Posts Tagged ‘grace is sufficient’

I Am Strong

Biblical Truths often seem backward and contrary to common sense… even crazy. Sometimes this is because they are stated in paradoxical ways, like the parables Jesus taught. Even when these Truths are stated in a straightforward way; they still strike us as odd, because they do not conform to worldly thought patterns we have to negotiate.

Perhaps our greatest challenge as Christians is to understand the Biblical principle of strength being released through weakness… notice the following verses.

“Consider your calling, brethren, that there were not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble; but God has chosen the foolish things of the world to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to shame the things which are strong, and the base things of the world and the despised, God has chosen, the things that are not, that he might nullify the things that are, that no one should boast before God.” (1 Cor 1:26-29)

“(God) has said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.’ Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, that the power of Christ may dwell in me. Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ’s sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong.” (2 Cor 12:9-10)

Worldly wisdom says that power is rooted in natural resources like money, good looks and intellegence. Since these resources are limited, true power is always limited to just the few individuals with access and favor.

God’s wisdom says that true power comes from the Holy Spirit and has no correlation with prestige or riches, that are hinged to natural resources. A persons influence in this world is not some kind of license to heavenly influence. True power; as it relates to the Kingdom of God, is accessible to anyone who depends on God. Jesus was the personification of this principle… anointed as the “Christ” or “Messiah”. He was the Prince of Peace; even without religious ordination or title, yet His power was directly connected to His anointing from heaven. His perfect obedience to the Heavenly Father released His influence in the Earth.

The early Church had great power, not because they had access to money or political influences; but because they were filled with the Holy Spirit! It is dependence on God; through faith, that lays hold of real power. We must believe and place our trust in the Holy Spirit to release power into our lives.

God longs for people He can wear like a glove!

Living His life through us, is how the power of heaven comes into the natural realities we so much want to see change. By the supernatural work of the Holy Spirit, He demonstrates His power, He transforms culture and makes His Kingdom visible in the Earth.

It might just sound a bit strange to boast in weakness, until you begin to participate in the transformation first hand. Then you begin to see how something as simple as prayer, praise or thankfulness, can tear down walls and crush strongholds of fear. Only when we begin to understand spiritual realities; though unseen, are more powerful than the natural, will we become convinced that… ”when I am weak, then I am strong”.

Learning Obedience

“If you endure chastening, God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom a father does not chasten? Now no chastening seems to be joyful for the present, but grievous; nevertheless, afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.”  (Heb. 12:7 & 11)

Jesus as our Example:

  • (Heb 2:10) “For it was fitting for Him, for whom are all things and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons to glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings.”
  • (Heb 5:8-9) “though He was a Son, yet He learned obedience by the things which He suffered. And having been perfected, He became the author of eternal salvation to all who obey Him,”
  • (Heb 4:15) “For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin.”

It is an astonishing thing for most Christians to think of Jesus “being perfected” and “learning obedience”. It seems contrary to our popular idea of Jesus arriving fully formed and spotless like a stainless steel robot that saves the world. That was not the case; however, He came as a human being and human beings learn obedience. So, Jesus learned to obey just like we learn to obey. This seems like a contradiction when Scripture declares Him to be “without sin”. He was the perfect ”Son”, without rebellion and without sin. Throughout His 33 years He “learned obedience” and suffered temptation, rejection, pain in His body and even death on a cruel cross.

The Process of Growth:

At first He learned obedience to His parents Joseph and Mary, whom he lived with until age 30. He was a carpenter’s son and had half brothers and sisters that came and ate together at the same family table. And of course He learned obedience to God. The Jesus we see at age 30 is more mature than the child of 12 we see briefly in Luke’s Gospel (Lk 2:41-52). He had grown up, ”increased in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man”. Notice the growth - intellectually, physically and spiritually. This speaks to His ability to endure temptation and stay on course with His Heavenly Father. Jesus “the man” had learned a level of obedience that Jesus “the child” could never have attained. By the time He reached the cross and had endured the intensity of Gethsemane; He was perfected in obedience and was the sinless Lamb of God, that could be slain for the sins of the world.

One with The Father:

Let me say that suffering at no time implies that Jesus had any moral imperfections. Jesus speaks this incredible testimony if you will, at the moment of His betrayal that “Satan had nothing in Him” (Jn 14:30). Learning through suffering life’s trials had strengthened His character, so that He was more and more obedient. He was more able to follow God through difficult and confusing circumstances. Jesus had the greatest liberty of anyone, yet He used that liberty in only one way – to maintain His ”one-ness” with His Father.

The Orphan Heart:

There are three primary realms of disobedience in the believer: the love of the world, the love of sin, and the love of self. These three loves are by nature inside of us, because of our orphan heart. When sin entered the world man was seperated from the Glory of God and lost his one-ness with the Heavenly Father. Our minds and hearts have become ruled by the god of this age through blindness, unbelief and meeting our own needs (2 Cor 4:4-6). Our greatest struggle is – who will “father” us (Jn. 8:42-47). God deals with these areas of our life as a father deals with children, by means of love, acceptance and chastening. God breaks us free of the orphan heart by training us to respond to nurture, instruction and discipline.

Battle Over the Heart:

These loves that wage war inside us, press us continually to disobey the Lord. The Apostle John calls us to forsake our love of the world in light of our love of the Father:

  • (1 Jn 2:15).  ”Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.”

What we notice is that many find obedience to Christ so difficult and the world so attractive, because of the orphan heart. That is why God chastens us as His Child, in order that we may not be condemned with the world.

  • (Jn. 16:33) “These things I have spoken unto you, that in Me you might have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”
  • (1 Cor. 11:32) “But when we are judged, we are chastened by the Lord, that we may not be condemned with the world.”

Notice how the Lord calls us to Himself, “in Me you might have peace”. In the world we will have tribulation, but in Jesus we are invited into peace. It is human nature to turn away from that which is difficult and to seek ease and superfiscial happiness. By sending discipline and treating us as sons and daughters, God aims to turn our hearts away from the world and teach us how to find rest in His Son. We learn obedience through the things we suffer.

Dealing with Trouble:

We run into trouble in the flesh. There is incompatibility, because we are citizens of Heaven. There is anxiety, because we are ambassadors of another Kingdom, not of this world. There is that boss who is perverse or that co-worker who drives us crazy. Our Garden of Eden is plagued with weeds, mosquitoes, and serpents. Trouble is Designed for Dominion – Not Destruction!

Training for Reigning:

The purpose of trouble is to teach us how to rule. God’s discipline teaches us about obedience to the Father and life in His Glory. Our submission to God’s commands releases the anointing that breaks yokes and drives the love of the world right out of us. This present world is not our home, we must find no rest in it and get rid of any love for it. God’s Word reminds us that in Christ, there is a resource through the guidence of the Holy Spirit (Jn. 16:8-13). We are made able to overcome the world by faith everyday… just as Jesus overcame the world. 

Three Truths:

  1. God is Perfecting Us: “For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory…” (2 Cor. 4:17)
  2. God Promises Grace: “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” (2 Cor. 12:9)
  3. God Loves and Accepts Us: “For whom the Lord loves – He chastens, and scourges every son whom He receives.” (Heb. 12:6)
Archives