The empowering strength of grace is a subject about which I have been deeply fascinated for some time now. My principal concern has been how we appear to have ignored the truth about what makes each of us achieve impactful results in our day-to-day endeavours.
And with great power the apostles gave witness to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. And great grace was upon them all. – Acts 4:33 NKJV
The Author Webinars series
Recently, precisely on Saturday, January 29, 2022, I initiated what is called the Author Webinars. The vision driving the initiative is “to build a community of writers and readers passionate about generating and sharing ideas inspired by the wisdom and counsel of God, for productive and profitable day-to-day living.”
At the inaugural session, the book that was presented and discussed is titled: GRACE: THE KEY THAT UNLOCKS SUPERIOR POWER. It is a book I had the privilege of writing 2 years ago. This book details some of the profound insights I gained from my study of the subject of grace. I thought it would be great to share some of those findings, especially with leaders in the Leadership Insights this week. As we prepare to enter into a new month, it should provide a basis for sober reflection and excitement, both at the same time for leaders.
The ‘gift of Grace’
If you are a committed student of the word of God, you cannot miss the significance of this thing called grace in the lives of God’s messengers, especially the apostles. They attributed every aspect of their work and the impact they made to the ‘grace’ that God had given them. They were quick to make clear that everything that could be referred to as an achievement in the pursuit of their endeavours should be attributed to the grace of God at work in their lives, which they considered to be a gift.
Paul, the great apostle was perhaps more frontal in his declaration of the empowering strength of God in his life than any of the others. The famous quote “I am what I am by the grace of God’ is not one to forget in a hurry. For me, and I believe for every other person, it should provoke the question: What grace is at work in my life and what am I using it to accomplish?
But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me was not in vain; but I labored more abundantly than they all, yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me. – 1 Corinthians 15:10 NKJV
The focus of the book under reference was in part to challenge us to consider these questions, and indeed, to draw attention to a vital missing piece in how we live that explains why we are performing below our potential. It has always been the quest of the average person to succeed in what they do, to make an impact, to be appreciated in their field, to stand out from the pack, to be well regarded within their community, whether it is professional, church, or even their immediate family.
It would appear that all of these aspirations and desires that we all share at some level or the other, rest on whether we have been able to locate the ‘gift of grace’ at work in our lives and then on how well we have taken advantage of it. I submit that whatever we have achieved to date in whatever sphere of life we have operated in reflects the extent to which we have engaged and deployed the grace of God upon our lives.
What is grace?
To fully appreciate the empowering gift of grace, it is important to make clear what ‘grace’ is in our understanding. I define it as “the supernatural empowerment or endowment given by God for the accomplishment of His commended purpose on the earth.”
This definition suggests that every person on earth is gifted in one way or another, the gift being something that is peculiar about them. It is an innate ‘asset’ that each person has to give them leverage in relation to others in a specific area. Our definition asserts that no person is useless, irrespective of whether or not such is educated or illiterate. Education sure helps to refine and make more valuable the gift of grace but the lack of it does not mean that a person has nothing within that could make them become key contributors to the quality of wellbeing of the world through their immediate sphere of influence.
In my personal life, upon deep reflection, I appreciate the grace given me to think, teach people in a unique way that difficult concepts are easily understood, write with the same passion, and thus, be one who can encourage people to accomplish great things in life. Compared to the average person, I may be more able to do that than someone else. That is grace at work.
The root of strength
One thing that should immediately strike us from the above view of grace is that the carrier is empowered to get things done in relevant areas than any other person who does not carry the same gift of grace. In my case, I would find it easier to persuade people to commit themselves to the pursuit of specific endeavours than perhaps others are able to do. Beyond that, I would not struggle to get such acts done just because I am specially endowed in that area.
That tells us that your gift of grace is a key source of potent strength for you. You need to use it. It is no wonder that the apostle Paul linked the power (or strength) behind the exploits of his colleagues in the early days of the church to the ‘great grace’ that was upon them. Paul himself went on to state that God told him that grace is sufficient when it is discovered and fully realized because it provides the strength needed to get our job done.
And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. – 2 Corinthians 12:9 NKJV
If you are struggling in any area, it may well be that you are not engaging your gift of grace or you are misusing it. You misuse the grace that you have been given when you seek to apply it in the wrong area.
Grace is for your race
Grace is the ‘blessing’ from God that empowers us supernaturally to get done what He has commanded or appointed for us. This statement speaks to the fact, or better still, the ‘truth’ that grace is given for a specific purpose. The empowering strength of grace is not meant for deployment into just any and every activity we find to desire. It is meant ultimately for application toward what we have been called to do. When we fail or neglect or even omit to use grace for our appointed race, we misuse it.
As with anything, frustration and failure is the likely result of misuse of an asset, however valuable we may consider it to be. Paul, the foremost teacher of the gift of grace, pointed out that the grace upon him was specifically meant for preaching to the Gentiles. It was not given to Him for just any purpose. Yet this was the same person who had been so zealous about destroying the church in his previous engagement despite being a lawyer of great repute.
