Have you ever wondered why God doesn’t do something to relieve you of the pressure in your life? If you haven’t, you’re probably brain dead. Even the Apostle Paul got frustrated and complained to God. Bear with me for a moment and set aside for now what you’ve probably been taught. Reevaluate, and then decide your position.
Here’s Pauls whine: “A thorn in the flesh was given to me, a messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure. Concerning this thing I pleaded with the Lord three times that it might depart from me” (2 Corinthians 12:7, 8). Paul was pleading for help. The Lord’s response can help us all.
Jesus told Paul, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness” (2 Corinthians 12:9). What does that mean? How is that helpful? To hear some, it means live with the problem and stop complaining.
But Paul knew what Jesus meant. Jesus was telling Paul that he was relying on his ability to overcome the obsticles of life rather than what Jesus did for him. The grace of God is what God did on the cross for us through His son, Jesus. It’s God’s Riches At Christ’s Expence. Jesus was telling Paul that he needs to tap into the power of God to overcome life’s challenges.
Consider these scritures:
“Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations” (Romans 5:1, 2; emphasis mine). We can stand before God and against the tribulations of life because of His grace.
“For if by one man’s offense death reigned by one, much more those who receive abundance of grace and of the the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ” (Romans 5:17; emphasis mine). God want us to reign in life. How? By his grace. This is what Jesus was telling Paul to do. No one is saying it’s “a bed of roses.” Contrary. But just like a professional fighter, over time wisdom and skill is developed with training and experience (2 Peter 3:18).
Grace isn’t just forgivenesses of sins, but everything God has done for us through Jesus. It’s applicable in this life and in the age to come.
“Reigning in life” isn’t conquering nations or bending other peoples’ wills to ours. “Reigning in life” is overcoming the schemes of the devil, overcoming our personal idiosyncrasies that hinder our going forward, developing wisdom, and having the ability to assist others.
Jesus was instructing Paul to act on the revelation knowledge that he had been given. Paul wrote much of the New Testament. The persecution he was experiencing was to get him to give up, to stop preaching. That should be an eye opener for us.
God wants us to act on the knowledge we have of His word. “Tribulation and persecution arises for the word’s sake” (Mark 4:13–20). Persecution and tribulation doesn’t come because of us, per se, but to steal the word of God from out hearts.
Jesus was holding Paul to a standard: act on what you know. We’re held to the same standard: act on what we know. Jesus can make up for shortcomings, but we are to cooperate with Him by doing our part. God’s help often comes from giving us instruction and following through after we act on those instructions. Is that the only was God will help us? Certainly not! I suppose it won’t be until we’re on the other side of this life that we will know all the times God’s mercy saw us through.
Don’t Give Up
Don’t give up in the middle of the fight. Everyone faces life’s challenges. “My strength is made perfect in weakness” (2 Corinthians 12:9) is another way for Jesus to say, “You have issues that need to be dealt with. Will you let me help, or do you want to do it yourself?”
Maturity and experience only comes with time. Don’t give up on yourself, and don’t give up on God. Growing up spiritually is no easier than growing up physically, but afterward you’ll be glad you stuck with it and learned to trust in His strength. Your fellowship with Him becomes deeper and more mature, your ability to help others increases dramatically, the weaknesses that held you down are defeated, and life is more joyful.
Stay strong and prepared!