“But by the grace of God, I am what I am, and His grace toward me did not prove vain; but I labored even more than all of them, yet not I, but the grace of God with me.” 1 Corinthians 15:10 NASB
God’s grace made me what I am. My sin and my circumstances played a part, in this current outcome, but I want to trace the clues of God’s grace and discover my created purpose. Often, I must sift through the crap of my past to find the real person God created. He’s aware of our circumstances and our past and our mistakes and our hurts, hangups and habits. By his grace, I am what I am. But by God’s grace, I can make restitution, live in the present and move on. My current choice is my next chance to answer Gods call on my life. God allows us to make the most of our moments or lose them forever. This moment and choice are once-in-a-lifetime opportunities to glorify God.
“His grace toward me did not prove vain.” The grace was effective. It produced its intended result. I prefer the past tense. Some translations state this in the present or future tense. God’s grace was effective. The question is whether I trust God. My trust level doesn’t change what he has done.
“But I labored more.” The Message has Paul saying “And I’m not about to let his grace go to waste.” Do you make the most of the grace God has given you? Do I? We must labor. God’s grace is a bit of a partnership. His grace produces in us the ability to work, to make a difference, to touch a life or improve a community. We can become the person he wants. We can do the good works he prepared beforehand for us to do (Ephesians 2:10). But we must work (Philippians 2:12).
“Yet not I, but the grace of God within me.” Even the labor is God’s grace. His grace is the source of our energy and our desire. Everything comes from God and is for him, at least for those of us who trust and follow Jesus. I think we will all be blown away by the gap between our perception of God, and reality.
We are where we are, but we are not victims. God’s grace gives us the freedom to choose our actions or our reactions. In 2 Corinthians 4:7-12, Paul says bad things that happen to Christ-followers don’t necessarily produce their expected result. We are afflicted, perplexed, persecuted and struck down. Each condition has a natural outcome, but we don’t have to experience that outcome because of the power and grace of God.
Hundreds of times each day, we choose. We can make the most godly choice. Did you fail? Did you make a poor choice? Maybe your next most godly choice is to make your earlier mistake right. By God’s grace, you are what you are. Labor to make his grace effective in your sphere of influence.
God speaks to us through his Spirit, the Bible, and through our church leaders and other Christian friends. Seek God and he will make himself known to you.
Do you want your faith to matter in your workplace? Check out the Ministry Mindset Survey and sign up to take the Challenge.