2 Corinthians 12:8-10
I begged the Lord three times to take this problem away from me. But the Lord said, “My grace is all you need. Only when you are weak can everything be done completely by my power.” So I will gladly boast about my weaknesses. Then Christ’s power can stay in me. Yes, I am glad to have weaknesses if they are for Christ. I am glad to be insulted and have hard times. I am glad when I am persecuted and have problems, because it is when I am weak that I am really strong.
Paul uses the word “glad” four times, referring to circumstances that would make me deeply depressed. Which of us is nuts? Paul was living a life far beyond any practical means of support. Traveling endless miles. Encountering violent foes left, right, above, below, forward and back. He was trying to hold together dozens of little communities of new Jesus followers with only prayer, letters and an occasional visit. He had reached the place where he was a self-declared “fool for Christ” because no sane person would attempt what he was trying to pull off. And that made him glad-glad-glad — because “then Christ’s power can stay in me.” He had no other ‘saviors’ to rely on. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that Jesus faced three temptations in the desert and Paul begs “three times” for his “problem to go away.” Jesus refused to mis-appropriate his messiah-power for food, celebrity or power. Jesus told Paul, “My grace is all you need.” When I put Jesus’ words into practice — as personally difficult and overwhelming as that is — I learn they are actually true. That’s “grace.”
Lord, forgive me for trying to live a ‘grace-plus’ life. I want to depend on you and then a bunch of other resources to get by. May the quality of my obedience to you today show that I really trust you to be all I need. Amen.
~ by Steve Moore