“By the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me did not prove vain; but I labored even more than all of them, yet not I, but the grace of God with me.” 1Corinthians 15:10
Can you feel Paul’s liberty in this passage? He’s not trying to impress people, or be better than anyone else. He is happy to be himself in the grace of God, “I am what I am.” It kind of sounds like God’s revelation of Himself to Moses, “I am who I am.” While God is self existent, relying on no one else to bring Him into being or to sustain His being; Paul’s identity is entirely wrapped up in who God is making him by grace. But grace doesn’t just affect who Paul is, it’s also the engine for all he does: “I labored…, yet not I, but …grace…”
Are we as conscious as Paul was of God’s grace for our being and doing? Am I performing to gain God’s favor, or because I already have His favor by grace? Am I performing to gain self worth, or have I accepted myself as God accepts me in Christ? Can I say with complete self acceptance, “I am what I am by the grace of God?” If I’m resting in grace, no person’s opinion can threaten my identity. If I’m working in grace there is no pride of achievement, or fear of underachievement that comes from comparing myself to others.
Whenever we have communion at church and are reminded that it’s ultimately not about what we do for God, but what He has done for us through Christ. His body was given, and His blood was poured out, so that we might be forgiven and be able to feast on His grace all of our days.