“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 beneficial; but I will go on to visions and revelations of the Lord. 2 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. 3 And I know how such a man—whether in the body or apart from the body I do not know, God knows— 4 was caught up into Paradise and heard inexpressible words, which a man is not permitted to speak. 5 In behalf of such a man I will boast; but in my own behalf I will not boast, except regarding my weaknesses. 6 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.
7 Because of the extraordinary greatness of the revelations, for this reason, to keep me from exalting myself, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to torment me—to keep me from exalting myself! 8 Concerning this I pleaded with the Lord three times that it might leave me. 9 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 delight in weaknesses, in insults, in distresses, in persecutions, in difficulties, in behalf of Christ; for when I am weak, then I am strong.
In Acts 9:10-18, after Paul was confronted by the Lord, it says: Now there was a certain disciple at Damascus named Ananias; and to him the Lord said in a vision, “Ananias.” And he said, “Here I am, Lord.” So the Lord said to him, “Arise and go to the street called Straight, and inquire at the house of Judas for one called Saul of Tarsus, for behold, he is praying. And in a vision he has seen a man named Ananias coming in and putting his hand on him, so that he might receive his sight.” Then Ananias answered, “Lord, I have heard from many about this man, how much harm he has done to Your saints in Jerusalem. And here he has authority from the chief priests to bind all who call on Your name.” But the Lord said to him, “Go, for he is a chosen vessel of Mine to bear My name before Gentiles, kings, and the children of Israel. For I will show him how many things he must suffer for My name’s sake.”And Ananias went his way and entered the house; and laying his hands on him he said, “Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus, who appeared to you on the road as you came, has sent me that you may receive your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit.” Immediately there fell from his eyes something like scales, and he received his sight at once; and he arose and was baptized. The Lord said He would show Paul the things he would suffer for His name’s sake. In today’s text, Paul says: Because of the extraordinary greatness of the revelations, for this reason, to keep me from exalting myself, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to torment me—to keep me from exalting myself! Concerning this I pleaded with 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. Therefore I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in distresses, in persecutions, in difficulties, in behalf of Christ; for when I am weak, then I am strong. It is believed that Paul had a problem with his eyes, that his poor vision was the thorn in his flesh. Was that though a messenger of Satan? Or was it a remnant and reminder of His encounter with the Lord? Was it there to remind him of God’s all sufficient grace, even in all that he would suffer for Jesus name?
Paul speaks frequently about the gifts and callings that we have in Christ, that they have been given for the benefit of and service to the body of Christ. It is vital that each person use and walk in the gifts and abilities that they have been given. It is equally important though that we recognize that these are gifts from God and not our strengths. Like Paul, we need to accept that God’s grace is sufficient. His grace is all we need to do what He calls us to do and God’s grace is perfected when we recognize our own weakness. The grace of God poured out on us, also flows out from us, when we depend wholly on Him. In John 14:12-14 Jesus says: “Truly, truly I say to you, the one who believes in Me, the works that I do, he will do also; and greater works than these he will do; because I am going to the Father. And whatever you ask in My name, this I will do, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask Me anything in My name, I will do it.” In Matthew 11:28-29 Jesus says: “Come to Me, all who are weary and burdened, 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.” The rest that we have in Christ is not a rest of idleness. A yoke is an instrument of labor. We find rest for ourselves when we yield fully to the Lord while we labor with Him. We can do the things that He did and greater things, when we trust in His all sufficient grace because in truth, as Jesus says, it is He who will do it.
Paul’s life and his ministry show the result of his acceptance of God’s all sufficient grace. He did the works that Jesus did. In John 5:19 Jesus says: “Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, unless it is something He sees the Father doing; for whatever the Father does, these things the Son also does in the same way.” In truth, that’s all that Paul did, he joined Jesus in the work that He was doing. That too is all we need to do, to rely wholly on God’s all sufficient grace, to be wholly yoked to Christ and join Him in doing the Father’s work.
Heavenly Father, Your grace is sufficient for me. Lord Jesus Christ, I choose to be yoked to You, that I might join You in the work You are doing. Precious Holy Spirit, I yield to You, wholly dependent on You to guide me so that I might see with the eyes of the Spirit, rather than with my own eyes. I will rest in You, as we together, work to answer the prayer that Jesus taught us to pray. May Your kingdom come and Your will be done, in and through my life. Amen.