II Corinthians 12:9 says, “And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” Paul wrote this referring to his “thorn in the flesh”. He doesn’t tell us what his “thorn” is and I am so glad. We all have a “thorn” and the moral of this verse isn’t about how to escape the discomfort of the thorn, although Paul does make that request. The moral is that Christ is sufficient.
What Does it Mean to Be Sufficient
According to the 1828 Websters dictionary, sufficient can be defined as:
SUFFI’CIENT, adjective [Latin sufficiens.] Enough; equal to the end proposed; adequate to wants; competent; as provision sufficient for the family; water sufficient for the voyage; an army sufficient to defend the country.
My grace is sufficient for thee. 2 Corinthians 12:9.
1. Qualified; competent; possessing adequate talents or accomplishments; as a man sufficient for an office.
2. Fit; able; of competent power or ability.
Who is sufficient for these things? 2 Corinthians 2:6.
The church I attend asked us to describe what Jesus is to you in just a few words. When it came my time to share, I had one simple word. Enough. He is enough. Regardless of the need. Regardless of the hurt. Regardless of the impossibilities. He. Is. Enough.
I love the analogy that Mr. Webster gives to water. Christ is described in scripture as the Living Water. He will sustain you. When it feels as if you can’t go one more step. The journey is just too much – He is enough. He will fill up your tank when it’s running low. He will satisfy that deep thirst for peace.
“An army sufficient to defend” reminds me that I do not have to fight my battles, although so many times I try & FAIL miserably. Christ is sufficient. He doesn’t need my help to defeat my enemies!
Have you ever played a game of volleyball with a wide range in ages? I have. It can be frustrating when you have small children on the court with you “underfoot”. The children are trying to enjoy the game and contribute. But the truth of the matter is they are out of their league playing with adults. They are just plain and simple in the way at times. The opponent may score points, make ground toward victory; because you are trying to avoid crushing a little person who is in the pathway of the ball.
I imagine God must feel the same about me sometimes. I’m battling and trying everything in MY power to beat my opponent and the Creator is sitting back. Desiring to help but I’m underfoot. I’m waging a war that isn’t mine and hindering the only One Who is sufficient to defend.
Weakness = Strength
I don’t typically look at my weaknesses as a strength. That just doesn’t make sense … humanly. But Paul says that our weaknesses – when surrendered to Christ – can be made perfectly into a strength! What does it look like to surrender a weakness to Christ?
That fear you are holding onto. Yeah that’s a weakness. Give it to Him. When fear starts to creep in, instead of surrendering to the fear – surrender the fear to Christ. Pray. Call out the name that causes our enemy to tremble in fear – JESUS!
That habit you can’t seem to shake. Another weakness. Stop trying to stop on your own! We can’t do it! Christ & Christ alone can conquer that habit – IF you surrender it to Him! When temptation comes – turn to the One Who can deliver!
Whatever your weakness is – give it to Him. Ask Him to perfect that weakness and to shine His glory through it. He will. That’s His desire. Christ is sufficient. But God is a gentleman. He’s not going to force anything on you. If you want His strength. If you want His grace. If you want His sufficiency. Well, that comes with conditions.
Conditions on the Sufficiency of Christ
There are thousands of promises in the Bible. And many, if not most, of those promises come with conditions. Notice the conditions in bold below:
- Isaiah 41:10 says, “Fear thou not, for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.”
- Galatians 6:9 says, “And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.”
- Joshua 1:9, “Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the Lord thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest.”
- “Isaiah 26:3, “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee.”
God’s promises are not open-ended for us to claim when it works in our favor. Christ is sufficient. That sufficiency came at a high cost. He gave His life to be our all in all.
If you will look at the conditions highlighted above, take notice. He has taken our weakness and turned it into strength. He promises us fruit for labor. He goes with us as we walk courageously. He’s offering perfect peace if we simply trust.
Do these promises and conditions translate into a worry-free journey? Of course not. But they do translate into having a Warrior King fight for us.
Strength. Friend. Peace. He will give us all of this – if we surrender our weakness, loneliness, and fear. Will you give it to Him?