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“My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.[1]

Jesus spoke, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness,” to Paul at a time when Paul needed to be delivered from, as he called it, a thorn in his flesh, a messenger of Satan, which and who was tormenting him. Now look at how Paul tells us why he got this thorn in the flesh. It wasn’t because he was sinning or rebelling or not obeying the Lord as such, but it was given to him as he said, to keep me from becoming conceited because of these surpassingly great revelations.[2] Those revelations that Paul was referring to were of course the visions of paradise and the things that he heard there.[3] Not only that, Paul also had his own gospel from Jesus[4] as well as having seen the Lord Himself many times with a ministry of signs, wonders and miracles.

Likewise for any of us whom the Lord has privileged with the restoration of the command to “Listen to Him,”[5] and all that we have seen and heard and come to know since, as well as what we now dare believe for, the revelations indeed are great and therefore the propensity for pride is just as great. Not one of us can escape it unless we acknowledge our own need for God’s mercy and compassion and never consider ourselves beyond sinning. We may come to the place where we master sin, but our mastery of sin can still be short of perfect, and so we sin. As such, there is no such place where we do not need God’s grace as the Amplified Bible defines it: “My grace (My favour and loving-kindness and mercy)…”[6] Sometimes God’s favour and loving-kindness makes us forget what we were and can be, that is, sinners who were His enemies. And any time anyone of us speaks out that which is not in the mind of God but of men, we are in the same place as Peter was when he forbade that Jesus would suffer and die in Jerusalem. Then to Jesus, we become as Satan. What brought Peter to that low place? It was immediately after God had given him the revelation that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God and Jesus said to him, “Blessed are you, Simon, son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by man, but by My Father in Heaven… I will give you the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven; whatever you bind (forbid[7]) on Earth will be bound (forbidden) in Heaven, and whatever you loose (permit[8]) on Earth will be loosed (permitted) in Heaven.”[9] The sequence of Peter’s progress within 10 verses (16:13-23) from being blessed by Jesus and his new nature affirmed by his new name, and being given the keys to the Kingdom of Heaven and given such authority that whatever he bound, strengthened or forbid would be bound and whatever he loosed, dissolved, opened or permitted would likewise be done.

Sometimes in that moment of God’s favour, we overstep the mark and think ourselves being able to stop what God has in mind. In His loving-kindness, immediately after the rebuke Jesus treats Peter as one of the twelve as He continues to tell them what is yet to come.[10] The grace of God as His favour and loving-kindness can prevent us from learning the complete meaning of grace, which includes mercy. And in order to remind us that we ourselves are in need of God’s mercy, Jesus has us loving our enemies and praying for them, and even makes us weak and not strong as we would prefer.

You see, when we are strengthened by the favour of God, we tend to step out and do things that make us like Satan to God. David, because he enjoyed God’s favour so much, overstepped the line with Bathsheba and Uriah, but the loving-kindness of God was such that He used the sin of David to raise up Solomon to build the temple. Solomon likewise received the favour of the Lord, for he was a bastard son from an illegitimate union who became king and not only king, the greatest of kings, yet he overstepped the mark. And so we all receive God’s favour and loving-kindness because of God’s strength and power through which He is able to bring us to the place where He may show us His favour and loving-kindness. But if His favour and loving-kindness can trip us over the mark and we become as persons who say and do what God never had in mind as did David, Solomon and Peter, then His power is not perfect as a tool by which His favour and loving-kindness is made manifest. But because His grace includes mercy and not just favour and loving-kindness, then in our weaknesses, not our moments of strength when we have been blessed, but in our moments of weakness when we have failed and appear to be failing in situations we do not want to be in with insults, hardships, in persecutions and difficulties, the perfection of His power is manifested because in weakness we need not only His favour and loving-kindness, but His mercy, and His mercy is needed when we have sinned, rebelled and failed Him.

Thus situations of difficulties, insults, persecutions and hardships reveal to us where we are weak, and because we are weak, His power is made perfect in us, for His grace includes mercy. If we were strong, and all situations are not difficult for us, and there are no insults, no persecutions or no hardships, then we would have no need for the perfection of His power in us. Indeed, we would think we do not need His fullness of grace, only His favour and His loving-kindness, but no mercy.

