I like the good parts of the bible. The clean, joyful, happy. Who doesn’t like that. But did you ever wonder if we miss out on valuable lessons by just reading the feel good parts? And even if the lesson is happy, but not reading into context we still can miss a lot. Today’s scripture is a perfect example. Let’s begin.
9 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. (NIV)
The term “grace” is used so often, but what is that true meaning, especially when it comes to the gift that God is giving us. I turn to Easton’s Biblical Dictionary for a definition:
(1.) Of form or person (Prov. 1:9; 3:22; Ps. 45:2). (2.) Favour, kindness, friendship (Gen. 6:8; 18:3; 19:19; 2 Tim. 1:9). (3.) God’s forgiving mercy (Rom. 11:6; Eph. 2:5). (4.) The gospel as distinguished from the law (John 1:17; Rom. 6:14; 1 Pet. 5:12). (5.) Gifts freely bestowed by God; as miracles, prophecy, tongues (Rom. 15:15; 1 Cor. 15:10; Eph. 3:8). (6.) Christian virtues (2 Cor. 8:7; 2 Pet. 3:18). (7.) The glory hereafter to be revealed (1 Pet. 1:13).
I love all the scripture references, and you can read them as you need to. I thought it was interesting that the first meaning was “of form or person”. I actually needed to read the scripture to understand it. Number 3 was really what I was looking for, “God’s forgiving mercy” Yes…in trials, especially those that are brought on by ourselves, we need God’s forgiving mercy…His grace…His All-Sufficient Grace!
Let’s look at the full context here. It’s pretty amazing, and although many are probably familiar with verse 9, how many realized the vision behind it. Let’s read verses 1-10.
Paul’s Vision and His Thorn
12 I must go on boasting. Although there is nothing to be gained, I will go on to visions and revelations from the Lord. 2 I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago was caught up to the third heaven. Whether it was in the body or out of the body I do not know—God knows. 3 And I know that this man—whether in the body or apart from the body I do not know, but God knows— 4 was caught up to paradise and heard inexpressible things, things that no one is permitted to tell. 5 I will boast about a man like that, but I will not boast about myself, except about my weaknesses. 6 Even if I should choose to boast, I would not be a fool, because I would be speaking the truth. But I refrain, so no one will think more of me than is warranted by what I do or say, 7 or because of these surpassingly great revelations. Therefore, in order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. 8 Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. 9 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. 10 That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong. (2 Corinthians 12:1-10)
Here is why context is so important. I never realized Paul was describing what the Lord said when he asked if the Lord would simply take away the thorns in his flesh from satan, which torment him. The Lord said no…depend on my grace! Depend on my grace. Worth repeating to remind us that we cannot do it alone. We must trust the Lord that His grace is sufficient and HIS power is made perfect in OUR weakness! We cannot do it without the Lord!
Let me repeat…
We must depend on Him. God isn’t our co-pilot…He IS the pilot!! We need His grace.
It’s important to remember that God will give us everything we need to get through every situation. And in our weakest moment, there is the comfort knowing that God’s power is perfect. So we should not ever be concerned with approaching God at any time. The more we depend on Him, the more His grace blesses our souls.
What an amazing gift God gives to us. We certainly don’t deserve it, but I’m so grateful He gives it to us. Yes, I am weak, but with God grace, His power is perfect, and I am renewed in Him. God’s grace is always there.
Lord, Your gifts to us are beyond anything I can comprehend. And so much so that I take them fore granted. Grace being one of those gifts. But I also don’t always believe in the power You have, and yet I can give You no reason. Why I would rather doubt You than to simple believe You isn’t something I can explain. And yet You still show me such mercy. Thank You, Lord, for caring so much, that giving up on me just isn’t an option. May I always know that You are there for me no matter what I am facing, and that at my weakest, You are at Your strongest! In Jesus’ Name I pray. Amen.