2 Corinthians 12:8-10 (NLT)
Three different times I begged the Lord to take it away. 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. 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.
Grace is for the weak. It is for those who are completely powerless. God can reach me and draw me closest in my time of need because it is when I am most willing to relinquish control of my life. In fact, I find the more uncertain life has become around me the more confident hope is established with in me. It is all about grace. Grace is defined as the free and unmerited Favor of God toward mankind. It is the divine assistance and power given to man in spiritual rebirth and sanctification. Sanctification is the process by which the transformation to holiness. It is to be free from sin. It means to sanction which is acceptance of the Covenant that God has offered us. To make productive of or conducive to spiritual blessing. Nothing in the definition of grace or sanctification has anything to do with our personal or natural ability but the full responsibility of God. All we do is accept it. To do so requires total humility as we can do nothing to ever earn or repay God or Jesus Christ for what they have offered us as human beings. We are completely powerless in this position. Unmerited is the same as undeserving. We can do nothing to ever earn or be worthy of God’s Grace which is also translated as “God’s Riches at Christ’s Expense.” No if we read today’s passage, it makes a little more sense. “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” Until we are willing to relinquish all power in our life, we will never experience the full favor of grace because we can do nothing to earn it. So maybe if we stopped beating ourselves up, as well as each other, for our failures and look up the definition of grace then we could begin to exercise its power in our life.
It would seem preposterous to “take pleasure” in personal weakness. Who would ever consider insults, hardships, persecutions and troubles likeable? Those who discover that “when I am weak, then I am strong” will. I have probably recited these verses more than any other scripture over the last two years. I think my heart and mind have been searching for something anything to hang on and get through this grueling journey. At one point, I thought I had lost my mind. People will say “you are so strong” and I am quick to tell them without Jesus I would never have made it and really believe these words in my heart and soul. They are not an expression of humility while my mind basks in the pride of affirmation from people. No my mind tells me just how close to the edge of discouragement, disaster and total devastation that I have come. My heart quivers and quakes at the number of times it has been broken. I have asked the Lord to remove this beast called cancer not one time, two times, three times but four times. I am so thankful to say that He answered my cry and has done so every time. However, there have still been hardships and troubles along the way. More and more opportunities for God to exercise His Favor given by His Grace in my life. But the price of grace is quite high. For God, He had to turn His Back on His Beloved Son. For Jesus, He had to give His Life – all of it. For me, I must sacrifice my pride and personal power to allow His Power to permeate my life. I have come to understand that I would never have known God’s Grace like I do now had I not struggled in my own strength and realized that I must be powerless to fully experience God’s Power in my life.
Acts 20:21-24 (NLT)
I have had one message for Jews and Greeks alike—the necessity of repenting from sin and turning to God, and of having faith in our Lord Jesus. And now I am bound by the Spirit to go to Jerusalem. I don’t know what awaits me, except that the Holy Spirit tells me in city after city that jail and suffering lie ahead. But my life is worth nothing to me unless I use it for finishing the work assigned me by the Lord Jesus—the work of telling others the Good News about the wonderful grace of God.
There is only one message. I must repent from my sin. I must turn to God. I must have faith in Jesus Christ. We have complicated the Call of Christ so much that many churches have forgotten what this life is all about. Once we have accomplished these three steps, we are bound by the Spirit of God in covenant with Him. Now we rely on the Holy Spirit to lead and guide our lives so others will repent from sin, turn to God and have faith in Jesus Christ. This is grace in action as we share with others what Christ has done for us, God’s Grace begins to spread and His Glory will cover the earth. The compromised bride struggles in her fidelity seeking the attention and affirmation of the world so much that she has forgot her marriage to Jesus Christ. Personal power has overtaken the House of God once more as pride rears its ugly head and religion runs rampant. Why would Paul travel from city to city knowing that only more imprisonment and suffering lie ahead? Who would do that? The prisons that he encountered were not full of the modern conveniences that we line our cells with today. There was no controlled heating and air. No bunk bed or cot. There was no running water or facilities to use. There was not sanitation just shackles and filth. The guards had no ethics as they brutally tortured inmates to the point of death. Yet Paul who left the comfort of earthly power and influence chose willingly to be led by the Spirit from place to place saying the same thing over and over. “Repent from sin, turn to God and have faith in Jesus Christ!” Paul had discovered the true potential of God’s Grace for those who are willing to become powerless to have it.
Ephesians 2:8-10 (NLT)
God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it. For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.
