In the last post ★ Back to the Basics – GOD IS… A SURGEON ★ we discussed that God wants to do heart surgery on His people so that we become more and more like Jesus through the empowerment of the Holy Spirit. Today we are going to see that…
So once the heart surgery is done, now we must walk out the Christian life which is not devoid of hardship, whether it as we all have been going through with the plague that has shut down the world! In the post ★ Thought for the Day – Value in Weakness? ★, I shared that my life verse if from 2 Corinthians 12:9-10 (NLT) which says:
“Each time he said, “My grace is all you need [other translations say “sufficient”]. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”
This passage is powerful but unless you understand the back story, it is difficult to understand how powerful it is. In the preceding verses, Paul talked about being blessed by being “caught up to the third heaven” where God is and “heard so astounding that they cannot be expressed in words, things no human is allowed to tell,” (see 2 Corinthians 12:1-3). Then the Apostle Paul gives the explanation of the significance of my life verse…
“That experience is worth boasting about, but I’m not going to do it. I will boast only about my weaknesses. If I wanted to boast, I would be no fool in doing so, because I would be telling the truth. But I won’t do it, because I don’t want anyone to give me credit beyond what they can see in my life or hear in my message, even though I have received such wonderful revelations from God. So to keep me from becoming proud, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger from Satan to torment me and keep me from becoming proud. Three different times I begged the Lord to take it away.” 2 Corinthians 12:5-8 (NLT)
As a result of being granted this vision, Paul was given a “thorn in the flesh” to prevent pride from welling up inside. It is unclear exactly what that may be, but Galatians 4:12-16 gives some insight to what that “thorn” might have been as he mentioned during his initial visit to the Galatia Paul had a “bodily ailment” in which he told them at the end of verse 15 that:
“I am sure you would have taken out your own eyes and given them to me if it had been possible.”
Three times Paul asked for the “thorn in the flesh” to be removed and yet it was not. God’s answer was…“My grace is all you need.” As believers in Christ I am sure I know what you answer will be to this question, but really think about your answer to this question…
The kneejerk reaction is “yes of course,” but it’s not easy to be afflicted with a physical ailment, financial hardship or ______ (fill in the blank) praying over and over waiting for a change but what happens condition Even though David Guzik had this commentary on 2 Corinthians 12:9…
“God would show His strength through Paul’s apparent weakness. To do this, Paul had to believe that God’s grace is sufficient. We really don’t believe God’s grace is sufficient until we believe we are insufficient. For many of us, especially in American culture, this is a huge obstacle. We are the people who idolize the “self-made man” and want to rely on ourselves. But we can’t receive God’s strength until we know our weakness. We can’t receive the sufficiency of God’s grace until we know our own insufficiency.”
I love that last statement that “We can’t receive the sufficiency of God’s grace until we know our own insufficiency.” Do you receive that? I know that difficult but that is why Paul gave this instruction in Philippians 4:6 (NASB)…
“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God.”
God wants to hear from you. He loves us and though we may not like any other answer but “yes,” BUT we must trust that HE KNOWS what is best for us. In the case of Paul, who arguably is one of the greatest voices for the Christian faith (other than Jesus of course), was told no in order to prevent him from becoming proud.
So in closing the loop, I wanted to swing back to my theme verse, and close with this final thought that if we want to experience this attribute of “Sufficiency,” we must accept God’s Grace and understanding that when we are weak, if we go to the power source, we will receive all that we need because He is strong!
Will you trust in His sufficiency?
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