“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 15:10)
I love this description of Paul’s life and his work. Sometimes people think, “Well, how do grace and work go together? Like if we’re saved by grace, not based on what we do, well, then does that mean we just kind of don’t have to work at all? I don’t have to do anything?” What Paul says here is everything I am is totally by God’s grace, like by the grace of God, I am what I am. God’s grace has made me who I am. God’s grace has saved me. God’s grace has given me a new life. Everything I have, everything I do, it comes from God.
Lord help us to labor and toil by Your grace for Your glory. May we be dependent upon Your grace today.
But then he says, he starts talking about how he worked really hard, how he works hard at pursuing Christ, proclaiming Christ and the Christian life, he’s working hard in his work as a, whether it’s a tent maker or in the church planting churches. He’s working really hard, but then he says, “But it’s not me. It’s the grace of God that’s with me.”
See, this is the way I picture it. I picture Paul getting up in the morning, and before he gets out of bed, he says, “Everything I have today is totally by God’s grace, so God, I’m trusting in Your grace today, and I need more grace. I can’t do anything today apart from Your grace. Please, lead me, God, by Your grace, strengthen me by Your grace, guide me by Your grace, Lord, by Your grace, I don’t deserve Your love, Your provision in my life. I am dependent on Your grace today.”
Then he gets out of bed, and what does he do? He works hard all day long. He works hard. He’s pursuing holiness, pursuing righteousness, sharing the Gospel, working with the gifts God has given him. He’s doing all that he does, and he works hard all day long. Then he crawls back in his bed at night, and he thinks back on all the work he’s done, and what does he say? He says, “It was all grace. Everything I did today was by grace. All of it, by grace. By the grace of God, I am what I am,” and he falls asleep.
Now, put that perspective into practice in your life. Like what a way to approach the day, to rise in the morning and say, “God, I am what I am today only by Your grace, and I need Your grace all day long,” and then go throughout your day dependent on God’s grace, looking to God for grace, praying for grace, meaning praying for help in this way or that way, for strength in this way or way, for wisdom in this way or that way and on and on and on and on. Then get to the end of the day, and as you’ve worked hard, and by God’s grace, fruit has come, then lay down on the bed and realize it was all because of Christ.
God, we praise you for Your grace in our lives. I praise You for your grace in my life. God, I shudder to think of where I would be apart from your grace. There’s no way I’d be where I am right now, like even just experiencing Your salvation. I deserve to be in hell right now. I praise You for Your grace in my life. God, you’re so gracious to me. I just think of… I could spend hours, days just listing all the ways You have been gracious to me. You’ve saved me from my sin and myself, not just ultimately, but in circumstance after circumstance, day after day, week after week.
Thank You for Your grace in my life and all Your good gifts in my life. God, I have nothing good apart from You. God, I want to work hard for you. I pray for my brothers and sisters who are praying with me now. God, help us to work hard today by Your grace. Help us to work hard to glorify You in all the places we go and all the things we do. Help us to honor you. Help us to glorify you. Help us to fight against sin and temptation. Help us to share the gospel, make disciples, build up Your church, glorify Your name, work hard for Your glory and whatever work You’ve called us to today.
God, we will lay down tonight, and we will look back, and we will conclude one thing: It was all by grace. Anything good that happened was by Your grace. God, we praise You. We praise You for Your grace, for Your generosity and loving us like You do, so help us to work hard by the grace You’ve given us for Your glory and for our good. We pray this in Jesus’ name, amen.
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