November 13, 2023
- By Ed Powell
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"Not that we are sufficient of ourselves...to claim anything for ourselves, but our sufficiency comes from God." 2 Corinthians 3:5
One of the struggles we constantly face as believers is trying to live this Christian life in our own strength. Our old nature seems to impress upon our hearts that "we" can do it...why bother God in this thing? We find ourselves wallowing in discouragement, defeat, and disaster because of our individual independence wanting to do it "our" way and in "our" strength.
One of the greatest blessings spiritually is the knowledge that we are "DESTITUTE." You might say, "Well, I never thought of myself as destitute. I've always relied on my God-given ability, gifts, and strength. I'm not destitute." THAT'S THE PROBLEM! Until we, as Paul, realize that if anything is to be accomplished for the Lord, HE MUST DO IT through us...whether it be some form of service, ministry, or, to most of us, living daily.
As long as we are self-sufficient, we need not ask God for anything. God will not impose His will or way on us. This must be our choice. He has given us a "free will" to either obey Him or disobey Him. However, our choice will determine the consequences we will experience. It is true that God has given us ability, gifts, talents, and discernment, but these virtues must be surrendered to His control and authority. Otherwise, we plod through life making our own decisions, doing our thing, and living on the perimeter of all God wants to do in and through us. God wants us to be in the center of His will and be the sufficiency for ALL OF OUR LIFE. Complete dependence on God and obedience to Him will always be the prerequisites for the Spirit of God to manifest His power and sufficiency in us.
Paul sought God three times to remove his "thorn in the flesh." Paul thought if God would remove it, he could minister more effectively and fruitfully. God's answer was, "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 upon me. That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weakness, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then am I strong" (2 Corinthians 12:9-10). Paul's infirmity became the stepping stone to his source of sufficiency--Jesus Christ.
This is a spiritual paradox, but so true. It is only when we recognize our "weakness and independence" that we "learn to lean" and trust God to be our sufficiency. What Paul is saying, characterized his whole life. "Who is sufficient for these things?" Here Paul ascribes all his sufficiency to GOD ALONE! Whatever the occasion, Paul trusted in the sufficiency of God to be his strength and power. All of his virtues were committed without reservation to God, and to His providential work in his life.
Whatever be our duties, whether in our personal walk or in some official capacity, God can strengthen us for them. "HE will perfect His own strength in my weakness" (2 Corinthians 12:9). I will address myself to every encounter in complete dependence on Christ, appropriating what HE has purchased for me and made available to me. Then I will not fail in anything that I undertake:for "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me" (Philippians 4:13). My sufficiency in all things...comes from GOD! In HIM will I confidently trust. Through HIM I will be victorious. HOW GLORIOUS!
© 2007 by Ed Powell. Used by permission.
This page was reprinted by permission from: http://litmin.org/dare.php=1&row=&date=2023-11-13
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