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 15:10 (NIV)
1 Corinthians is a letter written by the apostle Paul to the church of Corinth. Paul's letters make up two thirds of the New Testament. Before Paul met Jesus he persecuted the church. He killed every Christian he could find. Then one day when he was traveling God made him blind for three days then opened his eyes. Paul was radically saved.
Paul is the one who is telling the Corinthian church that it is by the grace of God he is what he is. Paul had every reason to boast. In 2 Corinthians 11:22-23 he tells us that he is a Hebrew, an Israelite, a descendant of Abraham, and a servant of Christ. He has been in prison more frequently, been flogged more severly, and been exposed to death again and again. Paul the prime example of a New Testament servant, who has sacrificed more than we could ever imagine and is the writer of much of the scripture we study today, does not take any credit for who he is. He tells us it is by the grace of God.
How many times in our own lives do we take the credit for our accomplishments? We become puffed up with pride because we preached a good sermon, lead someone to Christ, our kids serve the Lord, we have been on x number of missions trips, the list goes on and on. Reality Check: you and I would be nothing without the grace of God. We were the sinners that we judge everyday before we met Christ. It is only by the grace of God we aren't sinners like the rest of the world.
This grace that you and I have experienced is not to go without bearing fruit. After Paul acknowledges that he is who he is by the grace of God he tells us that this grace was not without effect. The grace he obtained from the Lord caused him to work harder than any of the New Testament servants.
Experiencing the true grace of God causes us to be eager to serve Christ. God's grace does not give us a license to sin or to sit on the church pew feeling superior to others. No! The grace of God draws us to repentance and servant hood. Grace motivates us to do whatever we can to make God's day. Experiencing his grace and mercy causes us to stop focusing on ourselves and start desperately seeking to know him.
What's even more amazing is that our new found servant hood is not of anything within ourselves. Our renewed heart is only a work of his grace. We can't even take credit for pursuing him.
Today reflect on who you would be without Christ. Recognize that it is only by his grace that you are what you are. This grace should create a heart in you that is eager to please the Lord in whatever way you can. Let grace do miracles in you today.