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Strength and Grace--Courtland Sutton (September 3)

But God’s amazing grace has made me who I am! And his grace to me was not fruitless. In fact, I worked harder than all the rest, yet not in my own strength but God’s, for his empowering grace is poured out upon me. 1 Corinthians 15:10 (TPT)

This verse is one of the two that Courtland Sutton wears on his wristbands--verses that he keeps in mind as he tries to live his life. As a rookie in the NFL last season, he found this verse to be encouraging to him as he sought to carry his cross daily.

When first looking at the verse it seems to contradict itself when it states, “I worked harder than all the rest, yet not in my own strength, but God’s.” Which one is it? Did you work hard or did you rely on God’s strength. Yes, it is both. God provides the ability and the motivation, you provide the diligence of hard work. That is the recipe for fruitfulness. What special abilities has God provided you?

Do you work those abilities diligently to accomplish the tasks for which He gave them? If the answer to that question is “no,” there is a way to shift that pattern. It’s in the verse itself--”His empowering grace is poured upon me.” You see, that amazing grace is not just found in the gifts that He gives. It’s also found as the motivation and encouragement for doing what He has prepared for you to do.

Does that mean that you will always be a happy servant as you seek to do these tasks? Not at all. It means that God will provide opportunities for you to use your gifts and talents--to join Him where He is already at work. If your eyes are open to see, it is certain that God will provide opportunities for you to serve Him by serving others. This is where your hard work comes to play. Work diligently to see what God is doing around you, then work diligently to join in the action in ways you are equipped to serve. (By the way, there are times when you will experience new grace to be equipped for new tasks placed before you, so don’t limit the possibilities of what God might do.)

When you are with your team, you are with them for a purpose! You are not just there to provide your services on the field. You are there to serve your teammates and others from your unique position. Ask God to open your eyes to how He wants to use you. Ask Him to empower you with the motivation to serve others before yourself. Then, go do it with a dedication and determination that matches the amazing grace that has been given to you to make it happen.

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