“My grace is sufficient for you [My loving-kindness and My mercy are more than enough—always available—regardless of the situation]; for [My] power is being perfected [and is completed and shows itself most effectively] in [your] weakness.” – 2 Corinthians 12:9
This is a verse that keeps flashing in my mind lately; especially during and after prayer. I worry so much that I will be led astray by theology that seems very true. I also worry that I am operating outside of God’s purpose at times. I have something going for me though…at least I worry about it!
This is an amazing thing for God to say to a person. Not only did He speak this to Paul, I believe it applies to all believers who are living for Christ. It shows:
- how completely God has us in His hands – He has our backs
- that nothing can separate us from the love of God
- that God is in complete control of what is happening
- that God allows ‘afflictions’ in order to glorify the kind of power that moved Christ to the cross and kept him there until the work of love was done
That is not an exhaustive list, but I’m sure you get the picture. The main point here is that ‘God is in control’! We go through season after season of good, bad, humiliation, exuberation, numbness…. through it all God IS in control. Now, IF WE ARE LISTENING and PAYING ATTENTION we might actually learn something instead of complaining about how bad your life is. Or take advantage of the highs and completely forget about our faith altogether.
So, even though I feel as though I’m messing up somehow, and there is trouble pressing me on all sides, as long as I am seeking God first with all my heart, He will keep me from losing sight of the goal. I tend to get lost in the details and ‘chase that rabbit’ anywhere it wants to run. Maintaining my focus, keeping my heart and mind calm by holding fast to this truth – “…my power is being perfected in your weakness…” – will help me make it through the rough times.
Is sin tolerated then?
I think it goes without saying, but just in case…. Just because His grace is sufficient for me doesn’t give me permission to walk willingly into sinful behavior. No. Remember the context of 2 Corinthians 12:9. First, God was talking to Paul… PAUL…you know…the Apostle. Someone who has laid it ALL down and dedicated his whole being to preaching the Gospel (and everything that entails!). I think that is important to point out honestly. Granted, God IS GOD – He can have mercy on whom He wants to have mercy, and harden whomever He wants to harden. Take a look at the whole of scripture – for example, one section warns us about persisting in sinful behavior. Romans 8 instructs us that we are to put to death the deeds of the flesh; if we live according to the flesh we WILL die.
Secondly, on this occasion, what Paul has in mind here is not sin. He is not talking about a kind of behavior — like we might say she has a weakness for lust; or he has a weakness for overeating. Paul is not talking about bad choices that we make. He is not saying the power of Christ is perfected in my bad choices. Or, I will all the more gladly boast of my bad choices. Weaknesses here are not imperfect behaviors. I believe they are experiences and situations and circumstances and wounds that are hard to bear and that we can’t remove either because they are beyond our control or because love dictates that we not return evil for evil.
Remember, Paul goes on to describe some of the weaknesses he is referring to in verse 10, “…So I am well pleased with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, and with difficulties, for the sake of Christ; for when I am weak [in human strength], then I am strong [truly able, truly powerful, truly drawing from God’s strength].” There is no mention of lust or anger or any other behavior.