Grace, Gratitude, Favor = Joy

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

The Spirit of the Lord is on me…to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor. 

 Luke 4:18-19

As I consider my “resolve” for 2013, I am focusing on the connectedness of four powerful words: grace, gratitude, favor, and joy. As I look forward to this new year, I’m vowing to live in the favor and blessings of God’s grace and to show gratitude for both during 2013. This right living will result in an abiding joy that can only be found in God.

As I have focused these last few weeks on the cycle of grace, gratitude, favor, and joy, I’ve come to realize that it is “all Greek to me!” The Greek interpretation of these words has been eye opening, thought provoking, and has assured me that we have the potential for a joy-filled life because of God’s amazing grace.

Paul tells us in 2 Corinthians 4:15 that grace increases thanksgiving. He evokes the image of the cyclical aspects of God’s grace and our gratitude. As more people experience God’s grace, there is more thanksgiving and God’s name is glorified.

The Amplified Bible puts it this way

For all [these] things are [taking place] for your sake, so that the more grace (divine favor and spiritual blessing) extends to more and more people and multiplies through the many, the more thanksgiving may increase [and redound] to the glory of God.
The connection between the Greek words for “grace” and “gratitude” is powerful. The Greek word for gratitude (eucharistian) is built on the word for grace (charis). A simple translation might read, “It is all for your sake, so that as grace extends to more and more people it may increase gratitude to the glory of God.” We truly experience God’s grace when we have a heart of gratitude.

Charis or grace is God’s merciful kindness, our unmerited favor. The New Testament Greek Lexicon describes charis as God exerting his holy influence on our souls. He “keeps, strengthens, increases them in Christian faith, knowledge, affection, and kindles them to the exercise of the Christian values.” God reaches out to us with his grace and wants to change our lives. He wants a close abiding relationship with us so that he can bless us in ways that we can never imagine. Gratitude is our response to his grace. When we allow ourselves to fully experience the grace of God, we want to show God our gratitude.

To further illustrate the connection between grace, gratitude, and favor, let’s look at the Old Testament. The Hebrew word chen, meaning grace or favor, is the closest translation of the Greek word charis. In Proverbs we are called on to store God’s commandments in our hearts then you will find favor with both God and people, and you will earn a good reputation. Proverbs 3:4. Once again we see the relationship between God’s amazing grace and favor.

The English translation of these words – grace, gratitude, favor - has caused us to separate our understanding of words that were intended to be connected. Grace, gratitude, and favor are all related, linked, intertwined!

This cycle of grace and gratitude continues as we develop our personal relationship with God. We live in his grace, show him our gratitude, and experience his abundant favor and blessings. The final word in this equation is joy. The Greek word for joy (chara) has the same root word as grace and gratitude. Strong’s Concordance defines chara as joy because of grace. Joy is the fruit of a right relationship with God. Jesus spoke of joy to his disciples shortly before his crucifixion. "I have told you this so that you will be filled with my joy. Yes, your joy will overflow! ” (John 15:11). He wanted them to love him, to obey him, and to abide in him and promised that in doing so, they would be filled with joy.

For 2013 I want the charis, eucharistian, chen, and chara life! Yes, I want a life filled with grace, gratitude, favor, and joy. The principle of sowing and reaping can bring a life of ultimate joy. When we sow love, joy, encouragement, and peace into others’ lives, we will reap a life of blessings and favor. Scripture tells us how to enjoy this beautiful cycle of God’s grace, gratitude, favor, and joy.

Accept God’s grace and forgiveness.

For those who find me find life and receive favor from the LORD. Proverbs 8:35

Grow in a relationship with Him.

May God give you more and more grace (undeserved favor) and peace (Shalom of God) as you grow in your knowledge of God and Jesus our Lord. 2 Peter 1:2

Show gratitude to God.

Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus. I Thessalonians 5:18

Live in expectation of His abundant favor.

And God is able to make all grace (every favor and earthly blessing) come to you in abundance, so that you may always and under all circumstances and whatever the need be self-sufficient [possessing enough to require no aid or support and furnished in abundance for every good work and charitable donation]. (AMP) 2 Corinthians 9:8

Experience the joy of God’s grace, blessings, and favor.

"I have told you this so that you will be filled with my joy. Yes, your joy will overflow! ” (John 15:11).

May 2013 bring you all the joy God has in store for you as you live in his grace and experience his favor with all gratitude!


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