GRACE. What does it mean? And does it have any importance in our ordinary daily living? If you were to ask people what they thought of when they read or heard the word grace, ``a good dancer'' probably wouldn't be an uncommon response. Grace is what enables us to perform smoothly, with ease, harmony, rhythm, in all areas of everyday life -- not just dancing. It's not gender-specific, either; both men and women benefit from this kind of grace.
But grace is far more than a way to describe how someone moves physically. One college-age boy in my Sunday School class offered this definition of grace: ``The ability to do spiritual things easily.'' This answer opened up a wide range of possibilities, especially when we reasoned that the only real source of such ability is God. This divine assistance, as it is also sometimes defined, is a reliable prevention for stress and strain.
What better model do we have for expressing and using this essential quality than our Master, Christ Jesus? He was the epitome of mercy, poise, simplicity, and calm in the midst of turmoil, whether he was in a storm at sea or facing a raving maniac. Because his life was so totally God-centered, Jesus could draw upon this grace no matter what situation confronted him.
We certainly don't face the situations Jesus did, but when we express what we understand of our God-given grace, we can walk through storms of resentment, confusion, conflicting opinions, and still remain calm. Such peace touches all those around, leaving the door open for progress toward a resolution.
The Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, Mary Baker Eddy, says in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, ``What we most need is the prayer of fervent desire for growth in grace, expressed in patience, meekness, love, and good deeds.'' Such prayer never goes unanswered. These spiritually based attitudes lead to the kind of action that blesses and heals. What family, community, business, doesn't need these expressions of love?
If, even after praying, we still doubt we have enough grace -- enough Christlike consciousness of God's power and love -- to accomplish the good we want to do, the Bible gives us some helpful guidance from Paul's life. In his second letter to the Corinthians, Paul relates the many sufferings he faced. Yet, through it all, he tells us, God assured him, ``My grace is sufficient for thee.'' And Paul was, indeed, able to accomplish things that would not have been possible without God's grace.
We, too, can put self-will aside as we learn to trust God and open our hearts to His presence. God's grace, His divine influence upon the heart, will reflect in every phase of our lives as we yield to and obey His law. Though circumstances appear to be overwhelming, even impossible, God, divine Love, is working on our behalf through His grace.
Gratitude, which acknowledges God's presence, makes us more receptive to the grace He is constantly pouring out on His creation. Discord, fear, inharmony, simply cannot coexist with gratitude. When we acknowledge the presence of good, the presence of God, expressions of grace follow like the cars behind the engine on a train.
We turn away from accepting God's grace, however, when we allow personal ego, anger, revenge, fear, hatred, criticism, to be unchallenged in our lives. But as we strive to overcome these errors and focus on God's grace, we will see the difference in our lives each day.