It was apparent that for a long time, he had engaged his grace, the ability to learn, write, and persuade people based on his strong convictions, all for the wrong purpose. He had taken up the business of persecuting the church, which he failed at by the way, whereas he carried the grace to advance the church all along! It became clear to him much later that the grace given to him was for his appointed race (Ephesians 3:8).
Your grace is sufficient
It is interesting to note that not only is your grace given for your race, it is also sufficient for you to win your race. This point must not be lost on us when we read the statement made by Paul in the above quote.
If you consider this statement at a deeper level, you will conclude that you have all it takes to run your race in life and to conclude it on a note of resounding success. Those who are frustrated and fail have probably succumbed to the temptation to engage their grace in areas that have no use for them. You cannot possess a standing fan and be committed to using it to pack snow! You are certain to get frustrated and fail at that endeavour. Hopefully, you get to realize it sooner than later.
Your grace may be small or raw but it has the capacity to grow through use and development. That’s where getting an education and developing other skills come in. In the course of pursuing your race, your grace will grow with time depending on your strength of commitment and conviction.
Your grace is also the key to your sufficiency in all things. What this means is that the engagement of your grace is the key to meeting all your needs. It is an all-purpose ‘key’ that is able to build you up and give you all that God has promised for you. Using your grace productively as you stay on the lane appointed for you, will supply all that your needs require be they financial or non-financial. You certainly will be more fulfilled in life operating within a sphere where your relevance is not in doubt, you enjoy relative ease in your ability to get results, and your impact is without question.
Grace empowers you to dominate
When you engage the empowering strength of grace, it ultimately brings you to a state of dominion. Recall in Genesis 1:28 that God ‘blessed’ us and then commanded us to be ‘fruitful,’ ‘multiply,’ ‘replenish’ the earth, ‘subdue’ it, and exercise dominion over all that’s in it. It is quite easy to understand this natural progression empowered by the initial ‘blessing.’
Just look at a ‘seed.’ It is a blessing just like the ‘grace’ that is in each of us. When you use the seed and plant it into the ground, it produces fruit through appropriate use. The fruit then produces more seeds! At that point, you have been ‘fruitful’ using the seed, the initial ‘blessing’ given to you. When you plant the new set of seeds, through their fruitfulness you ‘multiply’ both your fruits and your seeds. Continuing that process will ultimately get you to the point where you are a force to be reckoned with in that fruit production business. You dominate the space therein!
This is what your faithful utilization of our gift of grace has the ability to bring about in our personal situations. That is what you find with many people who have proven to be in the right professions or vocations to businesses, where they know that they have that special endowment to play and succeed.
It is certainly more difficult to succeed any other way. Success is difficult through the abuse of your grace and is a lot easier when you are a round peg in a round hole.
Success is difficult through the abuse of your grace, and is a lot easier when you are a round peg in a round hole.
Success is difficult through the abuse of your grace, and is a lot easier when you are a round peg in a round hole.Olatunji Sobodu
Locate and engage your gift of grace
Each one has the responsibility to locate the gift of grace innate in us and take steps to engage it. It is never too late to do the right thing, you must have heard. It is also never too late to discover and submit to the use of your grace. It is never too late in my view to change to the path of guaranteed fulfillment. The question we should ask ourselves today is whether we have located the gift of grace in us and then examine the extent to which we have engaged and exploited it.
Doing this sincerely may become the new source of power that we have been looking for. It has the ability to set us on the much-desired path to fulfillment, where we truly find that the world needs us in very specific ways. It is what may lead us to understand that there are things that we alone can bring into certain situations to make a valuable change,
The answer to your continual struggle may well be in your lack of appreciation of your grace or your misuse of it.
Leading effectively through grace
Leadership requires grace. Leadership that empowers requires great grace. Leaders cannot do their job effectively without operating in their area of grace, and most certainly, without engaging their grace.
The leadership role is a grace-multiplying one. Leaders make their grace available to their followers, adding the same to the grace that followers carry. The outcome is greater grace upon the followers, who turn out to do greater things than the leader.
Leaders who have learned to use their gift of grace will never attempt to develop their followers into leaders after their kind without getting or helping them to recognize their gift of grace as well. So we can see the job of the leader as being to facilitate the development of the leadership ability in followers through the recognition and engagement of their gift of grace.
The job of a leader is to develop the leadership ability in others by enabling them to discover their gift of grace’ and intentionally engage it for the pursuit of their purpose in life.Olatunji Sobodu
Just in case your leadership approach has failed to help your followers recognize their gift of grace, it’s time to make a change. And if you have been mindful of the gift of grace in your interactions with your followers but have not given attention to helping them make it the center of their source of empowerment for handling the issues of life, you still have work to do.
Leaders who fail to help their subordinates discover their gift of grace and challenge them to engage and exploit it, do a great disservice to the subordinates. Indeed, they short-circuit the leadership development process and shortchange the world.
There is a lot more discussed in my book – GRACE: THE KEY THAT UNLOCKS SUPERIOR POWER. And you can download a copy here to explore the issues around the subject of grace further. I encourage you to do so.