But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me was not in vain; but I labored more abundantly than they all, yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me.
Today’s verse reminds me of the cartoon character Popeye I used to watch as a kid. “I am whats I am and thats all what I am” Popeye used to say. He took pride in just being the small, ordinary sailor, at least until he ate his spinach. The spinach seemed to have an almost supernatural effect on him. Popeye’s spinach is like our infusion of the supernatural grace of God. We are whats we are by the grace of God. I love Paul’s combination of humility and confidence expressed in this verse. He recognized the weakness and shortcomings of his humanness and at the same time was confident in Christ who was working mightily within him. All of us face the same dilemma, we are weak and unable to stand up in the midst of the crazy onslaught we experience daily in this life. At the same time, we are strong enough for any challenge, empowered by Christ within us. Kathryn Kuhlman expressed the beauty of God’s grace in these words.
“Where would any man or any woman be this very hour were it not for the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ? Grace greater than all our sins – grace greater than all our shortcomings.
I am reminded of God’s grace when someone confides, “I wasn’t worthy of this healing or of God’s blessings. I am not worthy to be called an heir of God and a joint-heir with Christ Jesus.”
It isn’t a matter of being worthy, for no man is worthy! It isn’t our perfection or our penitence, or a matter of our labors to reach the place of perfection or worthiness. It is God’s grace alone!”
Popeye would often face impossible circumstances normally brought about by his foe Bluto. He would always thwart his foe by the strange effect the spinach would have on him. You and I face an adversary that opposes us at every turn. The good news is that our sufficiency is not in our gifts, resources, or talents, our help comes from the Lord. If the Bible is true, we are sufficient for any challenge that comes our way. What can separate us from the love of God? Is there any trial, any sickness, any financial need, or any demon that can defeat us? Impossible!!! We are literally more than conquerors through Christ. Like Popeye and the Apostle Paul, I am what I am and that’s all what I am. Maybe being empowered by spinach is a stretch but we have more than spinach working for us. We have Christ Himself working within us by the grace of God. Regardless of what kind of battle you are facing today you are more than a match for the battle. Remember, you are what you are by the grace of God.