English: Civil Air Patrol 1985 Cessna 172P, wi...

Civil Air Patrol Search and Rescue Aircraft

No, it’s not a joke, but it is pretty funny when you hear my story! My point will then be clear.

But first, we need to stop thinking of grace strictly as forgiveness, comfort, or a favor we don’t deserve. Grace is continual action. Grace is power. It isn’t static; it’s dynamic. It moves, it drives, it does things. Paul says it’s not by works of the Law we’re saved, but by the works of grace. Not just God’s grace, but ours as well, through partnership with Him.

We can think of grace as fuel. The idea is to burn through that fuel like a jet fighter on take-off in full afterburner. The sinner idling on the tarmac doesn’t burn a fraction of grace the disciple does! Think of it this way: if grace were money, it relates to your discipleship as a grant rather than a salary. Grace is a gift from God rather than something He owes you; but it still revolves around work. Grace isn’t the opposite of work; it’s the opposite of wages and payment. Sin is about wages and pay-back—“the wages of sin.”

Second, grace is also about poise, as in gracefulness and ease. Poise is related to position, as in a rattlesnake poised to strike, or one’s position on economics. Lack of grace means stumbling rather than dancing. At the risk of sounding like a class-A klutz, allow me to demonstrate:

Awk-warrrd…

When I was Flight Operations officer for my Civil Air Patrol squadron, one of my responsibilities was to submit a report at the end of each month on aircraft usage and the types of missions flown. I also maintained and replenished the logs, forms, and other paperwork in the aircraft.

On one occasion, I sat in the aircraft on the flight line doing exactly that. I had just finished noting the flight hours, the plane’s readiness status for missions, and had gathered what I needed for my report. Feeling a little smug that I had done such an efficient job, I grabbed the keys from the instrument panel and prepared to exit the aircraft.

It was a high-wing Cessna 172, which means the wheel strut sits just below the cockpit door. On the strut is a handy little step to make getting to the ground less awkward, but you don’t have to use it. Sometimes it’s just easier to hop straight down. I swung my legs out intending to hop straight down, but for some reason, my left leg didn’t get that message. It wanted to use the step, while my right leg was committed to the ground.

So, in the most ungainly aircraft exit ever, I stumbled to the pavement a bit off-balance. When I landed, my weight shifted sideways, so I did a little jig trying to stay on my feet. Unfortunately, the back of my knee caught the wheel strut and I sailed over backwards like a gymnast on a high bar. Papers and keys went flying, and I ended up on my rear with my legs strung up over the strut as if visiting the gynecologist.

The horror! I glanced around the flight line for witnesses, imagining the guys in the tower laughing themselves to tears. I know there is a God because there wasn’t a soul around! Untangling myself as quickly as I could, I gathered my papers, locked the airplane, and with a slight limp, did my best to not slink off the flight line. Lack of grace means awkward positions!

Grace positions us to shine with Christ. We gain maximum soul repair, inner health, and blessedness. Then we’re poised to bless others rather than strike at them. But lack of grace keeps us forever stumbling over sinful habits, shame, and mixed messages. We end up in an awkward position on judgment day when we give account to God.

Anyone else care to share similar moments? Feel free to leave a comment!

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