The situations that show up our weaknesses—difficulties, hardships, persecutions and insults—are situations that force us to go beyond ourselves. If the disciples had enough bread to feed the 5000 and the 4000, they would never have experienced the multiplication of the food. If the storm did not come up, they would not have seen Jesus rebuke the storm. If they had not failed to drive out the demon in the boy, they would never have realised that they had so little faith. If the Israelites were not caught between Pharaoh and the Red Sea, they would never have experienced the crossing of the Red Sea.

Situations that seem to be full of God’s favour and loving-kindness, like the Laodicean’s church with the riches and wealth they had acquired so that Jesus said they say, “‘I am rich, I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing,’”[11] can leave you and I in that most dangerous of positions where Jesus would spit, spew, or vomit us out of Himself.[12] If material wealth and riches could place the Laodicean church in such a position, how much more an apparent manifestation of such power—full power and might—with everyone healed and delivered, with all the miracles happening for us, with nothing being impossible for us—how easy for us to say, “I am perfect. I have acquired power, knowledge and understanding. I love the Lord and the Lord loves me, and I do not need a thing”? And so deceive ourselves that it is by His grace that we are saved and remain saved even as we make the mistake with His power and His word to overstep the favour that He has shown us.

No matter how far we go in Him, how deep we plunge into His secrets, how high we rise in His knowledge and how much we know that He loves us, we need not just His favour and loving-kindness, but His mercy. And it is our weaknesses that remind us of that need so that His power manifests perfectly, accomplishing that which He wills without destroying us because of our will. You see, God will permit us to retain our will, for Jesus has said, “If you abide in Me and My words abide in you, ask whatever you will, you wish, and it will be done for you.”[13] And by our will, we can say and do that which is not in God’s mind. That is when we need His mercy.

Paul learned the secret of perfection of power—Christ’s power—to be manifested perfectly in him. The power of God, the Father and the Holy Spirit, is the power to create and to do the impossible as God, but the power of Christ is the power to do the impossible as a Man. So, as much as God’s grace, which is also Jesus’ grace, is sufficient because of His mercy and not just His favour and loving-kindness, now the power of Christ made perfect in us is that we, as men like Him, the Son of Man, can do the impossible. He allowed Himself to be crucified in weakness, refusing to display the power He had so that forsaken by God, He finished the work on the cross as the Son of Man and committed His Spirit to God.

Our weaknesses not only open us to situations where God’s miraculous power can manifest to deliver us with signs and wonders, but it opens up for us situations where Christ’s power can be made manifest. That is, in our humanity and all the weakness of that humanity, we are able to do the impossible as sons of man, not just sons of God. Men being able to do the impossible in their weakness are as much to God’s glory as men being able to do the impossible in their strength, for whether we are weak or strong; we are the image of God. What God wanted to show creation as part of His manifold wisdom through man, His image, is that God is able to do the impossible even when God is at His weakest.

Thus, even though we have pursued the resurrection of the Holy Spirit’s power to the church so that we are able to be expert witnesses of Jesus and bring ourselves into the place where we are fulfillers of Christ’s words for all who have faith in Him, that we will do the things that He has done and even greater things shall we do,[14] yet we have pursued it from the perspective of strength and might. So then, our pursuit of God’s power will not be perfect even if we are full of mercy and compassion as God is, unless we remember our weaknesses and delight in them, no, even boast about them. For our weaknesses are needed for us to do the greater things, for the things we do become greater not because indeed they are greater than what Christ did only, but also because we did them as weaker men than Jesus Christ, the Son of Man. Thus, we must learn not to be ashamed of our weaknesses and gloss over them or hide them as we are tempted to do. But as Paul wrote in his letter of correction to the church out of order: I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions and in difficulties. I would not advise anyone to ask God for thorns in the flesh, but rather if thorns in the flesh, messengers from Satan, are given to torment you, then rejoice for it is to keep you humble for the great revelations you have and will receive.

