January 11, 2001: 1 Corinthians 15:1-11 Devotion Sharing

Submitted by Jenny Ho, Gracepoint Berkeley

Hold Firmly

What is the test of genuine faith based on these verses? The test of genuine faith based on these verses is that it perseveres, that it causes the person to hold firmly to what they believe. It says “if you take your stand” otherwise you have believed in vain. Why? Is it conditional? No, it’s just the nature of what it really means to understand a truth that is important.  This truth of the gospel is so powerful that if one really understood it, it will cause you act.  It’s like if I really believed this ceiling was going to cave in in the next 30 seconds, I’m going to jump to my feet and move. It’s because it’s a self-involving truth that if I really understood it, it would cause some kind of response.

What does it mean to “take your stand” and “hold firmly” to the gospel? I think one thing it means is to persevere through difficulty. When  anyone takes a stand on anything, it is always in the face of adversity, e.g. people taking a stand on their principles, people taking a stand against racism in the face of a culture that fully embraces it, etc. Taking my stand upon the gospel means that I’m going to hold firmly to the gospel amidst difficulty, in the face of adversity. What is the adversity that I need to stand against? It’s my own sins and failures, it’s just life happening, kids getting sick, feeling weak, seeing my own character flaws in a more glaring light, temptations to slow down and settle, difficulties in ministry, there’s satan, that sleepless enemy who is constantly looking for ways to dull our faith, make us give up or just slow down. To hold firmly to the gospel means that I’m not just going to sit there and let entropy set in, I’m not going to let satan hurl things at me without defending myself; it means I’m going to do something about it – holding on means going back to my testimony and remembering God’s real hand in my life, it means I’m going to meditate and memorize verses that snap me back to the truth that the one who is in me is greater than the one in the world, that he can do immeasureably more than I ask or imagine, that the spiritual battle is real, it means that I’m going to pray instead of just feeling down, I’m going to act instead of letting satan lull me into spiritual slumber or into my same old cynical attitude.

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Submitted by Susanna Lee, Gracepoint Davis

What does it mean to live so that God’s grace is not without effect? To live so that God’s grace is not without effect means to live a life that testifies God’s grace that saved us from sin.  It is a life that hates and fights against sin daily because it is sin that separates us from God and sin that crucified our Savior on the cross.  When we continue in sin, this has no effect on the grace that we have received from God.  In reality this means that I need to daily die to the self, my sinful nature: self-centered desires, self-elevation/promotion, self-comfort, ego/pride, my temporal/narrow perspective of life, my warped/twisted thoughts, etc.  Unless I willfully die to my sinful nature each day, God’s grace cannot have its effect in my life.

What kind of attitude would be in a person who works hard but knows that it’s not him but the grace of God that was with him? The attitude of humility and gratitude stemming from the sense of privilege (undeservingness) would be in a person who works hard but knows that it’s not him but the grace of God that was with him.  This would result in joy and gratitude regardless of how hard she works or how difficult the task might be.  She would be willing to take on more as she would trust in God’s grace to enable her.  Whatever God asks her to do, regardless of how much personal sacrifice is required, her attitude would be that of a servant’s attitude and the willingness that comes from knowing that this would be an opportunity to personally experience God’s grace and power enabling her to do what is not possible by herself.  Also, the knowing that it is not me but the grace of God that is in me will protect me from getting proud when I do something well or falling into despair when things don’t go well.  Even failure would be seen as a humbling, learning opportunity to depend on God rather than something that diminishes the self.

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