A very good morning to you my precious family in Christ
2 Corinthians 12:9-10 the apostle Paul says, 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.
Paul was a mighty man of prayer, so it was natural for him to plead three times with God. The answer comes, and it is very clear. Whether it was in a vision or some inner conviction of his mind, we do not know, but the answer was clear: “My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness.” If this verse expresses a principle that is true of life, and God knows it is true that His strength is made perfect in our weakness, what do you think He is busy accomplishing with us?
Making us weak, isn't He? And what makes us feel weak? It is being under attack, feeling inadequate to handle the pressures and the problems that we have. If you feel weak, then, it is not only the devil that makes you feel that way, but it is God, too. God makes us feel this weakness to keep us from adopting attitudes that could render us useless in the work of spreading His kingdom. Paul knew that the worst thing he could do was become arrogant about his revelation. It was evidently more important to keep Paul humble than it was to make him comfortable, so God allowed the thorn to go on.
Paul is preaching to the Corinthian people. Like many believers today, the Corinthians had a problem with self-reliance and boasting. To go the extra mile and make a point, Paul is telling the Corinthians he has nothing to boast about except his weakness, because his weakness makes him realize how much he needs to rely on God. He speaks about a thorn in his side that he’s asked God to remove, but God won’t take away the thing that makes him realize his weakness.
Many have speculated as to what this thorn was. A few have suggested Paul had a lisp of some sort that made it difficult to preach, or possibly epilepsy. Either way, because Paul had a number of revelations and visions, that could cause some Christians to be jealous of these epiphanies, his thorn in his side brings him back to earth.
Paul tries to help the Corinthians to do the same, to realize that only God’s grace is sufficient for us, and we should boast in nothing else but God’s grace.
Similar to the Corinthians, we can sometimes get a little puffed up. If we have a certain spiritual gift or a gift in a ministry, say we are strong prayer warriors for instance, we might run the risk of getting prideful about that gift. We could forget from Whom that gift came as James 1:17 reminds us; “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.”
Often, we can receive a thorn in our side to remind us of our weakness and the need to rely on God’s grace. The verse also teaches us to rely on God’s grace. Although He may bring us amazing experiences, such as the visions Paul received, we can’t forget God during the good moments. We have to rely on Him at all times.
We can sometimes misinterpret this verse to say God’s grace will pull us out of the hard time into greener pastures, but we run the risk of preaching false doctrine when we say that. God will not always remove the thorn in our side, but His grace will be all we need, thorn or no thorn.
If we find ourselves relying on ourselves, we need to be reminded of Paul. Even though many Christians talk about Paul’s accomplishments and how he shaped the faith and the history of the church, Paul always points back at God. One of the most famous Christians of all time boasted in his weakness, because he knew he couldn’t take a step without God’s help.
In our own lives, try to find areas where we may be relying on something else apart from God. Even when God gives us a spiritual gift, we can end up worshipping it instead of Him. Find those areas and ask God to help you remove those idols and turn to His grace alone
The marvellous thing about God’s grace is His willingness to extend it to us, broken sinners as we are. Have you ever felt as if you had no value? Remember that you are so precious to God that He gave His Son to redeem you. Who does that? Only God; because washed in Christ’s blood, we are redeemed and justified and are heirs with Him to the kingdom of heaven. God’s grace is sufficient enough to cover all sinners who trust Him.
God never makes unconditional promises. King Herod made an unconditional promise to his stepdaughter Salome, and was compelled to fulfill it, though to do so cost him bitter remorse and forced him to commit a murder and John the Baptist was beheaded. God, being Sovereign so is therefore free to do what He wills to do, does not put Himself at the disposal of His creatures by making promises with no conditions attached. He never gets into a position where He must answer prayer against His will.
These amazing verses shows us we need to rely on God. Only when we cling to the Vine can we see God’s grace abound. God answered Paul’s prayer by granting him grace instead of deliverance, and Paul was well content.
God knows when you experience pain; He can use your weakest moment to display His power. When we turn to Him in our weakness, He will fill us with His strength. Moreover, His strength is much more powerful than our own.
What is your thorn? Rely on God to fill you with strength in your time of trial. His strength is capable of overcoming addiction, filling the ache of loneliness, pushing past discouragement and bringing comfort to soothe your grief.
So my friend, today, as you consider God’s Word, as you believe in our Lord Jesus Christ, your Saviour, your risen Lord, rejoice that you are at peace with God, that you are indeed, a redeemed child of God, and that God’s grace is sufficient for you.
Let us pray
Almighty God and Father, precious Lord and Saviour, despite all of the challenges, all of the worries of this world, Your grace is sufficient. Because of Your love and grace, You sent Your one and only Son to be the atoning sacrifice for our sins. Clothed in His righteousness, we dare to approach Your throne of grace; forgiven and redeemed children of the Most High. Heavenly Father, we cling to that promise of grace and forgiveness and praise Your Holy Name. Lord, thank You for those things in my life that keep me weak and dependent on You. I come to You now and acknowledge my weakness. You are the vine, I am a branch, and apart from You, I can do nothing. Please remind me to cling to you and to remember that Your grace is all I need. In the good times and bad, I need You. Thank you for Your overwhelming grace. Amen.
Much love and blessings to you from Maurice and Margaret