Tuesday, April 6, 2010

God's Grace is Sufficient

By Hayley Boud
2 Corinthians 12:9 (New International Version)
But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me.
2 Corinthians 12:9 (King James Version)
9And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.

This is a very encouraging verse. It can encourage us to pray, encourage us to live, encourage us to work, encourage us to persevere....

In the previous verses it says (verse 7-8) that because Paul was given great revelations from God, God allowed him to be attacked by satan in order to keep him from exalting himself. He says he was given a thorn in his flesh (a messenger from satan) and it must have been difficult for Paul because he entreated God three times that it might depart from him. Entreat is a strong word, it means you are begging and you insist and you are very serious which means that you really, really need to find an answer. Have you ever felt that in your life? Have you ever been in a position where you are begging God to answer you and to intervene. If you have.....God answers you with.....
"My grace is sufficient"

Sometimes that is not easy to hear because we will prefer God to change the situation but God wants us to know that His grace is enough and His grace is all that we need. Even if God doesn’t change the situation, His grace is sufficient for us.

So what is grace? Last time I talked about grace, so who can give a quick summary of grace?

“For it is by grace you have been saved through faith, not of yourselves but a gift from God. Not as a result of works lest any should boast for we are created in Christ Jesus for good works which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.”Eph 2:8-10

Grace as defined by the dictionary is the love and kindness God gives to people. Grace is something we get without deserving it. We don’t deserve God’s love and kindness but because of Grace we receive it. We have to remember this in our lives also. We have to remember that although not every person deserves our love, not every person is kind to us or easy to live with but we must continue to show them love and kindness no matter what and they might come to know God’s grace through our lives.
According to some theologians, God’s grace is “the will of God being fulfilled in our lives”

This means that God has a plan for us. His grace is when that plan or that intention that He has for us is being achieved.

So if I’m sick...it’s God’s grace because through that sickness His plan for me to become more compassionate, to be able to spend more time with Him, to be able to have more time meditating on the Word of God when I take my rests and more time to pray or think of others. Being sick has made me care more about others when I see them sick or with problems which has made me pray more sincerely. This is God’s will for my life...to become a new and better person and so His will is being fulfilled through the sickness which means it’s God’s grace that I have been sick.

Whatever situation I am in....I can praise God and know it’s because of His grace. Also, we can always remember that God’s grace is there for us because we have eyes that see, ears that hear, hands and legs and we are not living on the street eating out of rubbish cans.

So...if you are facing a difficulty...just remember it’s God’s grace because through that He is teaching you something and moulding you into a better person. If you have more than others...just remember it is God’s grace and not because you are better than others. If you have less than others...remember the things you do have and praise God for that (focus more on what you do have) and remember that God’s grace means He will bless you at the right time and He knows what will be a good blessing for your soul. God cares more about your soul than your body because your soul will last for eternity. So He will do everything He can to protect your soul.

Paul is the perfect example of this because God is allowing satan to attack him because God knows if Paul is not given this “thorn in the flesh”, Paul will exalt himself and God doesn’t want Paul to become proud, he wants Paul to remain humble. God is thinking about Paul’s soul above everything else.

So remember God has a plan for your life and everything that He does is done for the good of your soul.

My grace is sufficient”

Remember that the only one that can help us in any situation is God. It’s His grace that will be sufficient for us. We can’t turn to anyone else but God. We can see professionals in this world (e.g doctors) and God can definitely work through them but we have to remember that God is the first one we must turn to because without God, the professionals won’t be able to help us.

“My grace is sufficient

God’s grace is enough. God’s grace is all we need. We don’t need more than that. Whatever temptation I am facing, God’s power is enough to get me out - if I believe it. Whatever problem or difficulty I am facing, God’s grace is enough.

“For My power is made perfect in weakness”

Think about physical power for a few minutes. Think about electricity and its importance. What does electricity do? How hard is it when the power goes off? Just recently the power went off down our street and all our neighbours came out onto the street and for the first time we had a meeting of all the neighbours. Every person was affected by the power.... no T.V, no lights, no cooking, no hot water...it was very hard for every person.

