But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace toward me has not been in vain.
1 Corinthians 15:10
The Apostle Paul says this lovely phrase – I am what I am – in the middle of his first letter to the church in Corinth.
And he says it right after reminding them he is the least likely one to be standing up and leading a church.
He wasn’t the greatest guy.
He was kind of jerk actually.
And yet by the grace of God here he is, leading and living and speaking for God in the world.
He said that he had done all this stuff that he wasn’t proud of, and still God loved him and saved him and chose him.
By the grace of God I am who I am.
I think the same can be true for us.
No matter what – here we are.
We are who we are.
And no matter what we think about ourselves or how worthy we think we are, we are still receivers of the grace of God.
I want you to think about where you are today.
In your life I mean.
Are you happy?
All of those things in the last ten minutes?
You have not been beaten.
Those emotions, the things in your life that are beating you down, they have not and will not win.
Let me tell you, I KNOW that it doesn’t always feel that way.
Today, maybe your fear has won.
Today, maybe you feel like the illness is getting a leg up.
But it will not win.
I want you to find a mirror, right now (I’ll wait)…
Look in it, and repeat: By the grace of God, here I am.
Say it again.
By the grace of God, here I am.
This is what Paul’s words mean.
By God’s grace we are who we are.
And who we are is children of God.
Paul’s last words in this verse are about God’s action on our behalf not being in vain.
God’s grace is never wasted.
God’s love is never misdirected.
No matter what.
We may not be who we want to be yet.
We may not be running at full capacity.
We may feel unworthy.
But that has no bearing on God’s grace for you.
It’s there. Already given.
You are still here.
As I read this verse today, the song “Alive” kept on coming to my mind.
The lyrics are so perfectly matched to this idea that by the grace of God we’re still here.
No matter what is going wrong in our lives, in our country, in our world, we’re here.
She sings: I had a one-way ticket to a place
Where all the demons go
Where the wind don’t change
And nothing in the ground can ever grow
No hope, just lies
And you’re taught to cry in your pillow
But I survived
I’m still breathing, I’m still breathing.
Have you felt like this?
Yeah. It’s not an easy place to be, at the bottom.
But God is there.
He knows and understands what it looks like to be in the worst of life.
And despite how bad things can get, you are here.
You survived this moment. This day. This week.
By the grace of God – you’re still breathing.
By the grace of God – here I am. (say it)
By the grace of God – here I am.
You’re alive my friends.
By the grace of God – here we are.
(want to listen to this song? Click here)