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Devotional: June 30, 2021

Here’s a word you can take to heart and depend on: Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners. I’m proof—Public Sinner Number One—of someone who could never have made it apart from sheer mercy. And now he shows me off—evidence of his endless patience—to those who are right on the edge of trusting him forever.

First Timothy 1: 15-16 The Message

Many people trumpet their accomplishments, and boast of their achievements. Hearing such self-congratulatory praise can grow old real quick. One of the best pieces of advice I ever heard was this: “Don’t pat yourself on the back. Let others do it for you.”

The Apostle Paul turns the usual practice of boasting on its head. He “flips the script,” doing the opposite of what is expected. Instead of boasting about how good he is, Paul boasts about what a sinner he is! He calls himself, “Public Sinner Number One”, or in other translations, “Chief among the sinners.”

If Paul is going to boast, in the usual sense of talking about something good, he chooses to boast about God. “Look, friends, at what God has done with me, who was the worst of all sinners.”

Paul takes the focus off of himself, and puts it on God’s mercy and grace. People may very well tire of hearing you talk about yourself, but they will never tire of hearing about God’s amazing forgiveness, grace, and love.

What a world it would be, if everyone boasted not in their own accomplishments, but in God’s forgiving love, and transformative power to change us from sinners into saints. It is wonderful to imagine such a world. Perhaps all of us could do our part to focus less upon ourselves, and more upon the Lord. Then, when we feel a pat on our back, we have the assurance from the Lord, that we have focused on Him. It is God who is gracing us with His loving touch and approval of our gifts, actions, and positive words.

Prayer

Merciful God,

Thank you for showing me Your grace and love. Like the apostle Paul, I am far from perfect. Help me to resist the world’s call to boast about myself. Instead, let me find my comfort and assurance in Your love, and Your amazing grace. You love me in spite of my sin! For that startling truth, I am forever grateful. May You be with me, as I share Your love, forgiveness, and acceptance with others. I pray this prayer in Jesus’ name. Amen.


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