Bible Reading: 1 Corinthians 15:1-11
“But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace toward me was not in vain. On the contrary, I worked harder than any of them, though it was not I, but the grace of God that is with me.” (1 Corinthians 15:10)
A hidden pride and sin which exists in our hearts is our envious longing for a good reputation. I’m not saying that we must long for a bad reputation. However, unconsciously, our reputation can become our idol that hinders our walk with God and our service of Him. We can introspect ourselves by investigating our true motives behind every good deed we do in front of others. Why do we study hard? Is it so that our friends and parents see us as intelligent, obedient and good children? Why did we decide to help our friend? Is it so that they will think good of us? Or maybe why didn’t we help our friend? Is it because we believe that others will mock us for doing so?
Deep in our hearts, we often say by my own efforts, I am what I am. We fail to recognise the grace of God which has been lavished unto us. And so, our minds and our days are filled with a constant effort to uphold who we are and to make sure that we have a good reputation in front of everyone. When we live like this, we have placed our identity in our own goodness. Other’s thoughts about us have become our idol, and our will has been enslaved to worshipping it such that we spend day and night polishing our self-image.
This is not the identity the Bible calls us to have. Paul says, “by the grace of God I am what I am”. Firstly, we must understand that all that we are is by God’s grace. If we have the gifts and talents which other people applaud, they are not a result of our efforts. They are a grace from God. Likewise, if God gives us more blessings in the future, it is also God’s grace.
Because God is the giver of grace, we should not place our identity in our works to gain acceptance from others. Instead, we ought to put our identity in the one who has already accepted us and given us a new identity in Christ.
We should look heavenward and recognise how Christ has died for us and renewed us from sinner to saint. Our identity should be placed in our Creator who loves us and ultimately accepts us as sinners through Christ’s blood which cleanses us.
When our identity is set in Christ, then we can blossom and bear fruits for His glory. No longer will our mindsets be how can I gain acceptance from others if I do this? But instead, how can I love others and give to them the gift of Christ? God’s love and acceptance will empower us to love others and serve them, whoever they are.
Although our battle with pride will be life-long, let us humbly learn to walk in God’s ways and continue to put off our old selves so that God’s glory may shine through our new selves renewed by Christ’s blood.
Lord, please forgive us for placing our identity in our reputation and our own efforts. Take us back to remember Your love and full acceptance You have already given us in Christ. May we rest at peace in Your love. Thank You for Your grace which surpasses all things. Please help us to share Your love with others. In Jesus’ name, amen.