Have you ever struggled with the grace that God placed on your life? Have you ever wished you could be like someone else instead of the person God made you to be?
Many believers struggle with this issue. They aren’t satisfied with the grace on their own lives, and they wish they could have the grace of another person.
For example, a pastor may grow tired of preaching to the same faces week after week as he leads his local congregation. Soon he begins to dream of being a traveling teacher or an evangelist who journeys across the world to proclaim the Gospel in new places. Or on the flip side, a traveling evangelist or teacher may grow tired of constantly moving around and wish that he could be given the pastoral grace that would allow him to settle down in one spot. However, as long as a person yearns to be someone other than who God made him to be, he will never feel satisfied or fulfilled in life.
Romans 12:6 tells us that we all have “…gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us….” Therefore, it’s vital that we as believers endeavor to discover our own particular grace and then, once we have found it, to embrace it and pursue it with fervor!
In 1 Corinthians 3:10, Paul described the grace that was placed on his own life. He said, “According to the grace of God which is given unto me….” I want to draw your attention to the word “according” in this verse, which in Greek is the word kata. This Greek word always describes a downward force or something that is subjugating, dominating, or conquering. By using this word kata, Paul was literally saying, “I have been conquered by this particular grace that is on my life.”
Think of how difficult it must have been for Paul to accept his grace as an apostle to the heathen cities of the Roman Empire. Many of the cities to which he traveled were rife with immorality and demonic activity. The city of Corinth, for example, was one of the most wicked cities of that time, yet Paul still boldly entered that city to proclaim the light of truth in the face of unspeakable darkness. When he first traversed the long road that led into Corinth, he walked past intricately carved idols that lined the road on each side. These statues — most of which were naked — were vividly painted, with great attention paid to the smallest details, to make them appear as vibrant and lifelike as possible. Thus, when Paul walked down on that street into the city of Corinth for the first time, flanked by brightly colored idols on all sides, it was as if he was walking through a corridor of living pornography.
However, despite the monumental challenges that lay ahead of him in Corinth, Paul didn’t back away from his divine calling or waste his time wishing he could borrow the grace of another man. Instead, he boldly marched into this wicked city, and with the grace that was on his life, Paul literally pushed the powers of hell out of the way. And as a result of his perseverance and determination, the apostle gave birth to the church of Corinth, which would grow to become one of the greatest churches of the First Century. It was in this city that he would also meet Aquila and Priscilla, who became the greatest partners in ministry he would ever have.
In city after city, the apostle Paul pushed the powers of hell out of the way — confronting principalities and powers, demonic manifestations, and pagan temples — in order to lay the foundations for new churches. He did this in Corinth, in Ephesus, in Thessolonica, and many other cities. This was his grace. And just as each church became established, the Holy Spirit would direct him to turn over the congregation to someone else and then move on to do it again.
The very fact that Paul used the word kata in 1 Corinthians 3:10 implies that he struggled with his grace –just as many of us have struggled with ours. However, he finally came to a place where he quit struggling with the anointing God had placed on his life; in fact, he opened his heart and embraced it. Paul testified in his epistle to the Corinthians that this grace dominated his life.
In my own life, I have an anointing to minister to the people in the former Soviet Union. Time and time again, this grace on my life has enabled me to accomplish what other people could not, and since Denise and I first moved to the former USSR in 1991, we have repeatedly overcome obstacles that others have described as insurmountable. For instance, when Denise and I moved to Moscow to establish a church in that city, countless people warned us that we would fail. They’d exclaim, “Moscow was the center of world Communism. Demonic powers and principalities loom in that city! It is the graveyard of preachers!”
Everywhere we turned, we heard these kinds of reports, but I knew I had the grace to accomplish this work for the Lord. And because I embraced my grace and pursued the calling of God on my life, I have since reaped the abundant rewards of obedience. In fact, ministering in Moscow has been one of the most enjoyable endeavors I have ever undertaken in my life, and the church we started continues to grow by leaps and bounds.
It is such a joy when you finally know and accept your grace. When you reach this point, you no longer feel threatened by or envious of the grace of anyone else. You are able to confidently say, “This is my grace! Other people can’t do what I do, and I don’t have to do what they do because that is their grace.”
Thank God we’re not all the same! Each one of us has been given equally unique and important gifts. Whether you are a pastor or an usher, a businessman or an artist, you are an essential member of the Body of Christ. Your grace defines your place. So discover your grace, embrace it, and then allow it to dominate your life!
Excerpts taken from “Sparkling Gems from the Greek II” by Rick Renner