A guy goes into a florist to buy a bouquet of roses. The clerk notices his wedding ring and thinks, ‘These flowers are an apology for something. He’s in the doghouse.’ A wife prepares her husband’s favorite meal, lights some candles and puts on a special dress and he thinks, ‘Oh no! What has she done?’ For a week the kids have been exhibiting impeccable, model behavior and the parents think, ‘It isn’t Christmas, so what is it they want?’ In each of these blatant stereotypes the message is that ‘the good graces’ of someone significant need to be massaged in our favor; our standing is dependent upon the inclination of that person and the performance rating we ‘earn.’ There’s a fickleness in the relationship instead of a permanence, a tentativeness instead of quiet rest, an ever-burning question instead of an assurance that frees up spontaneity and encourages mutuality.

Thankfully, God’s ‘good graces’ are bestowed, not earned. In his sovereignty, he has determined that we are all in desperate need of the full measure of his goodness and so has implanted it within each of us giving his Spirit (another of his amazing love gifts to us!) complete authority for rolling it out. It’s such a relief that Scripture makes clear we are not and will not ever be capable of earning his goodness. It is also a great relief to know that he never intended that we should try! God’s perfectly planned provision for us is that we live ‘in Christ’ as Paul writes nearly 100 times in his letters to the churches. We are surrounded in the best and most life-giving way possible. Again, Paul tries to express the immensity of God’s goodness with: “Never doubt God’s mighty power to work in you and accomplish all this. He will achieve infinitely more than your greatest request, your most unbelievable dream, and exceed your wildest imagination! He will outdo them all, for his miraculous power constantly energizes you.” Eph. 3:20 TPT That said, a bouquet of flowers, a quiet, romantic meal, a wiggly new puppy, may be the clearest of overflow expressions of constant, abiding love. God would approve.  PD

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