Grace Is Your Personal Assistant
In 2007, Kathy Griffin shocked the world with offensive comments while accepting an Emmy. Noting some people thank Jesus when they receive an award, she said, “He didn’t help me a bit.… This award is my God now.” Sadly, she doesn’t think God has anything to do with our successes in life. But the apostle Paul tells us the opposite in 1 Corinthians 15:10: the grace of God is the driving force behind our triumphs.
Paul had once vehemently persecuted Christians. His conversion to Christ (see Acts 9) produced a dramatic turnaround; now he was the hardest working and most fruitful apostle of all. How was this possible? How do you go from killing Christians to planting churches, raising up pastors, and turning whole cities to Jesus?
Paul says, “I worked harder than any of them, though it was not I, but the grace of God that is with me.” This is an extremely interesting verse in the Greek because of the itsy-bitsy preposition “with.” Paul could have said the grace of God was upon, in, around, or by him, but instead, he chose to say it was with him. Why?
The Greek word for “with” is syn. This preposition means to “keep company” and “have association” with something or someone. It links two things together and makes them one. It suggests that two separate things or individuals have teamed up for the same cause and have begun working together. Paul was painting a picture. He was saying that after his conversion, he teamed up with the grace of God! Grace had become Paul’s ministerial companion, personal assistant, and partner in the work of Christ. It’s safe to say that Paul, at times, felt like grace was a tangible person right beside him, assisting him on his journey. This certainly adds a new dimension to his ministry. Consider all that Paul endured: prison, beatings, stoning, shipwrecks, hunger, thirst—and more. (See 2 Corinthians 11:23–38.) But God’s grace was with him!
Take a moment and look back on your own life. Did you get through school on your own? How do you keep your temper in check while sitting in traffic? Have you ever bent down to help someone who’s dropped something? Whether you realize it or not, you’ve teamed up with God’s grace. That should encourage you! Grace stands by you, as a faithful friend, empowering you with whatever you need to be a success in God.