[Referenced text: 2 Corinthians 12:7-10]
Before moving into the last analysis of what we can learn from what Paul wrote in this passage, I want to point out as an important review two things that we discovered in this passage that have been mentioned so far.
Sufficient: arkeo/ar-keh'-o - (1.) be enough, suffice, be sufficient, [and also,] (2). be content
From part one, we learned that the word "sufficient" used by the Holy Spirit infers a two-fold participation that is to happen between God and the believer. What He gives us as grace in our trials is to be recognized by definition as enough for the need and our benefit, it is just the right amount of help by God's wisdom, it will suffice and is just the correct dose of help for the purposes of God in our life regarding that problem area. That's God's action us-ward.
But there is (by the definition of sufficient) also implied to be our action God-ward and the recommended attitude toward our circumstances - and that is to "be content' in the knowledge that God has given us just what we need no matter that we might think it is not enough, or are disappointed that He does not just fix the problem by His great power.
To fully benefit from His sufficiency of grace we must be at peace within that He is faithful to His Word that we will have minute-by-minute, hour-by-hour, and (as needed) the day-after-day help of God to move forward and through such things when they arise (1 Cor. 10:13). He provides precisely what we need and we are to acknowledge that provision and choose to be satisfied that all is working for our good.
Think of it perhaps like the inconvenience and physical pain of a problem in your body needing surgery that needs to be done by a doctor; one that is perfect in his knowledge and skills for a procedure that requires you to trust him completely. God is the doctor and you are the patient.
The second discovery (at least an important one for me) was by Paul's use of three words used in describing his response toward having been informed that God was giving Him sufficient grace; These three words: "for Chris's sake". We say, "Lord, for my sake (for my advantage, my relief, my benefit) please fix this, heal me, solve this problem - please don't make me go through this!"
But His reply is "My help is enough - enough to accomplish in you "for Christ's sake" the purposes of Christ in your life, in the interests of Christ through your life, in order to achieve the plans of Christ for you, or to preserve the integrity of your life in Christ before others for their benefit." We are therefore to bow in reference to God's perfect wisdom and the plans He has in using the trouble we find ourselves in - financial or legal, physical health, relationship, or other dramatic circumstances.
Again, as Paul said in 1 Corinthians 10, "God is faithful" and knows how much you can endure and will not permit that true breaking-point to happen to you.
Isaiah 40:27-31, Philippians 4:11-13]
Therefore, Christian, God's grace is sufficient, it is enough for my need, and my response is to agree that it is and be content and at peace.
Hebrews 13:5, John 14:27, Romans 15:13, Philippians 4:19]
Knowing-these-things - what we have learned to this point over these three sessions, we can better understand how Paul was able to respond as he did so that we, too, can enter into such an attitude and walk in the face of our thorns, hardships, losses and failures, and all other trials of our lives. What was his reply before God and declared to you and me?
2 Corinthians 11:30, 12:8-10]
Jesus said at John 16:33, "These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation (pressure, affliction, anguish): but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world." Paul said at Romans 5:1-3, "Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: By whom also we have access by faith into - this-grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. 3 And not only so, but we glory in tribulations (also:) knowing that tribulation worketh (patience) ..."
Here is the human issue working against us: We do not want to be troubled, inconvenienced, afflicted in our bodies, found lacking, mistreated or persecuted, in need or distressed - we don't, we hate those things! And yet, as born again ones from above, that is going to be part of what we will experience and one way or another must go through - not around or under. Things such as these and others are permitted by God, as a normal course of life today, or they are on-purpose arranged by God for us to face "for-Christ's-sake"!
Therefore (through which, as a consequence) as conditions approved of by God, you and I can take heart, relax as much as we can, look to and trust God for His promised grace, and move forward through the trial or hardship for the plans He has that will benefit our life. With this mindset, we, too, can "think well of" those conditions instead of despise them, and therefore continue our boast in and witness of the Lord. Why not? You can do this and I can do this (and I have now for some time) by the strength of Jesus within us.
Mark 9:23-24, Philippians 4:13, 2 Corinthians 11:23-31]
I remember the early days of my enlistment in the army. First came the 8-weeks of boot camp at Fort Ord, California. From the time I and the other young men got off the bus, we endured the shouts and demands, and the pressures and intimidations of the drill instructors daily (early risings, new disciplines needed, mess hall, being pushed to our physical limits). The physical exertions were relentless, the military training involving weapons and warfare tactics were demanding and needed to be taken seriously, especially since the Viet Nam war was still going on. While many in my company (A-3-1) didn't do so well with the daily stresses of our needed training, some of us did very well - even to the point of being promoted before graduating from boot camp.
What made the difference? What made the difference was understanding that how we were being physically conditioned, the weapons of war we were being trained to use, and what we were being taught from the experiences and wisdom of our battlefield-seasoned instructors, were all things essential for our own survival as a young and inexperienced soldier.
Many had a very difficult time adjusting to the disciplines of military life. Double-time running in ranks with full back-packs and rifles caused not a few to drop out of our formations - some vomiting and others literally collapsing along the side of the road from the miles-run to each day's training location. Some did not pay strict attention to the lessons of the day and then suffered through the resulting tests of needed know-how only to fail to show the expected but necessary aptitudes.
But for the ones that understood how important these things were there came knowledge and understanding and the developing of experience and skill. Now - Christian, think of my experiences just described in terms of how you are now looking at and living your life as a disciple of Christ.
James 1:2-4, 1 Peter 1:5-9, 2 Corintians 12:9, 1 John 4:4, Ecclesiastes 12:13-14]
What is the conclusion of these three lessons on "sufficient grace"? Know in both your mind and in our heart that God's grace for you His child is always sufficient and [and] understand that it works for the sake of Christ's purposes in you. Therefore, rejoice and with gladness walk always forward through the hardships, trials, and tribulations of your lives as they unfold and you will be strong in His might for whatever befalls you from this day forward.
[Referenced in closing:
Isaiah 61:10, 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, and Philippians 4: 4 Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice. 5 Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand. 6 Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. 7 And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.]
NOTE: In view of all my years of teaching God's Word, these 3 discussions are some of the most important and helpful for today's true follower of Jesus Christ. There is more to be gleaned by listening to the 3 live presentations of this material at the YouTube channel: Preparing for Amos 8.11.
With ... The Right Word© ... Brother Scott Riaubia