Day 6: God’s Grace to do our Best
“For I am the least of the apostles, not worthy to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. 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, yet not I, but the grace of God that was with me.” -1 Corinthians 15:9-11
What does it mean to “do your best?” From the world’s perspective, it means to give 110% effort, to give it everything that you have. Here is the problem with that idea: we have nothing to give on our own. At first glance at the passage above, it would seem like Paul is boasting in his own strength, in his own work ethic, in his own abilities. It almost sounds like he is saying “look at everything I have accomplished for the Lord on my own.” Almost. However, he continues by saying, “Yet not I, but the grace of God that was with me.”
Did Paul work hard for the gospel? Did he sacrifice his freedom? Did he risk his life? Did he give his best? The answer to all of these questions is absolutely yes! But Paul knew without a doubt that he could not do any of this on his own. He understood that the best he could give was contingent upon his dependence on the Lord. We cannot forget that we are but created beings. We are completely dependent upon our Creator and Lord to supply us with all the strength, courage, and wisdom to give our best so that at the end of our days we too can say that God’s grace shown to us was not in vain.
Please remember that your best is not determined by how you measure up to the person next to you and what he/she is doing. The best that you can give is determined by your connection with the Father. Are you spending time with him every day reading his word, being rejuvenated by it, and seeking his strength and wisdom? Are your eyes ever fixed on our Savior and the perfecter of our faith? When you take your eyes off of him and begin working in your own strength, you will find that your best is actually useless; apart from God we can do nothing.
Ask the Lord to remind you that he is your strength, and take time every day to ask him to empower you. You cannot give your best without first giving yourself to the Lord.
“You have no strength but what God gives, and you can have all the strength that God can give.” -Andrew Murray
Written by Tyler Blount ’12
Tyler Blount majored in vocal performance and pedagogy and is currently living in Bogotá, Colombia, teaching music and leading worship at El Camino Academy.