Sep. 11, 2020

“My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.”

2 Corinthians 12:1-10 from the daily reading in the One Year Bible

Boasting is necessary, though it is not profitable; but I will go on to visions and revelations of the Lord. I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago—whether in the body I do not know, or out of the body I do not know, God knows—such a man was caught up to the third heaven. And I know how such a man—whether in the body or apart from the body I do not know, God knows— was caught up into Paradise and heard inexpressible words, which a man is not permitted to speak. On behalf of such a man I will boast; but on my own behalf I will not boast, except in regard to my weaknesses. For if I do wish to boast I will not be foolish, for I will be speaking the truth; but I refrain from this, so that no one will credit me with more than he sees in me or hears from me.

Because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, for this reason, to keep me from exalting myself, there was given me a thorn in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to torment me—to keep me from exalting myself! Concerning this I implored the Lord three times that it might leave me. And He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. 10 Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ’s sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong.

In John 10:10 Jesus says:  I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.”  We have seen though that the abundance of Christ is not necessarily and abundance of wealth or material things. Rather, it is an abundance of peace and joy; it is an abundance of contentment; an abundance of love. The abundance of Christ is an abundance of God’s grace on our lives.  In Psalm 23:5-6 the psalmist says:  You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You have anointed my head with oil;
My cup overflows. Surely goodness and lovingkindness will follow me all the days of my life, And I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.
  The abundance of Christ is the overflowing goodness of God; His presence, protection and provision in every circumstance. It flows both in our lives and from our lives. Hebrews 4:16 says: Let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.  

In today’s text Paul writes: There was given me a thorn in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to torment me—to keep me from exalting myself!  Concerning this I implored the Lord three times that it might leave me.  And He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.”  We can perhaps understand the sufficient grace of God, but it is difficult to understand that power could be perfected in weakness. Consider though David, when he defeated Goliath. In 1 Samuel 17:45-47 David says:  “You come to me with a sword, a spear, and a javelin, but I come to you in the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have taunted.  This day the Lord will deliver you up into my hands, and I will strike you down and remove your head from you. And I will give the dead bodies of the army of the Philistines this day to the birds of the sky and the wild beasts of the earth, that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel,  and that all this assembly may know that the Lord does not deliver by sword or by spear; for the battle is the Lord’s and He will give you into our hands.”   Consider the account of Gideon in Judges 7. He gathered an army of 32000 to face the huge Midianite army that numbered 135,000, but God chose only 300 to fight and win the battle. Consider Christ Himself and the cross. Jesus left His place of power and authority to come in weakness as a man. His power was perfected in weakness. It was through His sacrifice, as the Lamb of God, that He overcame sin and death. It was because He became weak that we can be strong in Him.

God doesn’t choose us for our strength. He gives us strength when we are weak. In Matthew 11:28-30 Jesus says:  “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.  Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”   When we work in our own strength, we will grow weary. The burdens of this life are too much for us to bear. When we are weak, He is strong. If we will submit and yield to Jesus, He will bear the weight of every burden we face. His grace is sufficient; it is abundant and overflowing. In John 16:33 Jesus says: In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.”  Jesus is the Lamb of God and the Lion of Judah. He is the suffering servant and the King of Kings. In truth the cross did not reveal His weakness, it was the perfection of His power.

Heavenly Father, Lord Jesus Christ; precious Holy Spirit, thank You for Your sufficient, abundant, overflowing grace. Thank You that when I am weak, You are strong. As I yield to You, may Your strength be perfected in my weakness and may Your grace overflow from my life that Your power might be revealed to others.  Amen.