Grace is what allows God’s Masterpiece and Plan to seamlessly mesh together. To be a good soldier, a person’s pride and willfulness must be completely broken hence they attend the “luxury vacation” called boot camp. They must be humbled to become part of something much greater than themselves and become a force to be reckoned with. To be a unit strong and secure requires surrender of person motives and agendas to fully accept and carry out the commander’s orders. We are called to be good soldiers of Jesus Christ. (2 Timothy 2:3) It requires that we are broken to sin and darkness which often requires hardship in the natural to bring us to our knees to identify this need. The greatest spiritual blessing of God is His Grace. It is the life-saving, life-changing Power of Christ coming to rest in our life to the Glory of God. “God the Father knew you and chose you long ago, and his Spirit has made you holy. As a result, you have obeyed him and have been cleansed by the blood of Jesus Christ. May God give you more and more grace and peace.” (I Peter 1:2) God knew you and chose you long ago. He developed a complete and perfect plan for your life that is yours simply if you ask for it. He instantly will save you by grace when you believe. We have no problem asking for salvation but it seems that there is quite a bit of confusion about accepting this gift. To have the Grace of God in our life requires total surrender of our mind, body and soul to the Commission of Christ which is simple repent from sin, turn to God, and live what you believe. You can clean your life up but your heart is untouched unless covered by the Blood of Jesus Christ which is the remission of sin. You cannot have salvation, consecration, holiness or righteousness without the Blood of Jesus that gives us access to His Grace. You cannot enter His Presence in your own power but must come boldly in weakness to attain His Grace and Peace. (Hebrews 4:15-16) Weakness is impressive to God because it means you no longer are trying to make it to Him your way but have chosen to fully accept His Way. There is someone who will read this today that will be set free from the need to act like a Christian and truly believe in the Love of Jesus Christ and find freedom in weakness. You will be the one who comes boldly no longer ashamed of personal ability to live completely and fully in the Presence of God by finally surrendering all that you are to all that HE is! Two years ago in a cold bathroom on the 11th floor, I was right where you are. I thought I had it all together. I thought I was a strong person, good mother and faithful Christian because I was doing all the “right” things. But the very moment that the doctor said, “I am sorry to tell you that your son has cancer” with tears falling down his face filled with pity, I became powerless. Suddenly it was like every shackle in my life fell like heavy chains on the cold floor, my life falling apart. All those worries and cares I was lugging along like a champion nearly broke my back. Throwing ever weight aside, I realized this would be a pivotal moment in my life no matter what the outcome. After crying hysterically watching my tears splash on the checkered tile floor until all I could do was hyperventilate, my voice hoarse from crying and calling out to God – he answered. “Do you trust me?” Now you may say that is not an answer but a question and grammatically you are correct but spiritually it was a definitive point. The Lord was asking if I believed. I had to search my heart and mind for the answer as He caught me off guard. Breathlessly, I whispered, “Yes!” but inside I was weak, crushed and totally powerless. He then spoke to me in a much louder voice, “Your son will live and not die!” I have never been the same from that moment when God’s Grace and Glory reached me as I was surely going under. I had no power. I barely had any strength. Yet, I was instantly empowered by His Spirit coming to life in me.
2 Corinthians 4:14-18 (NLT)
We know that God, who raised the Lord Jesus, will also raise us with Jesus and present us to himself together with you. All of this is for your benefit. And as God’s grace reaches more and more people, there will be great thanksgiving, and God will receive more and more glory. That is why we never give up. Though our bodies are dying, our spirits are being renewed every day. For our present troubles are small and won’t last very long. Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever! So we don’t look at the troubles we can see now; rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen. For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever.
Today I choose to live for the Glory of God so I may experience the Grace of God in every situation. Everything that I do well is a reflection of God’s Gifts in my life. (Romans 12:6-10) Everything I am horrible act exemplifies God’s Grace working in my life. (I Peter 1:3-5) God is protecting my inheritance and making sure that I will receive salvation even in my failure. Sin is now powerless in my life (Romans 6:6-11). I will rely on this truth and refuse to feel guilty or regret my past but look to the future and hope that He has given me. He is still working on me! (I Corinthians 15:10) I am now part of something much bigger than myself, I am committed and consecrated to the Kingdom of God. (I Corinthians 3:8-11) My life will now be a conduit of the Grace of God as I spread it all over the world. (Hebrews 12:14-15) People are not my competition so I will have compassion on others and extend grace to them as I receive more and more grace from the Father. (Hebrews 12:14-15) God’s Grace will bear spiritual fruit in my life because I can’t do it anymore. (Colossians 1:6) “We can say with confidence and a clear conscience that we have lived with a God-given holiness and sincerity in all our dealings. We have depended on God’s grace, not on our own human wisdom. That is how we have conducted ourselves before the world, and especially toward you.” (II Corinthians 1:12) Do you have confidence? Is your conscience clear? It is for those who live with “God-Given” holiness and sincerity that is a byproduct of His Grace not religiosity. Those who depend on God’s Grace rather than trying to force His Hand will live in the peace and joy of His Presence forevermore.
2 Timothy 1:9-10 (NLT)
For God saved us and called us to live a holy life. He did this, not because we deserved it, but because that was his plan from before the beginning of time—to show us his grace through Christ Jesus. And now he has made all of this plain to us by the appearing of Christ Jesus, our Savior. He broke the power of death and illuminated the way to life and immortality through the Good News.
Are you weak today? Do you feel powerless? Are you experiencing hard times? Have you accepted God’s Grace? Where will you be when weakness overcomes you? Build an altar where you are. Worship God and ask for His Grace. You must come just as you are! He doesn’t expect you to be the strong one who has it all together because that’s His Job! He just expects you to come as you are and then get out of the way so His Way takes over. Grace will allow you to give when you think you have nothing to give. It will allow you to live generously the life you have been given as God cultivates seeds of righteousness that will bear much fruit. Harvest is coming out of your hardship if you will simply accept God’s Gift of His Grace today! You may feel weak but actually you are a winner because greater is He who is in you than he that is in the world. Yes, you are an overcomer even if it is pride that is your biggest obstacle. Open the door and step into the freedom of God’s Grace! Stop trying to do it all and let the Lord do it all through you!
Titus 2:11-14 (NLT)
For the grace of God has been revealed, bringing salvation to all people. And we are instructed to turn from godless living and sinful pleasures. We should live in this evil world with wisdom, righteousness, and devotion to God, while we look forward with hope to that wonderful day when the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, will be revealed. He gave his life to free us from every kind of sin, to cleanse us, and to make us his very own people, totally committed to doing good deeds.