His Grace Is Enough
God’s grace is enough. It is His gracious favor that He gives to me – not based on merit, but on His love for me. Grace is God giving me what I could never earn any other way. In this case, Paul is talking about the power He gives me in spite of my weakness. This isn’t just any old power, it is His power in me. It is the power of God available in my weak human flesh. I love this definition of grace:
“It is the merciful kindness by which God, exerting his holy influence upon souls, turns them to Christ, keeps, strengthens, increases them in Christian faith, knowledge, affection, and kindles them to the exercise of the Christian virtue.”
Paul is talking about the strengthening part of God’s grace. He knew his strength came from God, not himself. That is why he could say, “I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may work through me” (NLT). Paul knew that the key to tapping into God’s strength was admitting his own weakness. But that’s hard for some of us to do. We want to think of ourselves as strong, intelligent, capable, qualified, gifted, talented, and worthy to be honored and praised. And so we spend way too much time trying to convince others of our strengths. We try to live life in our own power. We work harder. We do more. We strive to impress. We crave recognition and desire to be noticed for all our hard work and effort. But all the while God is simply asking us to admit our weakness so that He can provide us with His strength. The word used for God’s power in this verse is the Greek word dunamis. Sound familiar? It is the word from which we get dynamite, dynamic, and dynamo. This isn’t just some kind of 5-hour energy drink that gives us a boost to make it through the day. This is the indwelling power of God that makes it possible to do incredible feats of spiritual strength that would be otherwise impossible for us. Think about all the things Paul endured. He gives us a partial list in verse 10: “Since I know it is all for Christ’s good, I am quite content with my weaknesses and with insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities” (NLT). How did Paul handle all that he went through? By the power of God. That is why he says he is content or “takes pleasure” in his weakness. Listen to how The Message paraphrases verse 10:
“Now I take limitations in stride, and with good cheer, these limitations that cut me down to size–abuse, accidents, opposition, bad breaks. I just let Christ take over! And so the weaker I get, the stronger I become.”
He just let Christ take over. He allowed Christ to do what only Christ could do. You see, our strength is God’s rival. But our weakness is His servant. To put it another way, man’s extremity is God’s opportunity. Man’s security is Satan’s opportunity. Our weaknesses are really a blessing. But we need to acknowledge them, even boast about them. Then ask God to step into them and do what only He can do. Utilize His power in us and through us. So He gets all the glory.
Father, forgive me for trying to ignore my weaknesses and for thinking that I have enough strength in and of myself to accomplish Your work. How arrogant and prideful I can be. But You faithfully continue to reveal to me my abundant weaknesses – through my own failures, through circumstances, by allowing me to come to an end of my resources and by letting me grow tired and weak from all my own self-effort. But You have also shown me Your power – time and time again. Your way is always better. Your power is always greater. Help me to boast about my own weaknesses even more, so that I can experience Your power even more. Amen
Grow Pastor & Minister to Men