My Grace Is Sufficient - Part I
“And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.”
—II CORINTHIANS 12:9
There is one thing that I try to convey to my congregation, whether at Crossfire or Family Worship Center, and that is that we as Christians are not exempt from life’s difficulties. Unlike the methods presented by the world, practical Christianity is designed by God the Holy Spirit to face our problems head-on. It’s not on the mountaintop where we grow as Christians but rather in the crucible of faith. I wish that were not the case, but it is during this time—in the crucible—where we find out who God really is and who we really are. We must prepare ourselves even now to face these issues because many will come when we least expect them. Please remember that these difficulties are not liabilities; they are, however, key to our Christian experience.
To prove our point, let’s take a look at the apostle Paul. Here is a man who is the very epitome of Christianity, who is, quite possibly, the greatest example of Christianity that Christ would ever produce. And yet, we find the apostle dealing with an issue that is causing him some serious problems. What these problems were we really have no way of knowing; they could have been that which he described in the previous chapter, but that is just conjecture at this point. Whatever the issue, it was difficult and it seemed as if the enemy was trying to kill him. But in the midst of this trial, Paul made a statement that we might find odd: “Yet of myself I will not glory, but in mine infirmities” (II Cor. 12:5). Why would Paul make a statement like this? Why would he say that he would glory in his infirmities?
I believe the answer is simple: The reason why Paul would rather glory in his infirmities is so that pride would not creep in and cause even more problems in his life. Take a look at this: here is a man who, according to his own words, was taken up into the third heaven (the first heaven is the sky above, the second heaven is the starry space, and the third heaven is the place where God dwells), and was possibly given at that time the meaning of the new covenant, which is the message of the cross. Paul said that he saw and heard things that mortal eyes could not comprehend, nor would mortal ears be able to fully understand what had been given. This could have been, and no doubt was, one of the most remarkable things ever witnessed and could cause one to be lifted up in pride. So Paul would state that he would much rather glory in his infirmities than in what he had received.
The idea is this: if this man, the apostle Paul, was in danger of spiritual pride, then all of us are at risk of the same thing. Pride was the cause of Lucifer’s fall and the crowning sin of man. Pride is nothing more than self-exaltation—a belief that all accomplishments one experiences in life result from his own doing. In the case of Christians, self-righteousness is an arrogance that something has happened to them and to no one else. Paul feared that self-righteousness would creep in, which made him state that he would rather glory in his infirmities. He did not want to be puffed up, which would cause people to look to him rather than Christ.
There is a danger in people placing others on pedestals, and I strongly encourage anyone who is reading this to never put a person on a pedestal. There is only one person who belongs on any pedestal, and that is Christ. I pray that you love, respect, and appreciate my ministry, but do not place me or any other minister in a position of the be-all and end-all. We are not to be looked at as celebrities or famous people just because we are on television all over the world. We have been given a platform to declare the message of Jesus Christ and Him crucified to the world, but we are not above anyone else. We are not without our faults and struggles; we are human just like you, and we bleed the same as you. We hurt the same way you hurt. We all have fallen short of the glory of God, and will continue to do so while on this earth. However, there is one who deserves to be on that pedestal—He who is without fault and suffered as no man has suffered as our representative man and the Last Adam—Jesus Christ. He alone is worthy of man’s adulation and praise because He has overcome the world, the flesh, and the devil. He is the perfect one, the magnificent and mighty warrior, and the Saviour of all mankind. Jesus Christ is the most influential person who has ever lived and has impacted more lives than anyone else. He is the Deliverer, the Healer, the Restorer of souls, the Redeemer, the Baptizer, the Blesser, and the soon coming King. None should point to any other person outside of Christ, for He is the answer to all of life’s problems. We should point people to Him and Him Alone, for He can and will meet their needs.
Whatever his problems were, Paul related to them as being a thorn in his flesh, something that would not go away. But these things, whatever they might have been, were allowed by God to keep him humble. It is no different with us. At times, God allows or orchestrates certain things to take place as a preventative measure to keep us on our knees before Him and continually seek His face in all things. And like Paul, God may not take those things away from us no matter how much we ask Him to. Remember, Paul prayed on three separate occasions for God to remove this thorn, but God would not.
There are some of you who have sought God on many occasions to remove certain things from your life, but the Lord has not seen fit to do so, and you are beginning to wonder why. If you are feeling like the Lord has not heard your prayer, or that your prayers are going unanswered, the Lord might be allowing that situation to keep you humble and to keep you seeking Him. The answer that God gave Paul was a simple, but firm “No.” He was not going to remove it just yet, for God was more concerned with Paul than He was Paul’s ministry. It is no different today. God is more concerned with you than your ministry. If you are right, then your ministry will be right. Everything that we go through in life has been designed for a purpose and a reason and will serve as lessons from which we can learn.
This article will be continued in the next issue of The Evangelist.
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