I was studying 1 Corinthians 15 when something occurred to me…
For I am the least of the apostles, that am not meet to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God.
1 Corinthians 15:9
Despite all the good he did in service to the Lord, Paul still refused to think of himself as any great thing.
In fact he might have even gone too far in the other direction when he says in this text that he is the “least” of the Apostles, and not even worthy “to be called an Apostle.”
Of course, that’s his own guilt talking, not the Lord. The Holy Spirit inspired him to refer to himself as an Apostle sixteen times in his various letters. He was one of the select few Ambassadors of Jesus on earth. But because he persecuted the church of God, he always thought of himself as the least of the group.
Now you might read that verse and conclude “Paul is throwing a pity party for himself.” He’s sulking and boo-hooing over his past. But that’s not it at all…
But by the grace of God I am what I am: and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I laboured more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me.
1 Corinthians 15:10
Paul was never one to throw a pity party. He wasn’t content to sit in the corner and cry about his problems or beat himself up over his past mistakes. Instead, he acknowledged his errors, revealed his own feelings of remorse over them, and then stated “but by God’s Grace I press forward!” There’s a big difference in saying “I’ve messed up, I’m no good, I can’t do anything right!” and saying “I’ve messed up, but with God’s help I will keep trying and maybe do better next time.” One attitude is “defeatist;” it assumes that it can’t be done. The other is “honestly reliant.” It recognizes that it can’t be done alone but with God’s help (by the Grace of God) it can be done.
Quit wasting time beating yourself up. Get up and take God’s hand. Together you can accomplish whatever His Will is for you!