Habits of Grace

For help keeping grace in mind and practical ways to dig deeper, check out David Mathis’ book habits of grace. 

I love that this book is all about enjoying Jesus in our real lives. Mathis’ focus is three-fold:

My translation…

  • Read his word, remembering that he wants to speak to you
  • Use what you’ve read to speak to him, believing that he wants to hear from you too
  • Ask others about their struggles and joys in seeking him through these “means of grace,” not to compare, but to listen and to learn more about who Jesus is 

“Means of grace” as a choice

I had a different experience with French than piano. See I still wish I could play, but not enough to put in the time. When I stopped taking French, however, I missed it, and when I returned to taking classes, I knew it was my choice.

The Word was like that for me too. I knew it was important, but I didn’t really want it enough to commit to it regularly. I felt guilty and I couldn’t make myself be consistent.

And then one day, I decided that I was going to be disciplined about it because either it was important or it wasn’t and there was only one way to find out. I knew God was asking me to trust that his ways were worth it.

That was 15 years ago, and over this time, God has developed in me a love for these means of grace because they have become essential habits that have taught me more of who he is. He honors the tiniest acts of obedience, yet we are often more focused on the big questions than the ordinary moments.

What small thing is God asking you to do, right now, today? And will you do that? What are you afraid of in pursuing or not these paths?

Anti-spiritual disciplines

How do you feel about spiritual disciplines? Perhaps you cringe at hearing that question?

Can you relate to either of these concerns?

  1. Spiritual disciplines are religious and the opposite of the grace that is what the gospel is all about.
  2. I’m in a season of life that doesn’t seem to lend itself to any type of routine.

In light of these concerns, perhaps it will be helpful to hear that author David Mathis’ calls them “habits of grace.” Not convinced that’s any better?

Indeed, habits require practice and so at first sounds like an odd word to pair with grace. Like anything worth learning though, perhaps we have to decide if the benefit outweighs the cost.

  • I hated practicing piano so I never learned to play.
  • If I’m thirsty, I can say it 100 times, but if I’m standing next to the faucet, and don’t actually drink, some may doubt how thirsty I am.

Mathis says God’s “grace is essential for our spiritual lives, but we don’t control the supply,” and “There are paths along which he has promised his favor.” He continues: “We cannot earn God’s grace or make it flow apart from his free gift. But we can position ourselves to go on getting as he keeps on giving.”

So in response to the above concerns, if you are struggling to feel like these habits are determining his favor, maybe stop doing them. Rest in the fact that you don’t have to AND consider that anything worth fighting for will require sacrifice and effort.

What are you giving up by not pursuing opportunities that God has promised will lead to your good? Is it possible that God loves us enough that we really have choices about how to spend our time? Is it possible that he will use some “regular channels” to teach us to seek after him?

What about you? What concerns do you have about spiritual disciplines? 

Next up: “Means of grace” as a choice

Final Answers

Tallying up the votes today, and making some business decisions over the next few days!

Next week, we’ll be purchasing a domain name and starting to work on our new website!

In the meantime, we’d love to hear what YOU…

1) view as the biggest need in early literacy (you can answer for your family personally, your state, nation. etc. )

2) see as our 3 greatest strengths (when you think of J&J which adjectives come to mind)

3) guess our services will be (what do you think we do based on the brainstorm)

Business Brainstorming

Help us vote on a company name, tagline, 2nd unique line and website first lines!

Pick one selection from each of the four categories below… or you can also suggest new ideas!

Potential Company Names

  1. J&J Content & Copy
  2. J&J Creative Content
  3. J&J Strategic Content
  4. J&J Cognition

Potential Taglines

  1. Content Strategy for literacy products
  2. Content Marketing for literacy products
  3. Stories that sell literacy products
  4. Literacy that sells literacy
  5. Creating content that sells literacy products
  6. Growing companies that sell literacy products

2nd Unique “line”

  1. Promoting literacy from beginning to end
  2. Dream. Focus. Achieve.
  3. Stories to grow

Potential Website Opening Lines

  1. We write stories to help you, your organization or business grow. We specialize in helping companies strategize and write marketing content for literacy products.
  2. We help companies selling literacy products grow their business.

Paul Tripp on Marriage

Everyone took notes on Paul Tripp’s marriage conference, except me. I’ve been doing so much learning I felt like if I took notes I’d be grumpy, but now I wish I had some to look back on b/c it was so good! Tripp has a number of books out and they all sound interesting, but this conference was from his book What did you expect? Here is my summary-

  • Our marriages live in a broken, imperfect world.

How do you respond to the sin, weakness and failure of your spouse?

Do you see moments of conflict as moments of opportunity?

  • Every moment is either about the kingdom of God or the kingdom of self.

Is your marriage growing in trust & vulnerability?

  • Commit to trusting one another.
  • Commit to a grace-filled marriage.

How do you respond to the sin, weakness and failure of your spouse?

Good principles for other relationships too!