Judges 8; Psalms 42; 1 Corinthians 15
"For I am the least of the apostles and do not even deserve to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace to me was not without effect. No, I worked harder than all of them – yet not I, but the grace of God that was with me." (1 Corinthians 15:9-10)
Grace requires work! Sounds like opposites, doesn't it? Sort of like the perceived difference between faith and works. Isn’t it an “either-or?” But here, Paul shares his insights on God's grace. It is not something, when given, it dismisses us from any further effort or labor. Instead, it makes us labor all the more! God's grace is not an excuse. It is the very reason we redouble our efforts!
Let me explain: Let’s say, for instance, that I was to be fired from a company for stealing. But instead of being fired, the owner saw my repentance, stepped in and I was given "grace!” My family can continue to be provided for and the consequences of my actions were to be forgiven! When I realize the amazing, undeserved gift of grace I was given, I would now become the best worker in the company, not the laziest. I would become the most diligent, not the least. I would become the most grateful, and never slip into being an entitled employee thinking I deserve more! Grace gives me the reason to work hard and labor with passion because I realize that Jesus gave me a grace that I didn’t deserve and an acceptance I didn’t earn!
I wonder if sometimes we mistake "God's grace" for God's leniency. God may be merciful, but He is not lenient. He is forgiving, but He is not blind. He is a God of grace, not a God who shows favoritism or partiality. I want to exude the grace of God on my life by being diligent and hard-working, ethical and frugal. I am what I am because of the grace of God. I will labor diligently … not me, but the grace of God that is within me!
Lord Jesus, thank You for Your grace on my life. May I example Your grace at work in me and through me.