My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weaknesses.~2 Corinthians 12:9 NKJV
We say grace before a meal. We speak of God’s grace. But do we really know what grace is?
Grace comes from the word charis and may be defined as “the divine influence upon the heart and its reflection in the life. (Strongs’ Concordance, NT#5485)” Grace is something that happens within the spirit of man.
Paul knew something about grace. He had to because he had experienced sorrows and extreme difficulties. He had physical ailments as well, acknowledging that he wrote with “large letters” due to his failing eyesight (Galatians 6:11). Indeed, Paul knew troubles, and yet he was inwardly strong. Why? He did not–or perhaps he could not focus–on his enemies or ailments. Instead, he trusted in the power of Christ.
Paul oftentimes wrote from prison. It would take incredible focus for me to do the same, but he sets an example for us. Why could he write with a smile on his face while in shackles? It is because he knew the power of grace. Paul writes Jesus’ words,
And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weaknesses.”~2 Corinthians 12:9 NKJV
Paul’s weaknesses, regardless of what they were at the moment, compelled him to trust in Jesus Christ. He did not allow circumstances to dictate his attitude or his focus. And so, whether he was writing, preaching, or performing miracles, Paul did it to further the cause of Christ with confidence and joy.
Paul suffered greatly but God was with him. Paul writes about his imprisonments, 39 lashes with whips five times, a shipwreck, beatings, stonings, robberies, betrayals from brethren, weariness, sleeplessness, fastings, and other troubles (see 2 Corinthians 11:23-27) and yet he kept his composure because of God’s grace within him.
God revealed His grace on an ongoing basis within Paul, and this manifested in the ministry he was able to accomplish. For instance, in Acts 27 we read of a God-ordained incident. While on a ship that was sinking, Paul prayed rather than being shaken. Having been led in a dream, he led the guards, asking them to have grace on the prisoners and set them free, and spoiling their plans to kill the prisoners.
Paul said to the discouraged men, “Therefore take heart, men, for I believe God that it will be just as it was told me”(Acts 27:25 NKJV). Indeed it was. When they reached land, they lost the ship but all of the lives–which numbered 276 people–were spared.
What is more important than the lives physically saved were the lives that were spiritually saved because of Paul’s witness. He took a tough situation as an opportune time to share the power of grace, and the Gospel message.
What about you? Are you facing troubles? Let your focus be upward, and you will discover the power of grace within your life. Furthermore, take tough situations as an opportunity to lead people, as Paul did, to the Savior’s outstretched arms of grace.
Christ will reveal His grace within you. Are you willing?
He will empower you with grace to conquer the trial that you face. Most importantly, He will use you as a vessel of His grace.
How can you share God’s grace with others?
Father God, help me to model Paul’s reliance on You.
In Jesus’ name, amen.
Copyright 2016: The Power of Grace: Diane Virginia: All Rights reserved
Published: Winter 2015: The Secret Place: Devotional Magazine: M. Ingrid and Wayne E. Dvirnak, Senior Editors: Judson Press: Valley Forge, PA