It is very easy in life to adopt a false view of ourselves. On one hand, a wrong estimate of who we are can lead us into low self esteem and on the other hand the danger is an inflated ego. The Bible gives us a crystal-clear picture and truth of who we are in Christ. Here is a short verse that has been helpful to me.
1 Cor 4:7- “For what makes you different from anyone else? What do you have that you did not receive? And if you did receive it, why do you boast as though you did not?”
You might rightfully want to ask yourself, “What is it that makes me different from other people? Could it be: wealth, family, education, power, personality, beauty, strength, diligence, intelligence, job, health, or talent?
Probably you might be tempted to think these things have ‘made’ you what/who you have become; but a honest analysis will show that God is indeed the one who has made all the difference. He is the one in whom all things hold together. All things in our possession have been RECEIVED (except our sin nature). It’s all about the grace of God. From God we have received grace upon grace.
The idea that you have received everything should cause us to:
Be humble-“What do you have that you did not receive? And if you did receive it, why do you boast as though you did not?” 1 Cor 4:7. Obviously, there is no point of boasting of what you were give. But the issue of pride is a heart problem. A heart full of pride says, “I deserve it all”; it is all about my powers, my education, my investment, my talent. It is “my” and “I” because it is all about me (not about others, not about God). Therefore, knowing the origin of what we have should cause us to be humble and only boast in God. Pride slowly creeps into our hearts the moment we forget that all we are and have is by the favor of God.
Be Thankful- There is no better way to appreciate a gift that has been given to you other than by giving thanks. God has given us so much that we owe him lots of thanks. He has blessed us with all we need, both material and spiritual blessings. Through his power we are provided for- “His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness” 2 Pet 1:3. The thing we give back to God after receiving is a thankful heart.
Give praise – We praise him because he is the Giver of all good things; “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows Jas 1:17. This understanding should make us praise his name. The purpose of what has been received is for the magnification of his name.
We have many things to praise God for- salvation, life, healing just to name but a few. David in the Psalm 103:1-2 wrote, “Praise the Lord, O my soul; all my inmost being, praise his holy name. Praise the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits”. Has God satisfied your life with good things? Praise Him.
Trust in the God of grace- – Grace has been defined as unmerited favor. To the question, “For what makes you different from anyone else? 1 Cor 4:7 I suggest it is the grace of God. God has given his grace to different people as he determines and as it pleases him. How special are you that God saved you and has not saved others? It is all by grace! It is not based on any merit. Every blessing we posses is a receive grace and gift from God; and if we desire something in life we should ask God, the one who gives us freely and generously.
Discover how rich we are- you can imagine how much you have received (physically and spirituall)from the Lord for the days you have lived under the sun. You are simply blessed! As a child of God you have one spiritual blessing after another, you have: forgiveness of sins, redemption, justification, sanctification, wisdom and understanding, Eph 1. “For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich” 2 Cor 8:9. And so the poor should say “I am rich”, the sinner “I am forgiven”, and the weak “I am strong” because of what the Lord has done.
Love more– The fact that we have received all should challenge us to love (people and God) more. In relation to God we are all debtors, “The more God has given the more we are in debt. Why should a man boast that he is deeper in debt than another?” However the debt we have should be that of love, “Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another” Rom 13:8. Believers should not be like storage tanks to God’s blessings but vessels that convey the same blessings to others.
Give God glory– The understanding that God has given us all things should make us to give God all the glory. Because we realize it is not by our strength but by God’s mighty hand and outstretched arm. It is not by the chariots or horses but by the name of the Lord our God (Ps 20:7). Giving God glory involves acknowledging that it is not by my sword and my bow but by the power of the Lord Almighty (Ps 44:6). “Not to us, O Lord, not to us but to your name be the glory because of your love and faithfulness” Ps 115:1. Let God be glorified.