Power. Weakness. Opposites?
By worldly measures, yes they are. By God’s measure, however, they are both essential parts of the system that delivers the ultimate strength. The apostle Paul had direct experience with this formula. He tells us what God taught him about this in his second letter to the Corinthians.
“And He has said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness . . . ’”–2 Corinthians 12:9a (NASB)
Paul relays a message he received from God in this passage. When Paul asked God to take away a “thorn in his flesh,” God denied his request—because the thorn made Paul weak. Why would God want this for one of His faithful servants? Because it also made Paul powerful.
Grace is the key to being both weak and powerful at the same time. In fact, grace is all that is needed—grace alone is sufficient. Let’s see how grace makes the weakness/power formula work. As you read on, watch for the key elements below.
Grace, Access, Control, Weakness, Power
It all starts with grace. If you look at a Bible dictionary, you’ll see that grace is defined as unmerited benevolence or favor. God offers each of us His grace, which is His benevolence and favor extended to us in spite of our sins (i.e., it is unmerited). He can do this because Christ already paid the penalty for our sins by dying on the cross. When we willfully accept God’s offer of grace, He gives us a new heart in which His Holy Spirit dwells. We then have access to the very power and nature of God, and we don’t even have to go looking for it—it resides in us.
This sets up a conflict between the world—unavoidably mired in sin—and God. In the world, how much control you have determines your power. If you have more control over other people than they have over you, then you have power. If you control more money than others, then you have power. Conversely, if you have given or lost control to others, voluntarily or involuntarily, you are weak. If you control less money than others, then you are weak, and so on.
In God’s system, the more you attempt to control things yourself, the more you close off access to the Spirit’s power. On the other hand, the more you relinquish control to God’s Holy Spirit to guide you, inspire you, and act through you, the more power you have. And this is not just any power. This is the power that created the entire universe, that healed the sick through Jesus’ touch, and that ultimately raised Jesus from the dead! So, the weaker you become in the world’s eyes, the more real power you actually attain.
Most of us would say that yielding control is hard, but we’re just fooling ourselves. We yield control all the time without even realizing it. When we need to get to the fourteenth floor of our office building, we turn control over to an elevator rather than maintaining control and trudging up the stairs. Instead of walking across the country to visit loved ones, we turn control over to a pilot and a jet aircraft. We are actually quite good at giving up control when it is to our benefit. And what could benefit us more than the power of God?
So, is God’s grace sufficient? Yes! Abundantly so! That’s the truth.
When you accept My gift of grace, you will gain access to My power. You will be able to give up control to My Spirit, for I will dwell in you. As you do this, My power will be perfected in you. You will appear weak to the world, but you will have more power than anything in the world. My grace is all you need to make this happen!
That’s the YouTruth. God’s grace is sufficient for you.
© 2009, 2011 Dan Buckhout
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