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
You may have heard the expression “I am what I am. Nothing more. Nothing less.” But these words from the pages of Scripture say it much more beautifully: “But by the grace of God I am what I am.”
We, as believers in Jesus Christ, know beyond a shadow of a doubt that if there is anything good in us, anything commendable or virtuous, that God put it there Himself. We are not capable of doing so, for by nature, we are selfish, flawed beings. We have become who we are by the loving grace of God and not by our own doing. The good things in us are given to us by our Creator, not because of something good He foresaw in us and not because He thought us worthy or deserving. Nothing in our personality or character could have moved His heart to make us into who we are. He gave us this divine favor through His grace and mercy because He loves us – with a deep abiding and unconditional love.
Some of us may not like who we are, and others may think of themselves with too much arrogance and greatness. We often compare ourselves to others – envy their appearance, intelligence, talents, or success, and either seek to be like them, or accept that we never will be. There are so many voices we hear that tell us who we are – some in our own heads, some from those around us telling us what we aren’t, and some from God telling us who we truly are and who we can become.
Scripture even tells us that Satan has the potential to plant a few ideas in our minds and hearts, as well, telling us how wonderful we are and how we don’t need God because we can do anything with our own strength and wisdom. Or he might lead us to believe how very insignificant we are, how we don’t matter, how we are on our own, and how God doesn’t care about us. He may even convince us that we are not worthy of being called a child of God.
Yet, our loving Father tells us a quite different story. He wants us to understand and believe that each one of us is a unique, beautiful, and magnificent being made by His loving hand and divine grace. He desires that we let His Spirit within us fill our minds and hearts with confidence in the individuals He made us to be.
It dishonors Him for us to focus on our inabilities, flaws, failures, or insecurities. In the same manner, it also dishonors God when we believe that we have achieved some level of greatness because of our own perseverance, intellect, hard work, or superior goodness. Only He deserves the glory and praise. He may still have work to do to make us into the beings He would have us be, but by His grace we will be.
Lord, we thank you for your grace in making us into the individuals we are. We thank you for the changes you have brought about in our lives and in our hearts, and for the ones yet to come. May we always give you all honor and praise. Amen