We take power for granted but once it is turned off, we understand how much we need it. We forget that we need power for hot water, for cooking, for the alarm system, for lights to see and once the power is off, we feel scared.

This can teach us about spiritual power from God. We usually take God’s power for granted. We forget that God is holding everything together. Everything would fall apart if God turned His power off . We forget that we need God for our spiritual hot water...He heats up the Word of God and makes it alive for us so we can understand it and be transformed through it. He cooks the Word of God for us. If we were to eat it without the power of the Holy Spirit it would be like trying to eat raw meat (tough, and indigestible) but with God’s power we can eat the Word of God spiritually and be strengthened spiritually by it. He is our alarm system warning us of sin and satan. He is our light, revealing the truth to us and showing us what’s in front of us so we don’t stumble and fall. If God were to remove just a small portion of His power from our lives... we would feel it and it would be scary.

We need God’s power in every aspect of our lives...we need God’s power to help us to understand the Bible, to help us to pray, to help us to share the gospel, to protect us and support us.

“For My power is perfected in weakness”

According to the Greek dictionary, “perfected” means to be “accomplished, completed, finished or fulfilled”.

God’s power is accomplished through us only when we are weak. For example, when I am rostered on to be the worship leader, I always have a physical problem that gets in the way. Usually it is allergies so my nose is blocked and my throat is full of mucus which makes it difficult to sing in tune. Last year in October, I was rostered on to be the worship leader but five days before the service, I cut my lip so badly I had to have stitches both on the inside and the outside of my lip. This was a challenge – how will I sing with a swollen lip that’s stitched together?

Because it was a challenge, I was forced to admit, “I can’t sing without your help God”. This is the same with my allergies. If I didn’t have allergies I might not recognise that I need God’s power. It’s only through realizing how weak I am and I need God’s power that God’s power can be accomplished through me. When we acknowledge we are weak....God’s power can accomplish His will for us (grace = God’s will being fulfilled in our lives).

“For My power is perfected in weakness

God allows us to have weaknesses because these are what draw us near to Him. These are what make us humble (Paul) and God needs humility. He is opposed to the proud and if He opposes the proud, how can He work with the proud. If you want to work with God, you need to be humble.

Sometimes our weaknesses are physical for example sickness. These weaknesses help us because they remind us of our need for God. These weaknesses are also accompanied with God’s grace which is enough to get us through. Through these weaknesses God’s grace is displayed. For example, there was a boy a few years ago on the news who had a serious accident and lost both hands and both feet. While in hospital, he told the news reporters, “I’m praising God because I’m still alive....I could have died.” This is God’s grace on display....on the news! But if there is no grace, then God can’t be glorified. If there is no weakness then there is no need for God’s grace and then God won’t get the glory He likes and deserves. So weakness is necessary.

For example, when I was able to lead the worship just five days after getting stitches in my lip, God’s grace and glory is seen. And I can’t take the glory for myself, I can’t say it’s because I’m such a good singer or because I was so well prepared because I was too affected by the swollen lip to be a good singer or be well prepared. The only person who could be given the glory is God.

Weakness is the vehicle for power. No one is too weak but many are too strong. When we are weak, we are more useful because that is when God can use us efficiently. When we are strong, God might sometimes have to fight with us to get us to go in the right direction and He might have to fight with us for the glory.

There is also spiritual weakness such as spiritual laziness, spiritual tiredness, lack of self-control or joy or love....when we are weak spiritually we have to cry out to God to strengthen us spiritually and this helps us to be humble. If you are not spiritually weak in any area then you are the loser because God’s power is accomplished through weakness therefore it’s better to look for that weakness, admit it and then God’s power may dwell or live in you. But if you want to pretend you are strong spiritually then you will not access God’s power. If you want to be proud, then you won’t receive God’s power.

“Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me”.

According to the Greek dictionary the “power” that is mentioned in this verse is “marvellous works, glorious works, great ability, authority”. When you admit you are weak and admit your need for God and you accept that you are nothing without God’s help....then God’s glorious and marvellous works and abilities and authority will dwell in you.”

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