Tuesday, May 20, 2014

My grace is sufficient for you

The Lord allowed the Apostle Paul to visit heaven and to return back to the earth to talk about it.  The experience was supernatural and amazing.  Satan assigned one of his messengers to constantly attack Paul.  Paul asked the Lord to take the messenger away, but instead of removing the source of pain, God said, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness."  Which led the Apostle to say, "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." (2 Corinthians 12:9,10 NIV).

So what does this mean to you today?  A few things.

1.  Paul acknowledged that he was not worthy of making the trip to heaven.  Paul told about his trip to heaven, not so he could boast in his abilities, but so that he could boast in God's grace.  The fact that Paul took no credit for the trip is actually one of the reasons why the Lord allowed him to make the trip in the first place.  God wants to know that you can handle the blessing.  Some people can't.  Some people ask for God to bless them with this or that, but God can't, because He knows that the blessing (whatever "it" is) would cause them to cross over into pride and self-righteousness.  God wants to bless you richly, but you must get to the point where you are humble enough to receive it without pridefully thinking you did it on your own.  So let me ask the question this way: Can you stand to be blessed?  Can God bless you richly and you still rely on Him?  God will not bless you until He knows He can trust you with the blessing.  

2.  Paul acknowledged that he did not have the power to deal with the messenger from satan.  After Paul's trip to heaven a messenger of satan was assigned to trouble him.  In his own strength Paul had no power over this satanic messenger, but that was actually Paul's true strength.  He did not claim to be able to handle the satanic messenger on his own.  He called out to God and God gave him the grace to overcome the satanic attacks and to keep going.  God will release His power in your life when you acknowledge the fact that your power is not enough.

3.  Paul acknowledged that he was not worthy of his assignment.  Paul had a great assignment and he was able to complete it, because he never fooled himself into thinking he was worthy of it, or that he could accomplish it without God's grace.  Do you want to maximize your purpose and potential in life?  To do so you must maintain a proper perspective of yourself and your abilities.  If you think too highly of yourself, you will be humbled by God.  But you cannot think too lowly either.  Simply acknowledge your limitations and rely on God's grace to equip, enable, empower and employ you in the Kingdom of God.

4.  Paul's strength was found in his weakness and his reliance on the Father.  The Apostle said, "Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me."  If you want God's power to rest on you, and to flow through you freely, you must die to self.  It is only when you acknowledge your limitations and you rely on God's strength, that His power will be made available and manifest in your life, because when you get to that point you will be relying on God's grace.   

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