Listen to today’s devo!

But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace to me was not without effect. (1 Cor. 15:10)

When a business, ministry, or person seems to be experiencing notable success, we are often tempted to say, “that person is blessed.” But a full church, thriving business, or a successful career are not signs of closeness with God. Over the course of the past decade (even the past two years), leaders of thriving churches have been mired in scandal, abused power, and even been removed from their congregations because of the discrepancy between the depth of their character and the heights of their success.

In today’s passage, Paul reminds his listeners (subliminally) of the dual nature of God’s work in us. First, we have to see that the Spirit delights in us becoming more fully ourselves, and rejoices as elements of our personalities reflect God’s heart. Second, we have to understand that God often builds beautiful things in our lives, not because of us, but in spite of our faults, frailties, and errors.

Paul gives us a pattern, reminding us of the importance of working and pressing into God’s ways while also acknowledging that the fruits of his life are fundamentally beyond his control. The words Paul uses in this passage, “yet not I, but the grace of God that was with me,” are helpful guides to us today as we celebrate how God uses our personalities and keep an eye toward how we might grow into fullness.

Reflect: What aspect of my personality is not present in Christ’s personality?

Ethan Linder is the pastor of collegians and young adults at College Wesleyan Church (IN) and contributing editor for Education & Clergy Development of The Wesleyan Church.

© 2022 Wesleyan Publishing House. Reprinted from Light from the Word. Used by permission. Scriptures taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®.