The Precious Gift of Grace
“But whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ.” Philippians 3:7
Sometimes my pride can hinder my intimacy with Christ. Sometimes I forget He saved me, not because of anything I’d done or could ever do, but solely because of His mercy. Sometimes I give my efforts too much weight and not nearly enough to grace, but focusing on myself only distances me from my Savior. My relationship with Him deepens through surrender.
Years ago, we belonged to a small church attended by numerous seminary students. As a result, our Bible study times always felt like in-depth theological lessons. One individual in particular seemed compelled to correct others. Sitting tall, he’d use big words, often launching into a discussion on the original Hebrew or Greek. Though I loved the learning opportunity this group provided, sometimes my insecurities hindered my participation.
What began as a time to draw closer to Christ soon resembled an intellectual competition.
I wonder if, prior to coming to faith in Christ, the apostle Paul ever felt like that. He’d been a Pharisee, raised by a Pharisee, and trained by a man said to be one of the top teachers of the Jewish law. Paul’s rigorous training and brilliant mind, his religious adherence to the law, had to earn him a great deal of respect. But all of his studies and “righteous” living failed to bring him any closer to Christ; failed to fill the God-sized ache in his heart.
But then one day, he encountered Jesus, and everything changed. He discovered a peace and joy, an unshakable love, that went so much deeper than he could’ve imagined. Through grace, Paul came alive. Looking back on all his achievements, the accolades and success, he declared them garbage—useless, compared to the surpassing knowledge of knowing, truly knowing, Jesus Christ as Lord.
And when false teachers had infiltrated the church and were attempting to distort grace, Paul urged the Philippian believers to stand firm, not in their efforts, but in what Christ had already done.
Jennifer Slattery is a writer, podcast host, speaker, and the founder of Wholly Loved Ministries. She writes for Crosswalk, iBelieve is a multi-published author of Building a Family among other titles who also writes articles, Bible studies, and devotions. When not writing, reading, or editing, Jennifer loves going on mall outings with her adult daughter and coffee dates with her hilariously fun husband. Visit her online at jenniferslatterylivesoutloud.com or book her for your next women’s event.
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