What do we know about God’s grace? We always hear that it’s sufficient. What does that mean. I don’t want sufficient grace. I want abounding grace but let’s start with baby steps…This week’s scripture is:
The things God showed me were so great. But to keep me from being too full of pride because of seeing these things, I have been given trouble in my body. It was sent from Satan to hurt me. It keeps me from being proud. I asked the Lord three times to take it away from me. He answered me, “I am all you need. I give you My loving-favor. My power works best in weak people.” I am happy to be weak and have troubles so I can have Christ’s power in me. -2 Corinthians 12:7-9
Bruh, this is by far what myself and people I know struggle with most! We know we need grace and we know we need a lot of it and we know that because we’ve believed that enough isn’t enough and we believe that grace frees us from responsibility. We think that if you struggle, grace isn’t there or we’ve done something wrong or too much of something wrong because “you get what you give.” At least that’s what we were taught. Who started telling us that lie? For the record, grace is free, unmerited, unearned favor.
As you read the above scripture, the title isn’t logical. He became weak for God’s power but grace came in when he trusted and obeyed despite his wish not being granted. The grace was that he even heard from God. I often listen to Steve Harvey’s morning show and last week during his closing remarks he said something that sparked my interest. He said:
We expect the journey to be successful. That’s not the way to go about it. The journey is gonna be challenging. The journey is gonna have setbacks. The journey is gonna have disappointments. The goal is to become successful but please don’t expect the journey to be successful…there are three things you must master on the journey: adversity, rejection and sacrifice. (Finish listening to all of what he had to say here.)
Now, in the scripture it states that God gave the vision but there was potential to get prideful simply due to the vision. Isn’t that something? Who thinks that they would have to deal with pride then? I can see someone being prideful once they achieved their goals but to have to resist pride from catching or seeing the vision is interesting to me. So in order to avoid the pride, pain had to happen? Is it me or is this opposite day? When did you get the memo that pride=pain? I get pride comes before the fall and the pain of the fall but to choose pain to avoid pride? Never heard of such but what I will say is feeling pain will most definitely cause you to change your focus. Everything stops when your body is in distress.
What interesting to me is that this pain was from satan. That part reminded me of Job; when God allowed satan to torment him. The torment didn’t come from God, it came from satan but God allowed it. I think it’s really important to point that out. So why did God allow it? He allowed it because He was bragging on Job but in this case it was to keep him from being proud. So that scripture, “Everything works for my good (Romans 8:28)” is true.
Despite Paul knowing why the pain needed to be there, he still asked God to take it from him. Pride is more comfortable, I suppose. Then God answered, “I am all you need. I give you My loving-favor. My power works best in weak people.” So it looks like Paul was willingly weakened (remember he could’ve chose pride and comfort) so that God’s power could work best and God used Satan to do it.
I assumed that it was God who answered but I imagine that it could’ve been both satan and God that said it, perhaps even at the same time. Satan was there and pride was available. Really think about that. Both of their power works best when we are weak. Our outcomes ultimately depend on who we yield to.
Paul wrote 2 Corinthians. According to scripture, Paul, himself, was a brilliant man which shows that he could make informed decisions. As you can see, he’s one of the most “woke” people of all time. The average joe wouldn’t have known why the physical setback was happening. They would’ve easily contributed it their lifestyle. Let’s be real and look at it practically. When I experience pain, I’m not that self aware to be able to accurately associate it with something spiritual that might be happening behind the scenes but I should. Not just mine but most people’s first thought would not have been “God’s doing this by His grace and mercy to keep me from being prideful.” But he knew exactly what was going on and despite knowing, still asked 3 whole times to stop the pain. He then submitted properly and accepted everything that came along with the process to be endowed with Christ’s power to achieve the vision.
Because the average joe isn’t that in tune, we, the average joes, need to hang on this quote. Meditate on it because when we are going through those unsuccessful paths to get to success, we need to hear God saying “I am all you need. I give you My loving-favor. My power works best in weak people.” so that we will keep going. If we can somehow, meditate on that, success is sure to come. When I find that I’m weak, I’m pretty sure that I wouldn’t remember to turn to 2 Corinthians 12:7-9 but I know for sure that I can remember that His strength is made perfect in my weakness. Jesus didn’t come to earth and die for those who had everything figured out. He came for those who were sick and needed a doctor. He came to those who needed hope. He came to those who were in bondage and needed freedom. He saved those who needed a savior.
That’s why Paul is so revolutionary; not because he had 2 advanced academic degrees, spoke several languages and was among the youngest Pharisee, or a lawyer or because his zeal inspired him to attempt to exterminate the Jews…by himself. Nope, none of that. What made him so revolutionary was because God chose him. His conversion was a miracle. For everyone who knew him and the reputation he created for himself, if God could speak to his heart, He could get through to anyone. Once converted, that same zeal he had for persecution, he had to spread the gospel. Imagine what he went through, the disdain his colleagues must have had for him, disowned and abandoned by those closest, disbarred, broke and broken. Imagine the side eyes he must have got. Oh, and did I mention he ended up blind? This wasn’t a bandwagon type of a guy, he studied, he knew the scriptures, he was convinced that what he was doing was right until…he experienced truth on that Damasus road and realized that even though he had his sight he was blind, so God made him physically blind due to the condition of his heart. He knew facts but that was the first time he ever experienced truth and when the conversion happened, vision restored.
My point is up until that time, Paul’s life was successful or so he thought…but he never knew true success. God gave him a vision in 2 Corinthians and he could’ve chose pride again but he chose to submit to the process because he had truth to hold on to. He had a vision given by the Visionary and a promise to go along with it. What I appreciate most about it was that he weighed it his options. He didn’t go with what was most comfortable. He made a decision that he was going to happily be weak to not only give up his power and status but to also be rejected by people who once respected him and sacrifice his very life for vision and to have Christ’s power residing in him.
It’s amazing that so many years later, each of us still have to ask ourselves the same questions Paul had to. The difference is that Paul wasn’t saved and we are. (If you aren’t and desire to be, hit me up) So why aren’t we choosing what Paul chose joyfully and willingly? I think it’s because we don’t believe in the power residing in us. So many people are looking for motivation. Well here it is. The vision should motivate you and the promise should motivate you and we should be happy to endure because we already know that the journey will be paved with adversity, rejection and sacrifice. So when we see it we should rejoice that we are on the right path and that we are equipped with God’s power to make that vision a goal we’ve accomplished. Too often we are so caught up in our emotions that these “disasters” are signs that things are going according to plan. So stick to it God’s grace is sufficient!