Today’s Bible readings are Isaiah 8:1-9:21, 2 Corinthians 12:1-10, Psalm 55:1-23, & Proverbs 23:4-5
2 Corinthians 12:8-10
8 Three different times I begged the Lord to take it away. 9 Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. 10 That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
Paul was a man who experienced God’s mighty power in insane ways. He was used by God to heal the sick, cast out demons, preach to multitudes, receive heavenly revelations, & plant churches all over the known world of the day. Yet, we also see that he endured great hardship & persecution.
6. Spiritual attacks
7. Physical attacks
Yet, in all these things we see Paul walking in victory & great power.
In our text today, we see that there were times when Paul prayed & asked God to remove these obstacles from his ministry. Yet God’s reply was, “My grace is enough.” This is not the answer that we want to hear when we are being pressed by circumstances & opposition, but it is the answer that Paul received.
God told Paul that His power works best in weakness. Why is that? Do we have to be under attack in order to be used of God? Must we experience great struggle in order to see the miraclulous power of God? I don’t know that I can accept that thinking. Does God want us to suffer so that He can show His power in us? Many people would read our text & leave with this type of understanding. I believe there is a more complete answer than that one.
We must understand that what God desires & looks for in us is HUMILITY.
1. Pride causes us to puff up.
2. Pride causes us to lose compassion for people.
3. Pride causes us to think it is all about us.
4. Pride causes us to take credit for it.
5. Pride causes us to forget about God.
6. Pride causes us to move toward self-reliance.
7. Pride causes us to glory in our accomplishments.
8. Pride causes us to operate in our own strength.
9. Pride causes us to exalt ourselves.
10. Pride causes us to be resisted by God.
Struggle usually brings us the opposite.
1. We cry out to God in our struggle.
2. We rely completely on Him.
3. We know it can’t be done by us.
4. We are more compassionate toward other’s struggles because of our own.
5. We can show more patience toward others because we see how patient God has been toward us.
All of these things lead to God multiplying His grace in us. With that being said, it is not struggle & suffering that leads to God’s greater grace; IT IS HUMILITY!!!
James 4:6-7 (KJV)
6 But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble.
7 Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.
Listen to why Paul testified he endured the thorn in his flesh…
2 Corinthians 12:7
7 even though I have received such wonderful revelations from God. So to keep me from becoming proud, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger from Satan to torment me and keep me from becoming proud.
I have come to learn a few things about God from my own experience with Him. I can humble myself or He has a way of humbling me. It is never easy to be humbled. This process usually involves struggle & even humiliation at times. In fact, humiliation & humility come from the same rootword.
If I aim to walk in humility, I find less struggles, “humbly experiences”, along the way. Learn to notice the signs of pride in your life so that you can experience God’s grace in a new way. You don’t necessarily have to suffer in order to have greater grace. You only need greater humility. Lord, help us & teach us to be humble!