Archive for June 2nd, 2020

2 Corinthians 12:9

In 2 Corinthians 12:9 we know that Paul’s asked God repeatedly to take away the ‘thorn in his flesh’. And God had a response for Paul.  The answer was not what Paul was necessarily hoping for, or expecting.  But God still had a response.  We often close our ears to God if He responds in a way we were not hoping for, or expecting. Paul hears God loud and clear. The thorn isn’t going away any time soon. “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 of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.”

Instead of removing the thorn from Paul’s life, God had given, and would continue to give, His grace to Paul.  And that grace was more than sufficient to meet Paul’s every need. Paul was intent in his desire to be relieved of this burden (thorn).  But there are two ways of taking away a burden.  It can be done by removing the load, or it can be done by strengthening the one who is bearing the load.  Instead of taking away the thorn, God is clear that He would strengthen Paul as he continued to carry it, and God would show His strength through Paul’s apparent weakness. Walking as a Christ Follower is not about us or how strong or powerful we are. It’s about us letting the power of God carry us.

As humans we really don’t believe God’s grace is sufficient until we believe we in our own strength and efforts are insufficient. It flies in the face of the American way of pulling up our own bootstraps and just trying harder and harder to achieve the things we want to accomplish. That thinking is a huge obstacle to accepting God’s strength. Before we can truly do that, we have to embrace our own inabilities, inadequacies and weaknesses. And until we take ourselves off the throne of our life and admit we can’t do it alone, we will not experience the overwhelming sufficiency of God’s grace that He wants to pour out upon us.

Guzik answers the question of ‘How did God’s grace make the difference?  How did it meet Paul’s need at this point?’

  1. Grace could meet Paul’s need because it expresses God’s acceptance and pleasure in us. Grace means that God likes us, that He is favorably disposed towards us; we have His approval and promise of care.
  2. Grace could meet Paul’s need because it was available all the time. When we come to God by faith, through the blood of Jesus, His grace is ever ready to meet and minister to our insufficiencies.
  3. Grace could meet Paul’s need because it was the very strength of God. Grace is not weak or wimpy. Instead, it is the power of God to fulfill what we lack.

Bottom line is that God’s grace is always sufficient to overcome anything lacking within us. But we have to be willing to admit our need, and then allow God’s grace to fulfill what only He can do through us. Grace is not about us beyond getting out of the way and letting God be God in our lives.

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