GRACE HAZELGROVE

As Christians, we are called to train ourselves to be Godly [1 Timothy 4:7-8]. What actions do you take in order to do this?

The word “Godly” can be a bit daunting, right? To think of ourselves as Godly or to strive for godliness can just feel so unattainable. Yet at the same time, God assures us that we are made perfect in Him. We are complete in His eyes.

I think understanding or even believing in this word begins with a true understanding of my identity in Christ. If my foundation is strong then my actions will flow out of that. Everything we do flows from our hearts – if God is strong in my heart then I will naturally act out of godliness. That’s the only place I can start from in training myself to be Godly. It’s like getting a medical check up to see if your body is ready for the training before a race. I have to examine my heart and where it’s at before I’m even able to start training, or better yet, running with God. My heart has to start from a place of knowing I am His daughter and He is my power and my strength.

How has God's grace helped steer you towards living a Godly life?

I used to think God loved me when I did things for Him, when I was the best, when I won the award, or when I accomplished the big goal – but I had it all wrong. All He ever wanted was me. All He ever wants to see in my life is that my focus is on Him, not on what I do.  

"My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me. // 2 Corinthians 12:9

I stand in His power. When I feel incomplete He sheds His grace on me, and when I am doubtful He just shines brighter. It’s not me who comes through – it’s Christ in me. I don’t have to strive for His love – it is freely given to me. My relationship with Him was a gift and now I steer towards fellowship with Him to truly live out of godliness, because only in fellowship will I learn to be like Christ and walk with Him. 

How do you stand up against what the world is asking you to do, think or believe, when it goes against what you know to be true in the bible?

I have recently begun to realize that my actions show God in the little moments, like how I treat people or the things I do and don’t do. But more than that, I have been challenged in my words. Are my words speaking life? Am I allowing Christ to shine through what I say or am I just hiding behind being “Christ-like” instead of living, breathing, speaking, sharing, and discovering the life of Christ? 

I’m not on a megaphone sharing my thoughts on every world issue out there and what the bible says is true; I want to be known for what I’m for rather than what I’m against. But I think it's both sides. We have to be a light in the world by going against the norm of what society thinks, but we have to share the truth too. We have to be bold in our words – out of love and positivity they have to come to life as well.  

How has your prayer life impacted you on a day-to-day basis? Has it influenced the way you live?

I had a word from God this past year during a C3 College class that I will never forget. I think that has really shaped me. He told me so clearly – in a way that I hadn’t experienced very much – that He sees me. He sees me running and He is right alongside me running this race. He knows I am fighting, and that I know He is right there with me. But then He said, “Grace, I know you are running with me, but you are not sitting with me.” This broke me down. My God just wants to sit with me. He wants me, not anything I do, just me, and for who I am. That is where my identity rests. That moment challenged me to sit with God more, to listen to Him in the moments of rest, in the stillness, and not just in the fast-paced life or the big moments where He shows up, but in the everyday. This is still something I am journeying through and am constantly digging into. But that moment is still lingering with me, “just sit with me.” 

This is impacting my inner prayer life, the prayers that no one else hears. We have to win those battles – we have to fight for the stillness, for the quiet, because that’s where we get refueled to go out in the world. That’s where we are able to gain His strength to fight the outside battles, and to keep pushing into community, to give, serve, lead, and fellowship together. Our energy and rest come from Him.

Dinner Parties and godliness – how are they connected?

I really believe dinner parties are God’s heart in action in our neighborhoods. I have loved being part of dinner parties from the very beginning and seeing the growth, the changed lives, and the joy that comes out of these gatherings. Dinner parties welcome us in, they embrace us as we are, and they challenge us to grow and dig deeper in our relationships with God. I have seen that happening in people in my dinner party over the past year and it’s been monumental – their lives have been changed and now they’re the ones leading dinner parties, on fire and passionate about welcoming Him into their neighborhoods.

Our dinner parties become families, and in family we find wholeness, especially as so many of us don’t have immediate family in New York. These groups bring that to life – the wholeness and completeness of God comes alive through community, through family. We produce godliness when we have our hearts rooted in Him. Our dinner parties are rooted deep in His love, so that they may expand and impact New York City.