So, unless we have situations where we are insulted and persecuted and we face hardships and difficulties, we will not know what weaknesses we have that we may delight in them and boast of them. And without them, Christ’s power is not made perfect in us and if His power is not perfect in us, then God’s power is not perfect even though it may be present. The false prophet will have a measure of perfection of the power of God in him, and even the Holy Spirit’s power and powers of the age to come, but because he is not one who would delight in his weaknesses and admit to them openly, even boasting about them lest he is looked down upon by men, Christ’s power will not be made perfect in him and because of that, he will fall irrevocably.

For our Lord perfected His power that was pre-existent and resident in Him as Son of God through the weakness of being crucified, the Son of Man suffering the lashings and bashings, the scorn and insults, one Man against all men and Satan and his hordes to win the victory, yet He said, “Whoever believes in Me will do what I have been doing.”[15] Then, how much more should we?

Therefore, the test of our power, indeed our unity, is not when we boast of our strengths and delight in our circumstances of praise (even from God), ease, helps and comforts (because we have God’s power made manifest), but whether we are ready to boast of our weaknesses and delight in our weaknesses to see firstly that anyone of us who are insulted, persecuted, and in difficulties and hardship, yet have not denied the Lord are opportunities for Christ’s power to be made perfect. When anyone of us seems God forsaken as Christ was God forsaken, there and then is the opportunity for the perfection of Christ’s power.

The appreciation of the power of weakness is needed for you and I because, God willing, in the days to come, as the Holy Ghost entrusts more and more power to each of you to prosecute the end game to bring Jesus back, you must not forget that you serve the God who said to Ahab, “I will bring disaster upon you and consume you. I will destroy every one of your male descendants, slave and free alike, anywhere in Israel! I am going to destroy your family as I did the family of Jeroboam, son of Nebat, and the family of Baasha, son of Ahijah, for you have made Me very angry and have led Israel into sin.”[16] And when it seems to us that preachers who have not restored the command to listen to Jesus to their flocks, are leading their ‘Israel’, their flocks, into sin, we must also remember that this is the same God who said when Ahab repented in deep mourning, “Do you see how Ahab has humbled himself before Me? Because he has done this, I will not do what I promised during his lifetime. It will happen to his sons; I will destroy his dynasty.”[17] Thus, our weaknesses have the power to safeguard us in the time of God’s favour and loving-kindness, not to overstep the line, and if we do overstep the line because of our weaknesses, we are able to experience the sufficiency of His grace, not just the favour and the loving-kindness, but His mercy.

More than that, our weaknesses have the power to allow us to manifest the power of Christ as sons of men when God forsaken, we are still able to finish the work and commit our souls into His hands, who not only can destroy our flesh but also our souls, as our acknowledgement of His love. In that, then truly we can do the greater things.

Our weaknesses have the power to keep us in rein, so we do not forget who we are and who we are prosecuting as we execute His commands in these last days, that everyone, all whom we face, are redeemed by the blood of Jesus. So, as we open our mouths and the word of God comes forth to consume our enemies, we remember they are also whom the Lord died for. As we strike the Earth with plagues as often as we wish, we do not forget they are whom the Lord died for. Thus, we do not, and I say not the Lord, we do not boast in our strengths and our power. We must not delight in our strengths and power or in the praises we receive, the ease with which we do things, the helps we are offered nor the comforts we continue to have even as the world is consumed in God’s coming wrath. But rather, we stand chastened that God would even consider us with all our faults and weaknesses for such a task.

We succeed; it is to God’s glory. We fail; it is our shame. God, have mercy on us poor sinners. AMEN.


 

[1] 2 Corinthians 12:9-10

[2] 2 Corinthians 12:7

[3] 2 Corinthians 12:4

[4] Galatians 1:11-12

[5] Matthew 17:5; Mark 9:7; Luke 9:35

[6] 2 Corinthians 12:9 [AMP]

[7] NLT

[8] NLT

[9] Matthew 16:17,19

[10] Matthew 16:24-28

[11] Revelation 3:17

[12] Revelation 3:16 [NIV, Peshitta, NKJV]

[13] John 15:7 [NIV, NASB (AMP, KJV you will)]

[14] John 14:12

[15] John 14:12

[16] 1 Kings 21:21-22 [NLT]

[17] 1 Kings 21:29 [NLT]

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