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Be what you are

February 13, 2010
By The Rev. Harold A. Langevin Jr. , Senior Pastor of the Ellamore Charge of the United Methodist Church

I can remember watching Saturday morning cartoons as a child growing up especially with the weather being what it has been lately. One cartoon in particular I remember watching was Popeye, the Sailor Man. Popeye would always say one line that would define just who he was. He would say, "I am what I am and I can't say no more."

I wonder if any of us should ever be satisfied with what Popeye's apparent philosophy was. Are you one who says I am who I am when your only defense in life is to display the attitude of Popeye's nemesis who was called Brutus.

In the Apostle Paul's letter to the Corinthian church, he gives the Corinthians the hope of renewal and life beyond the temporary and material life we are experiencing now. Paul writes about the transformative power of God and an affirmation that such power is never in vain. 1 Corinthians 15:10 says, "by the grace of God I am what I am." Here Paul attributes his station in life to be "by the grace of God."

I suspect that any of us would have a hard time saying with any conviction that we are who we are because of God's grace. We would be more willing to attribute who we are because of our intelligence, physical attributes, our gifts and strengths to the wise decisions we made about schooling or training and our achievements in life to our own hard work.

In fact, we may rarely ever consider giving God the credit for the complexity and wholeness of our very being. Paul talks of just how dependent our physical body is upon the individual parts such as the hands, eyes and ears to name a few in Chapter 12 of 1 Corinthians. What is it that makes you complete and whole?

To help you answer the previous question, Paul says we are to ground ourselves in being obedient to the will of God. We are to be faithful to God and profess God's incarnation and believe in the resurrection God offers. We are to be liberated from the prejudices and hatreds we harbor, to be rid of the anger, greed, lust and violence that fills our being. We are to be people strong in generosity and compassion for others. We need to be reflective of a God who encourages purity, love, holiness and mercy. When we are willing to live so that God's grace in us has not been in vain, then we will be blessed more than we could ever imagine.

What a challenge to be a child of God. What an awesome responsibility to live in God's grace. All one has to do is totally and completely let Jesus Christ come into your heart to help you grow in the Christian faith. Today can be the first day of the rest of you life living in the grace of God. Just ask Jesus to come into your heart. I'll pray for you and, hopefully, I'll see you in church.

(The opinions of this article are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Inter-Mountain, the Randolph County Ministerial Association or the author's church affiliation.)



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