AND is Better July 31—August 4
This OR that? This AND that? What is the difference? When it’s “or”, it’s one or the other. But when it’s “and”, you have them both. Grace AND truth. As Christians, we often err on one side or the other, being all of one and none of the other. You’re all about compassion or all about conviction. What we need is both at the same time, all the time. Only Jesus demonstrated a perfect balance of grace and truth in every situation. We never find Him standing against people; He was with and among people. He was always primarily interested in who they were. He showed compassion, empathy, and understanding. Jesus spoke the truth into people’s lives without devaluing them. The motivation for being full of grace AND truth is to be a true disciple of the One we follow.
Apply: When has either God or another person convicted you of sin? What resulted? Did grace play a part in it? How can you use grace AND truth as Jesus modeled in this situation?
Pray: Jesus, I confess that I have been critical of others, forgetting that by Your grace I have been washed white as snow. May I display Your grace and love towards others through faith in my wonderful Savior who is full of grace and truth.
Day 2 Luke 7:36-50
Reflect: How did the woman see herself? How did Jesus balance truth and grace with the woman? With Simon? How did Jesus avoid condemnation and indifference to others’ sins?
Apply: Categorize each of the following words as describing either grace or truth—law, forgiveness, mercy, obedience, wrath, justice, gospel, love. What role do these play in your spiritual life?
Pray: Jesus, fill my heart with love and gratitude for the mercy You have shown to me. With joy and freedom, help me to love and serve others with kindness and respect. Your grace is my sufficiency.
Day 3 Matthew 9:9-13
Reflect: How do you think Matthew and his guests felt about what Jesus said to the Pharisees? How did He teach the Pharisees about the necessity of both truth and grace?
Apply: How often do you hang out with sinners? How does an overemphasis on grace or truth affect the witness of believers? What is your best example of how you’ve handled truth and grace?
Pray: Loving Father, I am convicted today of Your gracious love and sacrificial concern for those who are caught in sin. Give me a heart of concern for the lost around me and use me to give them hope and draw them to You.
Day 4 Luke 23:38-43
Reflect: How do you see truth and grace demonstrated and by whom? What do the responses of the criminals reveal about what it takes to receive grace and truth from Jesus?
Apply: According to what they see in you, how would someone describe Christ? Haughty or humble? Judgmental or forgiving? Selfish or selfless? Demanding or gentle? Legalistic or gracious? Compromising or unwavering? Loving or angry? Impatient or patient? Why?
Pray: Father, You raised up a thief who knew his own sinfulness and saw Jesus’ sacrifice. May my faith bring joy to Your heart as did the thief’s faith in Jesus.
Day 5 1 Corinthians 13:1-7
Reflect: Grace and truth are rooted in love. If what we do in Jesus’ name is not done in love, what is the result? What does verse 6 mean? What are examples for what love does? (Verse 7)
Apply: If people you know were asked if you are more on the side of truth or grace, what would they say and why? How are grace and truth seemingly opposite? How are they interdependent?
Pray: Lord, identify any areas of my life that discredit my witness for You. May others see Your love reflected in me and be drawn to You.
Put It Into Practice!
Determine what current “hot button” issues you need for a better balance of grace and truth. Ask God to help you understand why you weigh in heavier with either grace or truth. Ask Him to help you see and respond as Jesus does.