Chief of Sinners

  • July 17, 2017
  • #9186

As we grow in the Lord, we become more aware of our sin and our need of God’s grace.

Chief of Sinners

The older I am in the Lord, the more I appreciate his grace.

Hi, I’m Joni Eareckson Tada, and it’s because the more I know about Jesus, the more I see my need of a Savior. When I was much younger in the Lord, I found it easy to take shortcuts spiritually. You know, fudging the truth, taking credit when it wasn’t my work, dragging my feet on Bible reading or prayer, or stretching what was morally acceptable with my boyfriend. Way back then, my spiritual sensibilities weren’t as sharp as they are today. But now, my conscience immediately convicts me when the Holy Spirit whispers even a slight suggestion. Like just this morning when Ken was driving me to work, he was reciting Romans chapter 12 out loud in the van and he got to that last verse, “Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” Immediately it hit me that it’s not enough to hate evil; I have to pursue good. Do I do that on a regular basis? Do I seek God's good and the good of others? Or am I quicker to keep a record of other people’s wrongs and how they’ve offended me? A Pharisee is hard on others and easy on himself, but a spiritual man is easy on others and hard on himself. Am I that spiritual man?

It’s like this: As I get older, the Holy Spirit keeps finding more dark closets in my heart that I did not even know existed! I’m a little like the apostle Paul who, at first, when he was young—young in the Lord—he wrote in First Corinthians chapter 15, “I am the least of all the apostles.” Like, okay, I'm the least of these twelve great men, but everybody else? Well, spiritually, I think I'm a little ahead of them. But, then when Paul got older in the Lord, he says in Ephesians chapter 3, “I am the least of all the Lord’s people.” Ah, now that is singing a different tune. And then finally, near the end of his life, Paul writes in First Timothy Chapter 1 that he is the chief of all sinners. Isn’t that something? First, he considers himself the least of the apostles, then the least of God's people, then finally, he inasmuch says, “I am not only least of all, I am the chief of all, the chief of all sinners. I am so in need of grace!” As Paul grew in Christ, his awareness of his own sin also grew. But you know what? So did his love for Jesus and his appreciation for God’s amazing grace. And that should be the same with me, and with you, too. As we draw closer to Jesus, our knowledge and awareness of how sinful we are should also grow, but so does our awareness of God's grace. And with that, our love for Jesus cannot help but grow.

Major Ian Thomas of the Torchbearers once said, "The moment you come to realize that only God can make a man godly, you are left with no option but to find God, and to know God, and to let God be God in and through you." I love that. To grow in Christ is to spend time with Him; enjoy Him; speak to Him, and let Him speak to you through His Word. Confess your shortcomings to Him; commune with Him about the simplest of decisions; seek Him when you’re lonely; sing to Him worship songs and hymns, and invite Him into the ordinary and even mundane tasks of your day. If you want to be godly, find God; know God, and let Him be God in and through you.

And if you need help with this, let us pray for you at Joni and Friends. Every morning our staff meets for prayer, and we would love to lift up your needs before the Lord. Just tell us all about it at

© Joni and Friends


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