The word sufficient is defined as enough, adequate, or to be provided with as much as needed.
The Lord told Paul in 2 Corinthian 12:9 that His “grace is sufficient.” Paul prayed three times for the Lord to remove the “thorn” in his flesh and the Lord did not remove it. Instead the Lord gave Paul words of encouragement in telling Paul of the sufficiency of His grace. He told Paul that His grace is enough, His grace is adequate, and His grace will provide as much as Paul needs.
We have no definite answers as to what Paul’s “thorn in the flesh” was, but it obviously seemed to bother him or to get in his way of life. Paul must have felt that he would be better able to serve without this “thorn.”
There are many theories as to what that “thorn” was, some of these are:
- a physical ailment
- a disability
Many think that it had something to do with Paul’s vision, but we are not told. We are only told that the purpose for the “thorn” being given was so that Paul would not become conceited because of the visions and revelations given to him by God.
I am currently doing a study on the Holy Spirit. It is a study by France Chan titled Remembering the Forgotten God. Chan asks many pertinent questions regarding the Holy Spirit’s work in our lives. He encourages us to consider our motives in wanting the Holy Spirit. Is it really so that God might get all of the glory? Or is there an itching deep within for us to receive glory? Do we want the power to be attributed to the strength of our faith? Or to the Lord?
The Lord promises, in response to Paul’s prayer, that He will be given grace to live with that thorn so that the evidence of God’s power may be made real in Paul’s weakness.
The Lord wants us dependent on Him, dependent on His unmerited favor for our lives, dependent on His adequacy, not on ourselves. We want to be in control, we want to make the plan, and take it and run with it. but God says,
“Wait for Me…”
“Depend on Me…”
“Let it come from Me.”
It is too easy to run ahead, to think “I can do this Lord!” After the initial thought or idea pops into our heads we think we can take control. And, the thing is, it isn’t even that what we choose to do is always bad. We may have very good intentions, but our intentions and plans just end up growing separate from what God really has in mind.
This is why He calls us to abide in Him, vine in Branch. He wants us to be fully dependent. He may lead us in a ministry, but we forget we are His and that it is His ministry. We forget that we are to do it according to His plan, in His power, not our own.
He will equip and empower us to accomplish His will and purpose.
Look at how the Lord used Paul. Paul wrote many of the books of the New Testament. Paul has touched many lives for the Lord because of God’s power as Paul relied on God’s sufficiency.
- Where do you need to rely on God’s favor in Your life?
- Where do you need His sufficiency?
- Is there a “thorn” that continually seems to get in the way of your plans to move forward?
The question we must ask ourselves in this place is: how will the Lord be glorified the most?
Paul goes on to say, “Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses so that Christ’s power may rest on me.”
Paul recognizes that in his humility God is glorified, in his submission God is honored. Paul surrenders to that. We must surrender also, we must remember His grace is sufficient.
All Sufficient Gracious Lord, as we yearn to live for You and You desire for us to abide, help us to seek You, to know how You will be glorified the most. What are you calling us to surrender or to sacrifice so that You may get all of the glory? Help us to grasp onto the grace You offer. Help us to know the fullness of Your sufficiency for whatever life brings. Work in and through us, empower us for Your glory Lord. This is our prayer. Amen.