can start fresh by confessing to the Lord and repenting for He has already removed your sins as far as the East is from the West.  When you apply God's Grace to yourself, you will remember God's free and unmerited favor that you received on the day of salvation.  You are safe and secure in Him.

Allowing Yourself Grace

Another phrase that seems to go in tandem with "give yourself grace" is "allowing yourself grace".  Biblically, this does not mean justifying your behavior, but assessing your emotions in a particular situation and taking action. By action I mean that if you know you are about to lose your temper or that a situation you are in is going to quickly escalate and you will fall into sin, walk away in order to regroup, pray and to remember God's grace which HE has given to you.  By respectfully walking away from a situation in order to prevent hurt or regret, you are avoiding what I like to call the "cheating on a diet syndrome".  You know, those times when you are in a volatile situation and you can feel yourself spiraling and you decide, well I'm in deep now, I'll just keep sinning.

When you allow yourself grace by remembering that God's favor rests upon you, those negative thoughts and emotions will not overtake, but will help you to press pause in order to pray and reflect.  Allowing yourself grace in this manner is the means by which you bask in the grace of God who understands your mistakes and failings, and who has already covered over those sins.

For sin will have no dominion over you, 
since you are not under law but under grace.
Romans 6:14

Allowing yourself grace, in a nutshell, avoid the sin and/or repent of the sin, and remember that you have been saved by grace not just at salvation, but every single day of your life.

Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, 
so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.
Hebrews 4:16

Showing Grace to Others

In the same way we can't "give" ourselves grace, we can't "give" it to others, but instead, as we walk in the Grace of God, our Christlike attitudes and actions towards others who may have wronged us will testify to the grace of God working in and through us.  They will see God's grace in us and oftentimes will respond to our gracious behavior in kind.

Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt,
 so that you may know how you ought to answer each person.
Colossians 4:6

As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, 
as good stewards of God's varied grace:
1 Peter 4:10

Put on then, as God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.
Colossians 3:12-13

If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.
Romans 12:18

For more from God's Word about grace, I encourage you to read the book of Colossians - afterall, the entire book focuses on grace.  :-)

A study that really helped me to truly understand grace is a Bible Journal on the book of Colossians by Well Watered Women Co. called the   Walk in Grace Colossians Journal.

May we all walk in the grace of God and receive all the benefits His grace provides.

For similar posts, click on the following:

Why Praise is Your Greatest Spiritual Weapon Against Sin

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  1. I love how you explained allowing yourself grace, "When you allow yourself grace by remembering that God's favor rests upon you, those negative thoughts and emotions will not overtake, but will help you to press pause in order to pray and reflect. "

    I can really struggle with negative thoughts about myself.

    1. Hi Jerralea, That certainly is a struggle for all of us. In fact, I was in the pit of negative thoughts about myself this morning and came here to respond to comments and found God's favor through the Words He prompted me to write! This is why my blog is "Growing Together" for indeed I am growing right alongside all of you. :-)

      Thanks for stopping by.

  2. Wonderful post!!
    Thanks so much for stopping by and for your kind words!!!! Stay safe, healthy and happy!!

    1. Hi Debbie, Thank you. :-)

      You are very welcome! Same to you!

  3. Balance.
    It's so easy for us to fall off the horse on either side of this issue, either excusing blatant and willful sin in the name of "brokenness" or setting a standard that exceeds anything God ever intended for us. I guess we have to stick really close to the truth and stay present to the voice of the Spirit speaking into our lives minute by minute in order to get this right.

    1. Hi Michele, Indeed it is.

      One of the verses I often quote is "And whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear this command behind you: “This is the way. Walk in it.”" Isaiah 30:21

      May we all be in tune to "hear the command behind us".

      Thanks so much for stopping by. :-)

  4. Why does it always seem easier to give grace to others much quicker, easier and without strings than to ourselves?? Thankful this afternoon for God's abundant grace given to me!! Enjoyed your post!

    1. Hi Jennifer, Amen!

      Thank you for your kind words. And thanks for stopping by! :-)

  5. Thank you for sharing—and yes, Colossians is a great place to study grace! I'm so grateful for God's grace toward us! Stopping by from #tuneinthursday

    1. Hi Laura, You are very welcome!

      Thanks so much for stopping by. :-)

  6. Thank you for this post! I really become weary of so many in our modern church world using grace as a ticket to sin. This is total abuse of the immeasurable sacrifice Jesus made on the cross to provide redemption for us AND to give us grace NOT to sin. I know we all sin and come short of the glory of God, but there is an enabling power in the grace of God to keep us from doing wrong in every situation. The problem is, we just don't utilize that power. Jesus' blood is powerful enough to save and to keep us through sustaining grace. I am so glad you explained this so eloquently. It was very edifying, as our every post of yours. May the Lord bless and keep you, sweet friend.

    1. Hi Cheryl, You are very welcome dear friend! :-)

      Very well stated! Thank you so much for adding to the conversation.

      Thank you so much for always lifting me up with every comment. I appreciate your friendship so very much!

      Sending you much love and gratitude,

    2. This post was somewhat of a wakeup call. I am guilty of using the term "give yourself grace". Thank you yoy for making me realize that only God has the power to do that. I'm thanking Him for His unmerited favor and forgiveness in all things. What a wonderful Father we serve.

    3. Hi Wendy, Praising God with you for His unlimited grace, unmerited favor and sacrificial forgiveness toward His children.

      Indeed and Amen!


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