Athlete, Let Grace Awaken You
1 Corinthians 15:10 (NIV)
But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace to me was not without effect.
Personal identity gets shaped in all kinds of ways. The teams we play on, the schools we represent, the communities we live in, the people we associate with, the family we grow up in, the successes and failures we experience, and even the media that carry our stories (like it or not) — all these things shape who we are. Right?
Still, there’s one other defining dimension missing. It cannot be overlooked. It’s too pivotal, too crucial — the grace of God.
Grace awakened the apostle Paul. It really got to him. It saved him. And it sure became a dominant theme across his life story.
That’s probably why he so strongly spoke of grace twice in today’s verse. We’d do well to double down on our grace awareness too.
Let’s take a closer look at the Scripture here …
- First, Paul credited grace at the heart of his identity. “I am what I am by the grace of God.“ Grace got to the core of who Paul was.
He came to see the grace of God as having much to do with who he had become. He saw the unmistakable fingerprints of God’s grace everywhere on his life, in his life story.
- Second, Paul saw that God’s grace had a huge effect on him. It didn’t just mark him a bit, it changed him. Like a really good grenade, it landed and exploded on target.
It fell on him hard and dominated his story from then on. He was awakened and transformed.
As a result of Paul’s great grace awakening, here’s what happened to him …
He worshiped unashamedly, engaged unapologetically, preached passionately, lived adventurously, invested thoroughly in others, made disciples, extended extravagant grace, always went the extra mile, forgave as he had been forgiven, and relentlessly contended for a cause greater than himself until he died — the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Paul competed like a champion for grace. He played like a spiritual All Star.
Grace awakenings are big. They get to our identity. They effect great change.
Like Paul, they overturn our pride and reset our failures. They occupy the first seat and bottom line of our story. They’re powerful and beautiful, comprehensive and ultimate.
Reflect: How awakened to grace are you? Where do you see God’s fingerprints in your life, your identity, your story? Recall a way God’s grace has had a real effect on you.
Are you eternally saved by God’s grace? Or must everything in your life either be self-earned or randomly received? Where could you extend God’s grace and mercy to others today?
Would you meditate, memorize, and make 1 Corinthians 15:10 a theme to your story too? (This could be a game-changer!)
A prayer to consider: Heavenly Father, thank You for every grace-awakened moment You’ve brought me. Your grace and mercy change everything.
Jesus, get me to my knees in convicted awareness of my continual need of grace, and keep me there. You’ve ushered me into such great grace, especially eternal salvation.
Spirit of God, don’t let me receive God’s grace without effect — without it changing me and me helping others. Amen.
One more note: the fraternal twins “grace” and “mercy,” between them, are mentioned almost 500 times in the Bible. No other world religion scripture source accents these twins like this. Awaken to the beautiful, compelling weight of this!