1 Corinthians 15:10 (ESV) — But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace toward me was not in vain. On the contrary, I worked harder than any of them, though it was not I, but the grace of God that is with me.
When my youngest daughter was a toddler, she loved to pretend she was picking me up. I say pretend, but she thought it was real. I on the other hand, did all the work. She would wrap her little arms around both of my legs, near the calve muscles. I would count down from 3. “3…2…1…lift!” She would pull with all her might and I would lift up on my tip-toes as high as I could. Then I would drop down and collapse flat-footed back to the ground. She loved it. She thought she really possessed the strength to pick me up.
This picture is a perfect illustration of God’s grace in our lives. There are countless examples of success, blessings, and accomplishments in our lives that are purely grace. We think we’re lifting, but in reality it is God who is providing the strength and boost. If God didn’t lift, we wouldn't go anywhere.
Our passage today captures the apostle Paul instructing in this very way to the church in Corinth. He says it is by the grace of God that he is what he is. Only grace has made Paul the man he is. He understands this reality. That grace was not in vain. He worked. He used his gifts, time, and talents to full strength. He sought to maximize his capacity for Christ’s glory. But it was not his exclusive strength, intellect, or abilities that produced anything. Rather, it was the grace of God that was with him.
Christian, is this not true for you? Doesn’t everything you have come from God? Aren’t all your accomplishments simply trophies of His grace? Worship Him today. Rejoice in the grace of God that makes you who you are.
Reflection & Journal:
- What does Paul mean that it is God’s grace underneath all his successes?
- Why does Paul still mention his own labors and efforts? What is the correlation between our efforts and God’s grace?
- How should we view this day and its tasks in light of God’s grace?
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