Grace Effect

IMG_20130329_165122 “But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace to me was not without effect. No I worked harder than all of them (apostles)-yet not I, but the grace of God that was with me.”        1 Corinthians 15:10

I love Paul, of the Bible.  When I first met him on the pages of scripture, quite honestly, I thought he bragged a lot about his knowledge of the Law in the Old Testament.  He even said he worked harder than the apostles.  As I spent time with him and looked closely at his life, I’v learned it’s quite the opposite.  In the verse prior to the one above, Paul stated, “For I am the least of the apostles and do not even deserve to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church.”  When I didn’t look at all of what Paul said, I formed an incorrect opinion about him.

Isn’t that how our interactions with people are sometimes?  We make assumptions based on limited interaction, sometimes just from observation.    I’ve found that when I make assumptions, they aren’t always kind or may be built with jealousy or envy as the foundation.  My conclusion then is that those opinions are more about me than the other person.  It surely doesn’t come out of a heart of love for others.

As I read 1 Corinthians 15:10 I was instantly drawn to the part of the verse where Paul said, “… His grace to me was not without effect”.

You read it right, effect not affect.  Effect is defined as: something produced by a cause; power to bring about results; influence.  Other translations of the Bible verse say, “not without result; did not prove vain”.

Paul, previously known as Saul, was blind to who Jesus was.  He knew God’s Word, but He didn’t recognize Jesus as the Savior the prophets told about.  He was actually killing Christ followers.  But God got Paul’s attention by literally making him blind. When his eyes and heart were open, Paul accepted what he didn’t deserve and lived his life telling others about it.  God’s grace changed Paul’s life. It was not without cost.  In 2 Corinthians 11:23-29, Paul shares what his life was like as a Christ follower.  God used Paul to share His saving grace with the Gentiles.  His letters fill the New Testament with wise insight into living a life worthy of God’s grace.

God gave me something I didn’t deserve.  His Son as a sacrifice for my sins.  I’m thankful and grateful, but does my daily life reflect the cost of Jesus’s life, death and resurrection?

How has God’s grace influenced my life?  Is it without result or in vain?  Truthfully I’ve gone through times, years where my life didn’t reflect the effect of God’s deep love for me.  I can make excuses for why, but the fact of the matter is that after accepting Christ’s saving grace, I’ve gone through long periods of time without effect.

God’s grace was costly and I don’t want to live a life reflecting cheap grace.

We are all on a continuum of understanding and living out God’s grace.  Paul’s life is a testimony to how a life can be transformed.  From a killer of Christ followers to one teaching about how to follow Jesus Christ.  How about you?  Will you investigate how you can live the grace effect?

XO, Michelle