Sunday, March 29, 2009

My Grace is Sufficient for You

For years I viewed God’s grace as being when God grants unmerited favour to those who do not deserve it, or specifically, when God grants the gift of salvation to undeserving sinners.

Ephesians 2:8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God.

Below are the lyrics of a song that I sang to the Lord countless times during my private praise and worship times:

Your grace is sufficient for me, and I’m loving You, more and more.
Your face is all I want to see, and I’m loving You, more and more.
When I behold You in the word, I learn to walk in victory,
I know that when I’m weak You’ll make me strong.
If I’m about to fall, I know your hands are always there.
Jesus, I love You more and more.

By Ps Tom Rawls, Gary Houston, 1986?
(Note, the chord charts for this song is at the bottom of this post.)

When I went on an eight-day missionary orientation trip to Thailand in late 1989, one of my fondest memories was of playing this song on the piano in a Bangkok Bible college.

The song is inspired by 2 Cor 12:8-9 Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you.”

When I became severely depressed at the end of 1989, I found that when I sang this song, my exhausted, nervously ill mind completely misunderstood what 2 Cor 12:8-10 teaches. Unable to reason, I thought that this verse was God saying to me, “My unmerited favour, specifically your salvation, is all you need to get through this.” To this I responded disappointedly, “No, it is not enough! This suffering I am going through defies comprehension, I need more than that to get through this living nightmare! I need Your help, Your strength, Your healing!” But I truly feared that these things were not coming. (Little did I realise at the time that He had been strengthening me throughout the ordeal.)

However, I eventually learnt that God’s grace is far more than granting the gift of salvation to undeserving sinners. Let us have a look at the rest of 2 Cor 12:8-10 Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, "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.

Now in reading this, perhaps we are wondering, what has Christ’s power, or strength, got to do with grace? The answer is that it has everything to do with God’s grace. Let us take a journey through God’s word, and we will see what God’s grace actually gives us. I was surprised when I learnt this.

It is from His grace that God pours His blessings upon us. John 1:16 From the fullness of his grace we have all received one blessing after another.

It is through His grace that Christ gives us His divine power and strength to deal with any trial, and His strength is SO much better than our own! This is how the Amplified Bible presents 2 Corinthians 12:9-10 But He said to me, My grace (My favor and loving-kindness and mercy) is enough for you [sufficient against any danger and enables you to bear the trouble manfully]; for My strength and power are made perfect (fulfilled and completed) and show themselves most effective in [your] weakness. Therefore, I will all the more gladly glory in my weaknesses and infirmities, that the strength and power of Christ (the Messiah) may rest (yes, may pitch a tent over and dwell) upon me!

So for the sake of Christ, I am well pleased and take pleasure in infirmities, insults, hardships, persecutions, perplexities and distresses; for when I am weak [in human strength], then am I [truly] strong (able, powerful in divine strength).



Also, grace is not something we receive just the once when we receive His gift of salvation, it is available in abundance! Romans 5:17 For if, by the trespass of the one man, death reigned through that one man, how much more will those who receive God's abundant provision of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ.

More proof of the boundless abundance of God’s grace is seen in Ephesians 1:7 In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God's grace. Also in 1 Timothy 1:14 The grace of our Lord was poured out on me abundantly, along with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus.

We receive Christ’s eternal riches from His grace. 2 Corinthians 8:9 For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich.

In fact, everything we need to succeed in our walk with Christ and do good works comes from God’s grace. 2 Corinthians 9:8 And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.

Now I understood why Jesus told Paul, “My grace is sufficient for you.” Because Christ’s grace is the vehicle by which He gives us whatever we need to get through that trial, to resist a temptation, to overcome an obstacle. When we are weak, He gives us His power, when we are poor He gives us riches. ‘You then, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.’ 2 Timothy 2:1. Through His grace He also gives us salvation, favour, loving-kindness, mercy and all of His blessings.

While in the pits of depression, we fear the suffering will never end.

From my diary, 12th April 1990 –
I keep seeing this going on forever,
I can see two years gone by, and I’ve still go no peace,
It is like insomnia. When the sun comes up,
And you’re still awake, you realise you’ve been robbed.


But I was wrong - my fears were unfounded - I did recover from depression. God’s word is true when it says in 1 Peter 5:10 And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.

All verses from NIV unless noted otherwise.


Chord charts and lyrics for 'Your Grace is Sufficient for Me.'

18 comments:

  1. Such an important reminder for ALL of us. His grace is abundant, and comforting, and sufficient. Trials are often the best way of having that grace manifest. Thanks, Peter.

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  2. Beautifully written. I needed this today.

