There is a mind-set among church people that if your ministry is dormant, it won’t come under attack from the Evil One. We think that as ministries catch fire through the power of the Holy Spirit and go “into revival,” it is more likely that attacks will come. This is a comforting thought, because it allows us to understand our trials and tribulations as evidence that we are doing our job in proclaiming the Gospel. It also is Biblical.
In the twelfth chapter of Paul’s second letter to the Corinthians, he confesses to having a handicap, or a “thorn in the flesh.” Much has been written about this. Was it a physical ailment? Did he have a speech impediment? Was it a mental disorder? What exactly was holding Paul back?
2 Corinthians 12 (The Message)
6 If I had a mind to brag a little, I could probably do it without looking ridiculous, and I’d still be speaking plain truth all the way. But I’ll spare you. I don’t want anyone imagining me as anything other than the fool you’d encounter if you saw me on the street or heard me talk.
7-10 Because of the extravagance of those revelations, and so I wouldn’t get a big head, I was given the gift of a handicap to keep me in constant touch with my limitations. Satan’s angel did his best to get me down; what he in fact did was push me to my knees. No danger then of walking around high and mighty!
Paul correctly identifies the problem: he is under attack. His ability to receive God’s word, and the extravagance of God’s revelations, put a big target on his head. Satan tried his best to stop the revival by stopping Paul. Had Paul been ineffective, he would have been left alone. That realization didn’t make life easier, but it did lead Paul to one of the greatest revelations of his life:
At first I didn’t think of it as a gift, and begged God to remove it. Three times I did that, and then he told me,
My grace is enough; it’s all you need.
My strength comes into its own in your weakness.
This is PROFOUND. Do you hear what Paul is saying? God’s grace is ENOUGH. No matter what physical, mental, relational, or spiritual thorn you are dealing with, God’s grace is enough. Do you believe that?
Once I heard that, I was glad to let it happen. I quit focusing on the handicap and began appreciating the gift. It was a case of Christ’s strength moving in on my weakness. Now I take limitations in stride, and with good cheer, these limitations that cut me down to size—abuse, accidents, opposition, bad breaks. I just let Christ take over! And so the weaker I get, the stronger I become.
Paul teaches us that yielding to a situation is the best way through that situation. God didn’t remove the Red Sea when the Israelites were escaping from Pharaoh’s army….he parted it so they could move through it. Where is God trying to help you move through something? Have you yielded to his power in your problem? Are you praying about it?
Paul discovered that when you allow Christ’s strength to move in on your weakness, you will gain strength. So be like Paul and just let Christ take over! God’s grace truly is enough, and it’s all you need.
Need a blessing? Take a look and listen: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xz54g-Q0jUQ