“My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is perfected in weakness.” (2 Cor. 12:9)
Dear ones –
We want so much in ourselves to be strong, to be self-contained, to be independent. Weakness, ignominy, need, burdens – the flesh in us despises such things. Yet we want the world to see Him in us do we not? Is this not what we yearn and pray for, that He would be more fully and perfectly manifest in our lives? Do we not also yearn for the manifestation of His great power, for encouragement, for testimony, for His glory?
In our natural state, in our self-strength – this cannot and will not ever happen. For remember Gideon, and the principle that with the Lord, less is always more.
We on our best days are nothing, but He must be everything. He must be the beginning and the end, and all the fullness in between.
This is why when we come to Him and ask for more, more of Him, more power – then this divine principle comes into effect, often to such tremendous pain and suffering to us. We begin to fail; all the old confidences begin to be stripped away; we can no longer in ourselves do anything right. Nothing seems to work anymore. All the tricks, all the masks we wear, all the religious things – they begin to wear thin, and to fail. It must be so, my friends; as painfully terrible as this is – it must be so. For we are all so flesh-bound, soul-bound, earth-bound, mind-bound, emotion-bound – call it what you will, we are kept from attaining to the state of risen-ness that only He can bring to bear in us.
Now as awful as this is in its out-working and in-working, this is actually a good thing, for what the world need so much more than us on our best days, is the full, unquenched, unfiltered manifestation of the power of our Lord.
Anything less is a counterfeit. It is man. It is religion. It is deceptive.
When we pray for grace do we mean deliverance then? Do we mean a return to our better days, to a time of strength and success and achievement? Where no thorn hinders nor hampers us? A time of no limitation? Back to life as it was before we said that awful prayer that He would draw us into His fullness and life?
You see dear ones, our Lord will never grant His grace for any other reason than that His power will be perfected. His grace leads first and always to the realization of His purpose. Not so that we can be without care or trouble or difficulty. Grace moves in to prepare the vessel, to secure the instrument of His power and purpose.
It is not grace when all is well in our lives and the flesh is happy and unhindered. The thorn sticks. It pierces and torments the flesh. It hurts. It reminds us that we are nothing in ourselves. It scrapes and scratches day after day, month after month, year after year. It is reminder of death, for this is the only message Satan has to bring.
“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.”
‘FOR CHRIST’S SAKE”
Oh dear saints, is this not here the one great failure of modern Christianity, that no longer is it for Christ’s sake?
Many, many times, far too often I have asked why Lord. Why this, why that, why so long, why does it never get easier, why is everything such a struggle lately. Why this new reality of everything being so difficult?
His answer is always the same – “For my sake! For the perfection of my power! For the glory of My Father!”
All of my life I have feared and eschewed failure, weakness, all the things in fact Paul mentions here. All the things modern teachers say will be banished once you claim their christ as your own (and buy their book or CD).
Yet we must be content with such things, with ignominy, with dearth in the things of this world. For all these things open the door for His marvelous power to be manifest. For Him to do things that we all acknowledge are so much better than what we could do for ourselves. And if we are honest, there is very little of His power being perfected in all the many things men are doing in His name on this earth. So much is out of strength, even the world’s strength, the strength of soul and mind and energy and creativity. The strength of religion, of fervor, of some cause.
Everything of Him, from Him, out of Him ends when we begin to exalt ourselves. This is why very few of us ever really enter into the depths and fullness of His Spirit, in revelation and experience – as it leads to self-exaltation. Paul saw much only because he suffered much. He boasted only in his weakness, never in the greatness of revelation or experience. He was in fact kept poor and in need of everything!
The vessel is always made of clay, the vessel that carries the glory of the Lord.
The Lord must be our only ground. If we attempt to stand on any other, then we will fail.
He must be the first and last of all we are and do. We are no longer our own.
He must be sure we are completely out of the way, and empty, before He can begin to manifest His great power and glory. This is the vivid testimony of every single servant of the Lord in the Scriptures, without exception!
Oh saints, that His power would be perfected on this earth! In us! In all of us!
Oh Lord, please grant us the grace that is sufficient, all to the fullest manifestation of Your Great and Mighty Power!
Pray for each other in this desperate hour when all is failing, all is crumbling around us, all is dark and poisoned, all seems beyond reach. Pray His will be done in each of us, even the hard things.
I will leave you with the heart cry of one who learned these things in bloody and bitter experience, and it is very familiar –
1 Save me, O God!
For the waters have come up to my neck.
2 I sink in deep mire,
where there is no foothold;
I have come into deep waters,
and the flood sweeps over me.
3 I am weary with my crying out;
my throat is parched.
My eyes grow dim
with waiting for my God.
4 More in number than the hairs of my head
are those who hate me without cause;
mighty are those who would destroy me,
those who attack me with lies.
What I did not steal
must I now restore?
5 O God, you know my folly;
the wrongs I have done are not hidden from you.
6 Let not those who hope in you be put to shame through me,
O Lord God of hosts;
let not those who seek you be brought to dishonor through me,
O God of Israel.
7 For it is for your sake that I have borne reproach,
that dishonor has covered my face.
8 I have become a stranger to my brothers,
an alien to my mother’s sons.
9 For zeal for your house has consumed me,
and the reproaches of those who reproach you have fallen on me.
10 When I wept and humbled my soul with fasting,
it became my reproach.
11 When I made sackcloth my clothing,
I became a byword to them.
12 I am the talk of those who sit in the gate,
and the drunkards make songs about me.
13 But as for me, my prayer is to you, O Lord.
At an acceptable time, O God,
in the abundance of your steadfast love answer me in your saving faithfulness.
14 Deliver me
from sinking in the mire;
let me be delivered from my enemies
and from the deep waters.
15 Let not the flood sweep over me,
or the deep swallow me up,
or the pit close its mouth over me.
16 Answer me, O Lord, for your steadfast love is good;
according to your abundant mercy, turn to me.
17 Hide not your face from your servant;
for I am in distress; make haste to answer me.
18 Draw near to my soul, redeem me;
ransom me because of my enemies!
19 You know my reproach,
and my shame and my dishonor;
my foes are all known to you.
20 Reproaches have broken my heart,
so that I am in despair.
I looked for pity, but there was none,
and for comforters, but I found none.
21 They gave me poison for food,
and for my thirst they gave me sour wine to drink.
22 Let their own table before them become a snare;
and when they are at peace, let it become a trap.
23 Let their eyes be darkened, so that they cannot see,
and make their loins tremble continually.
24 Pour out your indignation upon them,
and let your burning anger overtake them.
25 May their camp be a desolation;
let no one dwell in their tents.
26 For they persecute him whom you have struck down,
and they recount the pain of those you have wounded.
27 Add to them punishment upon punishment;
may they have no acquittal from you.
28 Let them be blotted out of the book of the living;
let them not be enrolled among the righteous.
29 But I am afflicted and in pain;
let your salvation, O God, set me on high!
30 I will praise the name of God with a song;
I will magnify him with thanksgiving.
31 This will please the Lord more than an ox
or a bull with horns and hoofs.
32 When the humble see it they will be glad;
you who seek God, let your hearts revive.
33 For the Lord hears the needy
and does not despise his own people who are prisoners.