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  3. I love to hear God's grace explained...ALWAYS. I've been hearing a Ton of it lately, as our pastor is taking us through the book of Ephesians.

    It is through His grace that Christ gives us His divine power and strength to deal with any trial, and His strength is SO much better than our own!

    Yes, the same power that raised Christ Jesus from the dead is the same power we have access to, dwelling in us through the Holy Spirit. It's difficult to remember that when we're so far down, but it is ALWAYS His grace that pulls us up.

    I'm so glad I don't have to rely on my own strength. Thank you for this post!

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  4. Thank you, Peter, for sharing your song, the Word and your diary with us today. I enjoyed your great insights.

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  5. Thank you, Peter. Another great post.

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  6. Yes, Christ's power and strength have everything to do with god's grace. Thank you for these beautiful reassurances from God's Word.

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  7. My absolute favorite verse (currently)--which is what drew me to your blog to begin with, ironically--2 Corinthians 12:8-10.

    I love that Paul boasted about his weaknesses. I used to feel guilty that I had weaknesses. Guilty for needing people and for needing God.

    But I love the truth of this verse--that the very thing I feel guilty about (my weakness) is the thing that causes Christ's power to rest on me.

    So I shall boast! :)

    Blessings,
    Sandy

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  8. WOW Peter, that song is so beautiful. I absolutely love it!
    And I really needed to read this post this morning; all of it; very well written!

    I'm about to leave to Dallas in a minute....I'm just procrastinating (I think?), plus it's storming outdoors so we're waiting for it to slow down some.

    I'm so thrilled you have a 'button' now. I'm going to add it to my blog 'widget' when I come back but for right now I'm going to add it on the sidebar. Woo Hoo.....that's awesome. Ya know, I could have made it for you for free....unless you made it yourself. :D I'm so excited to ad your 'button' right now....then I'm takin' off to Dallas....(sigh). Thanks for your prayers. I'll write you and Shoko when I return....Hugs to you and her both!
    Your Friend,
    Sarah Cecilia

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  9. Hello Peter,
    Wow, what a blessed page to stumble upon as I was looking up a scripture verse during my quiet devotional time. I am blessed and look forward to a deeper & clearer relationship with God while I go through my personal crisis. This is the hardest time in my life and I'd appreciate your prayers for strength & wisdom, & most importantly peace in my home. Thank you.

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  10. Hi Lilly,
    Thanks for dropping by the blog, and for sharing what you are going through. Praying that through His grace, the Lord will release His power and strength into your life, that He will guide you to take refuge within His comforting arms through your storm as He leads you through it.
    God bless

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  11. I really needed to read something like this today, thanks. I have struggled with trying to control the uncontrollable in my life and failing to surrender to God. I want with all my heart to surrender and I want to believe with every fiber of my being that His grace is sufficient enough for me!

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  12. Thanks brother. My wife and I are having a terrible time. A few months back His command to me was DO NOT GIVE UP!!, a month or two later is was Be Still and Rest In Me. Now when I am truly beaten down but still trying to trust he has been telling me, My Grace Is Sufficient For You. To be honest I did not want to hear that because it meant there would be no answer today or tomorrow. But your blog post helped me understand the Grace that is spoken of by Paul from Christ in this context.

    God Bless.
    Joe

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  13. Dear Joe,
    It is such a liberating thing to learn (as did I) that it is through Christ's grace that we receive His divine strength to help us through all of life's troubles. Praying that He will continue to guide and strengthen you in your circumstances, in the knowledge that He is always with you.
    God bless
    Peter

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  14. Thank you so much for sharing this... I've been battling with some old habits lately; making me feel really down and out - like I let God down. However, after reading this I have a new hope in the Lord and wonder why could I ever doubt His love - that is without condition.

    I pray that you continue to be blessed as you walk in the Lord :)

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  15. Dear Pevashini,
    You're most welcome. Isn't God's unconditional love the most wonderful, amazing thing ever?
    May God bless you too.
    Regards
    Peter

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  16. Just wanted to say thanks for the encouragement. I was unable to sleep because my mind was racing with thoughts about my current situation. As I began to ask God about suffering and searching for an answer, I came across your blog and I have been blessed and enlightened. I especially like the song. After reading it, I have come to a place of peace knowing that in my weakness, God's strength is made perfect.

    Thank you and may God always use you to bless others.



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    1. Thank you for the feedback, Anonymous. It's wonderful how God helps us to comfort one another, with the comfort that He has comforted us with.
      God bless
      Peter

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  17. After many years the word of God is fresh as morning flowers. thank you for giving to the Lord.

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