God-dependent. Not self-dependent.
“We can say with confidence and a clear conscience that we have been honest and sincere in all our dealings. We have depended on God’s grace, not on our own earthly wisdom. That is how we have acted toward everyone, and especially toward you.“ – Vs 12 NLT
“We have been dependent on God’s grace.”
Isn’t that what we all want to be able to say as Christ followers? Yet we find it hard to look at life that way. I would rather not have to admit that this thing called the Christian life is NOT about me and my ability to pull it off. I don’t want to acknowledge that it is first and foremost about the grace of God and the unmerited, unwarranted favor He shows me each and every day as one of His children. This is HIS story and I am just a bit player in it. But so often I want to make the story about me. I tend to view God as a participant in my drama, stepping into the scenes of my unfolding life story as I deem it necessary. I am the star and He plays a supporting role in my story.
But Paul knew better. He was fully aware that he owed everything to God. His salvation was a gift from God. But so was his daily sanctification. His ability to endure the pressures associated with his calling were a gift from God. The fact that he could say that he and his associates had been “honest and sincere in all our dealings” was the result of the grace of God. It wasn’t about Paul. It was about God. It wasn’t because he was smart or more talented than the next guy. No, it was because God had showered His grace on Paul. The Message paraphrases verse 12 this way: “But it wasn’t by any fancy footwork on our part. It was [God] who kept us focused on him, uncompromised.” Paul even attributed his ability to stay focused on God to God. He was 100% completely, unequivocally dependent upon God for anything and everything. And that is how each of us should live as followers of Christ. God-dependent, Christ-focused, and Holy Spirit-empowered. It reminds me of the great old hymn, I Need Thee Every Hour.
I need thee every hour; stay thou nearby; temptations lose their power when thou art nigh. I need thee every hour, in joy or pain; come quickly and abide, or life is vain.
I need thee, O I need thee;
every hour I need thee;
O bless me now, my Savior, I come to thee.
I need Thee every hour. Every hour I need Thee. Is that really true? Can I really say that and mean it? I want to. Because I have learned and am learning that my wisdom, intelligence, talent, and overall abilities are no match for this journey called the Christian life. I need the grace of God each and every day of my life. And thankfully, His grace is free each and every day of my life!
Father, thank You for Your abundant, amazing grace. May I grow increasingly ever dependent upon it. And may I never forget that I can’t live this life without it. Amen
Grow Pastor & Minister to Men