I ask that question now at 4 AM after reading yesterday's devotion* from Oswald Chambers' My Utmost for His Highest.
One of the greatest proofs that you are drawing on the grace of God is that you can be totally humiliated before others without displaying even the slightest trace of anything but His grace.How can that be done?
The title of that devotion is key: "Drawing on the Grace of God—Now." Oswald encourages us to immediately draw on the grace of God, to be prepared to do that always, right away, every time trouble comes our way.
I think of this as I reflect on a momentary situation that occurred yesterday as I carefully drove the bus down the Nicollet Mall. Being a new driver in training, I made a mistake and passed up a customer waiting at a bus stop before entering the mall. Then, a couple minutes later, I hesitated at a particular point and waited too long to cross an intersection.
At that point the bus behind me gave me a little toot of the horn and I realized I was holding up traffic. That got me just a bit flustered a bit, and for just a few minutes, the hyper-awareness required for this job was compromised. I know that because from that point until the end of that particular route I made two more small errors. No one was put at risk, but I know I wasn't as sharp as I was before that point.
It would have been better if I had prayed a quick prayer to the Lord, asking him to refocus me on my task. I am thankful for yesterday's experience and am praying I will remember that next time I'm annoyed or frustrated, whether it's with myself or someone else.
In Oswald's devotion for yesterday, he encourages us to be ready at ALL TIMES to draw on God's grace.
Don’t say, “I will endure this until I can get away and pray.” Pray now — draw on the grace of God in your moment of need.At the beginning of this little early morning writing, I asked "In what ways are you being humiliated?"
- Are you making errors while being watched carefully by a supervisor?
- Have you been honked at by co-workers?
- Are there ways in which your work is compromised through a focus on your failings?
Oswald's encouragement is so good:
Pray now — draw on the grace of God in your moment of need.As we do this regularly we will find that our reaction to annoyances and frustrations have become quick reflexes of prayer, and every breath will have us drawing on the grace of God. He will give you the peace and focus you need. And he'll do the same for me.
Here's Oswald's devotion from yesterday in its entirety:
The grace you had yesterday will not be sufficient for today. Grace is the overflowing favor of God, and you can always count on it being available to draw upon as needed. “…in much patience, in tribulations, in needs, in distresses”— that is where our patience is tested (2 Corinthians 6:4).------------
Are you failing to rely on the grace of God there? Are you saying to yourself, “Oh well, I won’t count this time”? It is not a question of praying and asking God to help you— it is taking the grace of God now. We tend to make prayer the preparation for our service, yet it is never that in the Bible.
Prayer is the practice of drawing on the grace of God. Don’t say, “I will endure this until I can get away and pray.” Pray now — draw on the grace of God in your moment of need. Prayer is the most normal and useful thing; it is not simply a reflex action of your devotion to God. We are very slow to learn to draw on God’s grace through prayer.
“…in stripes, in imprisonments, in tumults, in labors…” (2 Corinthians 6:5)— in all these things, display in your life a drawing on the grace of God, which will show evidence to yourself and to others that you are a miracle of His.
Draw on His grace now, not later. The primary word in the spiritual vocabulary is now. Let circumstances take you where they will, but keep drawing on the grace of God in whatever condition you may find yourself. One of the greatest proofs that you are drawing on the grace of God is that you can be totally humiliated before others without displaying even the slightest trace of anything but His grace.
“…having nothing….” Never hold anything in reserve. Pour yourself out, giving the best that you have, and always be poor. Never be diplomatic and careful with the treasure God gives you. “…and yet possessing all things”— this is poverty triumphant (2 Corinthians 6:10).
* a "devotion" in this sense refers to a few paragraphs of scripture based thoughts, sort of like short sermons that are intended to be read on a day-by-day basis. These have been traditionally printed in booklets but are now commonly read online, on websites such as utmost.org.