My grace is sufficient
2 Corinthians 12:8-10 (NIV)
Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. 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. 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.
I think it’s interesting that when we come to Christ we come because God in His loving mercy has revealed to us our hopelessness.
- We can’t pay our sin debt
- We can’t force our way into heaven
- We can’t force our way into the presence of God
- We can’t transform our lives
Only God can.
We come to him in complete surrender.
We have to surrender to the reality that He is our only hope. There’s nothing we can fo in our own strength. And then begin a walk of daily trust that it is only by His grace that we can live a Holy and pleasing life before God.
That’s how we start.
But at some point, we seem to veer off of that path. We gradually go back to the same way of thinking—I can do this in my own strength.
That’s why Paul pleaded with God three times for Him to take away his “thorn in the flesh”. What was that thorn in the flesh? The Bible doesn’t give us the answer. And I believe it does this with the intent that we will apply it to our life—to our “thorn in the flesh”.
If you’ve ever had a thorn stuck in your finger you know that your first reaction is to get it out. Most of the time you can’t do it on your own. You have to get the help of some device like tweezers.
It the same with a spiritual thorn in the flesh. You want it gone. But you can’t get rid of it on your own. You need the help of something or should I say someone else.
So how does God deal with us in those “thorn in the flesh” moments?
Sometimes He removes the thorn, but often He leaves it there.
Paul tells us very clearly.
“Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me”
These thorns have a way of drawing us near to God. They cause us to depend on Him and look to Him with the same hopelessness that we did when we first surrendered our lives to Him.
Paul had a lot to boast about. Probably enough accolades and accomplishments to boast about the rest of His life. But instead, he boasted about his weaknesses because in them in lived through Christ’s power and not his own.
In those “thorn in the flesh” moments, He gives us the grace to surrender our will to His. We receive grace to depend on Him instead of ourselves. Every day we wake up to receive the grace He has for us that day. And we do that tomorrow, the day after, and always.
We are saved by grace through faith and we live every day by grace through faith.