but by the grace of God I am what I am
What do you hold onto? What aspect of life has you sitting on the edge of your seat, waiting for the next fall? The next moment of temptation? What character from your personhood has you masked in the shadow?
We all have them. They all look different. They all come with distinct expressions; and conditioned to the life and being that is you. But they’re there. And they often hurt.
1 Corinthians 15:9-10 “For I am the least of the apostles, unworthy 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 towards me was not in vain…”
We’ve allowed ourselves to be designated a worldly title, defined by the work within our livelihood. That dictation can jump as far in between as personality and career, gender and family, finances and status. We somehow become one with the standard of our peers. Become the commentary of our own reason to live. Become the sin witnessed by our world.
But that shadow we walk in is nothing more than the mere fear from the devil. If God is the light in the darkness, and darkness is the sin with which we were born into, then the shadow is there because it cannot outshine the light. It’s behind the scenes, attempting to make its way into our life without success. It remains behind you. It never conquers. It literally cannot exist without the light there to allow it.
God has allowed and orchestrated the pattern of this life based on His divine plan and knowledge. Therefore, we come to Him through Him alone. So, when Paul quotes “but by the grace of God” he means that his earthly self has no right to have received the love and promises of the Lord, because of his past, who he was, and how he attempted to destroy the name of God, it is only by the grace of God that he could have been saved and brought to the feet of Him.
So, I look at my life. At the shadow of my past, and think to myself, how can I possibly stand in the light of grace? How can God possibly want me? And remember that it has nothing to do with me, and everything to do with Him.
My shadow is filled with drunken nights, men that didn’t love me, and fighting to understand who I was. This morning, I stood in the mirror haven just married my best friend whom runs after God and loves me because of who God is in me, and wonder how I am here. I wonder how I have made it to a place of redemption. To a place of grace. And am overwhelmed with the cry and assertion of Paul: but by the grace of God I am what I am.
We too often allow the mocking of the shadow to overrule the word of God. We listen to the whispers, to the lies, because accepting God’s love seems too farfetched. It seems impossible. It’s easier to allow the sin to “win” because at least then, you can do what the world wants. But my friends, God’s promises are better. There is reason and glory in His design and plan for your life. I see that now in full spectrum. I stand in the true definition of a new life, experiencing the goodness that comes with following His command.
There is a reason your body is meant for your spouse, there is a reason it is called a temple of the Lord, there is a reason marriage is a covenant, not a piece of paper: it’s all for the glory of God.
Most importantly to understand, there is a reason for redemption. Do not read the above sentence and convince yourself that you are too far gone. That you are far passed the expectation of God’s command. I was there. I was there in the darkest way possible. And now I see the light. He has redeemed my soul that I may now live a life for Him.
The grace of God is the fight. It is the courage, the strength, the workings of the Lord- you my friend, need only accept it.