Right after I picked grace as my word for 2014, I listened to a sermon on 1 Corinthians 1:4-9. The sermon started with an overview of the letter. The pastor listed 10 issues present in the Corinthian church that Paul addresses. If you don’t know much about the Corinthians, I encourage you to learn more, but for right now all you need to know is the church was full of division and sin. It was pretty much a complete mess.
The pastor then talked about 1 Corinthians 1:4. “I always thank God for you because of his grace given you in Christ Jesus.”
He asked, given how messed up the church in Corinth was, how could Paul say he always thanks God for them? Answering the question is pretty simple, since answer is right in the verse. “Because of the grace given you in Christ Jesus.” Paul thanks God for them because of God’s grace.
Hearing that was eye opening. I realized how little I understand God’s grace and it convicted me about how I view and treat others. I knew that I don’t extend grace to others as I should, but hearing this verse explained in that way further emphasized to how infrequently I extend grace to others.
I’m so thankful for these insights and I’m looking forward to all God will teach me this year about grace. I’m also praying I that this verse will impact my life in the coming weeks and I will be able to show others grace as God has shown me grace.
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong. – 1 Corinthians 12:9-10
I look at the lives of my Christian friends and see incredible people filled with joy and love. Men and women of God who are so filled with the Spirit of God that it overflows into everything they do. When I see God working through them in wonderful and amazing ways I’m overjoyed they are experiencing God so fully. However, sometimes I’m discouraged that I don’t always feel the way everyone else seems to.
Instead of always feeling blessed by God, I just feel broken. Despite knowing in my head that through Christ I am redeemed, I sometimes feel hopeless instead of hopeful. I’m just as sinful and broken as I’ve ever been. How can I really be a child of God who walks in the light if everything in my life is such a mess?
I read 1 John 1:6-7 and feel dismayed. I know that I’m often not walking in the light. So I’m a liar who doesn’t live out the truth or fellowship with God? How can I feel anything but miserable?
Fortunately, the chapter does not end there. It goes on in verse 8 and 9 to say that anyone who claims to be without sin deceives himself and if we confess our sins God is faithful; he forgives and purifies us. I can still have joy, because it is in my weakness, when I feel most broken, God shows his power. He shows His power to forgive even the worst parts of me and His power to make me new. I rejoice because God not only forgives me, but is also turning me into something beautiful.