Originally published Tuesday, 14 June 2016.
Earlier this week, I talked about the message of the cross being the power of God. (See 1 Corinthians 1:18) Today, I want to dig into what Paul says in 2 Corinthians 12:9…
And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
-I Corinthians 12:9
“That the power of Christ may rest upon me.” I’m excited about those words! I feel stirred in my spirit about that particular sentiment from Paul. It was born out of his affliction, and through it he confirmed something we each need to know: we don’t have to be strong, we don’t have to be perfect, we just have to know that HE is strong and it’s HIS strength that will be made perfect in every weakness we have. It’s not in our power, it’s in the power of Christ that lives in us. (See Romans 8:11) We have the same spirit!
To give some background according to 1 Corinthians 12:9, Paul sought the Lord over his thorn in the flesh. None of us know what that really means. We only know that he was fighting some type of battle, whether physical or emotional, we have no idea. It wasn’t clearly defined. Regardless of whatever the “thorn” Paul spoke of was, he went to God three times in prayer asking Him to remove it. Now, for whatever reason, it wasn’t taken from Paul. However, the Lord gave Paul a word: “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.”
I think we often try to rationalize why we shouldn’t fulfill our ministries and go where God calls us. We think we need to be better, somehow. We don’t think we’re enough. To be honest, it’s only when we try to go without Him that we are not enough. We will always be enough with Him, because He is MORE THAN ENOUGH. We all have physical and emotional hindrances. However, His grace is sufficient. It covers ever imperfection. All glory belongs to Him. Paul realized this and was willing to boast in his infirmities, knowing that God’s grace was enough to cover it all and be the fuel in his ministry.
Now, I know some statements I’m about to make might cause upset or deeper thinking among some of you, but to be honest, I’m okay with that. Paul says in Ephesians 4 that we are to speak truth to our neighbor, so let’s get to it…
I know it’s supposed to be our aim to avoid sin, and, yes, we should. But sometimes we’re going to fall short. Paul says, “ALL have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” (See Romans 3:23) That’s what makes grace so sweet! If you’re sitting there contemplating if you’re ever going to be good enough, let me say this: God isn’t waiting for you to live a perfectly sinless life, He’s waiting for you to live a perfectly redeemed life. His grace is enough.
We must learn what it is to fall in love with Jesus enough to want to rid ourselves from sin, all while accepting grace for when we fall short. Yet, on the flip side of the coin is this: some of us use the gift of His grace as a reason to continually sin. It’s important we discuss this.
In this society, we tend to prostitute the power of His grace because we want to hold tightly to sin, making no changes, yet still feeling we deserve grace. Forgiveness and grace comes through repentance and change. It comes through an obedience to serve him regardless of our circumstances. Ouch, yeah, I know…
In 1 Corinthians 12:9, Paul was speaking of living a life of grace while living fully for Christ alone. He was conveying having the grace and power of God regardless of his thorn in the flesh. He knew he would be able to carry out his mission regardless of his infirmities.
We will never be perfect, or ready, to live out our calling. We will always have some type of “thorn” we are dealing with. Go anyway. Follow Him anyway!
Friend, let the power of Christ rest upon you. His strength will be made perfect in your weakness. Do not be afraid to go where He is leading. And don’t be afraid to examine your heart to see grace in the light of truth. In our own power, made up of our own will, we will never qualify. Here’s the good news: God qualifies us. We can’t do it alone. It has nothing to do with us and everything to do with Him. There is hope!
If you’re carrying a burden holding you back from serving God in the capacity He’s called you, then remember the word God spoke to the apostle Paul: “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfected in weakness.”
Go with God. Let His Spirit rest upon you. When you fall short, repent, accept grace, and move forward. You have the ability to live a redeemed life free to follow where He leads.
What’s written in the Bible is as much for us as it was for the early church. This word is for you! You can do all things because His strength is made perfect in weakness. Your weakness, my weakness, all weakness.
And all the weak ones shouted, “AMEN!”