God’s Grace

Posted: February 17, 2012 in Uncategorized

“Three times I besought the Lord about this, that it should leave me; but he said to me ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”  2 Corinthians 12:8

This promise extends to every believer, but its context is one of severe difficulties, distresses, persecutions, and human weakness. Paul pours out his heart amid severe attacks on his character and ministry.  He had given so much to the Corinthians, and some of them were turning on him with a bitter animosity. His enemies had called his integrity into question.  They had questioned his loyalty and leadership abilities.  They had doubted and denied his love for believers.  To top it off, he was given a thorn in the flesh.  This was probably the greatest single barrage of abuse that Paul ever received in his life and apparently leaders within the church were fueling it.

The greatest pain he ever knew came from some of the people he loved the most.  Their rejection, betrayal, criticism, false accusations, and even hatred cut deep into his heart.  That makes Paul’s situation very practical to us, because the same pain that hit him can strike every believer.

Notice Paul doesn’t say, concerning this, “I went to my therapist, read a book, attended a seminar.”  Paul took a route many feel is too simplistic.  He entreated the Lord.  Three times he appealed to God to remove the thorn and three times God said “No”.

Paul was content with God’s answer, “no”  because God said to him, “My grace is sufficient.”  God answered Paul’s prayer by not granting his request, but by supplying sufficient grace for Paul to endure it.  Like Paul we might ask God to remove some thorn of pain or suffering, only to discover that God wants it to remain. Yielding to His will at such time is the cornerstone of Christian living.

This same suffering that reveals ours weaknesses reveal God’s strength.   When we are least effective in our human strength and have only God’s power to sustain us, then we are suitable channels through which his power flows. Paul didn’t love abuse, but he loved the grace and power that God manifested in him.

What a contrast to our society. Many people think that sheltering believers from all difficulties is the highest expression of God’s grace.  Most people are discontent because they wrongly equate satisfaction with positive circumstance and increased possessions.  This is a result of our self-centered, godless society.  Sin is defined how it affects man, not how it dishonors God.  The focus has shifted from God’s glory to man’s benefit. In a nutshell it says “Jesus is your ticket to avoiding all of life’s pain and experiencing all of life’s pleasures.”

God has always used suffering to perfect and purify His people and to demonstrate the sufficiency of His grace.  Christians today are consumed with the trials and troubles of life.  Caught up with difficulties and sorrows and anguish; desperately looking for some great new secret, some higher spiritual level, some more effective relief than they think they have in Christ.  There is no need for that.  God’s grace is sufficient.

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