9 For I am the least of the apostles, unworthy to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. 10 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. – 1 Corinthians 15:9-10
It seems for most of my life, I have usually thought of myself as Paul did in verse 9: “least of…” and “unworthy…” I would carry these labels with me wherever I went, including the baseball field. Similar to Paul, I believed these descriptions were accurate because of the sins I had committed. Even though I knew Jesus as my Savior, it didn’t change how I thought of myself as the least of those around me and unworthy. Fortunately, Paul doesn’t stop with verse 9, and neither does he continue to let his faults and failures define him.
Quickly becoming one of my favorite one-liners in the Bible, Paul writes: “But by the grace of God I am what I am…” This isn’t a prideful declaration that we often hear today from someone who idolizes themselves. Instead, this is a statement about God’s grace and how it radically transforms who we are. Although Paul might be considered the least and unworthy, certainly in the perspective of those who know of his past, by the grace of God, he has been chosen and set apart for the sake of the Gospel. While some might be fearful of people’s opinions or struggle to trust the grace of God, Paul completely surrenders to God’s grace and responds by working hard to glorify the name of Jesus.
Contrary to Paul, we tend to waste the grace of God. We receive God’s grace, but we hold onto who the Enemy and our sins say we are. We go on continuing to belittle ourselves, never trusting the truth that God’s grace has chosen and set us apart in the same way as it did for Paul. You may be in a situation where you feel unworthy to be there, or never feel like you’re good enough; however, the truth is God’s grace is sufficient for you, and He has claimed you as His child. Regardless of the sins of your past, present, and future, you are what you are by the grace of God. Surrender to His grace and work hard to glorify the name of Jesus.
- Prayerfully reflect over what defines you. Does God’s grace define you or something else?
- Prayerfully reflect over God’s grace. How do you respond to His grace?
- Thank God for His grace and ask Him to use you to bring glory to Jesus.
- The Father’s House by Cory Asbury
- See the Light by Hillsong United
- Dare You to Move by Switchfoot
- Who You Say I Am by Hillsong Worship