Throughout the Bible, language of family and friendship is used to talk about our relationship with God. Our relationship is spoken about using the language of marriage, using the language of friendship, and using the language of parents and children. Close relationships like these are always covenantal. A covenant is a relationship built on promises.

Our relationship to God is a covenantal relationship too. He makes promises to us: to love us, to forgive our sins, to give us the gift of salvation, to help us unpack our baggage, to be with us always, to give us eternal life. And, as is the case with any good and healthy relationship, it’s a two-way street. We make promises to Him too. We promise to take our relationship – our life- with Jesus seriously.

That’s how it is with our relationship with God. God has made promises to us, and God is always faithful to those promises. We make promises to God, too. We promise to talk with God – prayer – to listen to God through prayer and scripture, to love God through worship, to help God by helping others.

We make our promises. And, if we don’t act on our promises, if we don’t live into our promises, our relationship with God doesn’t grow, our life with God doesn’t deepen. Allowing Jesus access to our lives is what we call the Means of Grace.

The Means of Grace are simply ways we live out our promises to God. These Means of Grace include what John Wesley called Acts of Piety: praying, reading the Bible, coming to church, and giving. And they include what Wesley called Acts of Mercy: helping others in need, standing up against oppression in whatever forms it may take. The language of Acts of Mercy and Acts of Piety is really just theological talk for the kinds of things that are important to every good and healthy, loving relationship.

When we do the stuff of our covenant, God meets us in our acts of covenant faithfulness, and gives us grace, growing us up in the faith, healing our wounds, alleviating our burden. So here are three simple acts of covenant faithfulness that every one of us can do. Three ways to put our faith in action, and in the process, giving God something to work with as He continues the work of growing us up in faith.

Each day, make the decision to do something for for someone else. Be intentional and specific about it.

Each day, choose one word you would like to focus on in scripture, then look up scriptures that are about that word, such as grace or faithfulness.

Each day, think of five things you are grateful for. And, when you think of your list of things you are grateful for, say a prayer thanking God for those things, offering praise, thanksgiving, and adoration for all that God has done for you.

Three simple practices: doing good, reading scripture, and expressing gratitude through prayer. Three simple practices that help us be more aware of God’s presence, and help us make a meaningful difference in the lives of others. And, grace upon grace, giving God something to work with as God meets us in our covenant faithfulness and grows us up until that glorious day when our lives are no longer defined by the things of this world, but by the extravagant, all encompassing, never ending love of God. Grace upon grace upon grace.

Andrew Devereaux is the pastor of St. John’s United Methodist Church.