We’ve emphasized in recent visits the importance of an intimate relationship with God if we want to walk, work and worship with divine clarity as we live in the midst of human ambiguity and ambivalence. Joseph, Jonathan and Jesus all exhibited this quality.
Paul made it clear in his writings that he was only able to do what he did as he relied upon this intimate relationship with God. He said in 1 Corinthians 15:10, “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 – yet not I but the grace of God that was with me.”
In this statement it is clear to see how easy it is to see ourselves as making things happen. Even as Paul is honestly sharing how he responded to the gift of God’s grace he came close to bragging about how he worked harder at living the grace life than all of his contemporaries. That’s why he was who he was! Then, almost as if a lightning bolt of truth hit him, he stopped to clarify – “yet not I but the grace of God that was with me.”
His wholehearted response of working harder than others was actually a further result of God’s grace working in him. He had an intimate relationship with God, but he passionately wanted it to get deeper and richer and fuller.
Listen to his passionate desire: “I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death.” No question, he wanted to walk, work and worship with divine clarity and a growing relationship with Christ as he lived in the midst of human ambiguity and ambivalence.