We all have those weeks where we feel completely and utterly defeated over and over again. Where we determine to do right, but we end up failing. That was me last week. So, how does God’s grace affect us in those times? Is it truly sufficient? We will look today at 1 Corinthians 12:7-10 to get our answer.
The apostle Paul had accomplished much in his life for the Kingdom of God. But there was a hindrance in his path. A thorn in his flesh. Now we don’t know the specifics of the “thorn in the flesh” but we do know that Paul asked God to remove it from him. Three times.
God’s response to Paul’s request was this:
“But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness” (2 Corinthians 12:9).
Despite Paul’s pleading with God three times, his request was rejected. But even though God turned away his request, He did not deny the pain and anguish that Paul was experiencing. He did not tell Paul to suck it up. He did not trivialize or downplay what Paul was experiencing.
Instead, He reminded Paul that His grace was sufficient.
According to John MacArthur, sufficiency here in the present tense “reveals the constant availability of divine grace” (MacArthur Bible Commentar, 1650).
God’s reminder through His statement to Paul was this: I am not denying or ignoring your difficulties, struggles, and failures that have accompanied this thorn in the flesh. But the purpose of this thorn is to provide you with a deeper understanding of the sufficiency of my grace. For through this thorn in the flesh, you will learn to cling to Me tighter than ever. You will understand my grace on a deeper level. And through your weakness and struggle, as you live according to the sufficiency of My grace, I will ultimately be glorified.
“Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong” (2 Corinthians 12:9-10).
Paul’s response truly reflected his confidence in the sufficiency of God’s grace. He understood that if God’s grace was sufficienct to uphold him, then he could truly boast in his weakness. And the more that he understood that it was God’s grace upholding him, the more he would seek God to be his all in all. And the more God became his sustainer, the easier the spirit would flow from Paul’s life, giving him the strength and grace to live the life God had called him to live. And ultimately God would be glorified through His inadequacies and weaknesses. Paul recognized this.
How does this pertain to us?
We all, in some shape or fashion have an inadequacy, a temptation, a shortcoming that hinders us to some extent. And we think that if it would just go away, improve, be fixed, THEN we could live fully into following Christ.
But God says to us: I am sufficient. I have equipped you to live for me fully now. And not inspite of your weaknesses but through them, I will use you. And I will get the glory because of it.
I encourage you this week to view your weaknesses through the lense of Christ. That we would not be ashamed, but proclaim boldly “because of my weaknesses, I know the sufficiency of God’s grace.”
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