Grace and the Prison of Self-Sufficiency

Grace and the Prison of Self-Sufficiency

Grace and The Prison of Self-Sufficiency.

The problem with self-sufficiency is that one is under the delusion that God is unnecessary, and thus simple pride is keeping him or her from the position of weakness, which is when God’s power and presence is most evident. Weakness is God’s gift to keep us from becoming self-sufficient. As believers, we live into grace-sufficiency. (swl).

“I have worked much harder, been in prison more frequently, been flogged more severely, and been exposed to death again and again. Five times I received from the Jews the forty lashes minus one. Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was stoned, three times I was shipwrecked. I spent a night and a day in the open sea. I have been constantly on the move. I have been in danger from rivers, from bandits, from my own countrymen, from Gentiles; in danger in the city, in the country, at sea, from false brothers. I have labored and toiled and have often gone without sleep; I have known hunger and thirst and have often gone without food. I have been cold and naked. Besides everything else, I face the daily pressure of my concern for all the churches. Who is weak, and I do not feel weak? If I must boast, I will boast of the things that show my weakness.” (St. Paul, 2 Corinthians 11:23-3).

The Gift of Weakness. Weakness is a lack of strength due to: sickness; a handicap; an ongoing difficulty; a distressing hardship; insulting opposition; a glaring vulnerability; a limitation that puts one at a disadvantage; the bearing of a difficult burden of someone else; the inability to do something for one’s self.

“I was given the gift of a handicap to keep me in constant touch with my limitations. Satan’s angel did his best to get me down; what he in fact did was push me to my knees. At first I didn’t think of it as a gift, and begged God to remove it. Three times I did that, and then he told me: ‘My favor and lovingkindness are enough for you; My merciful love is all you need. In fact, my strength comes into its own in your weakness. My power shows itself most effective when you are weak.’ Therefore, I will all the more gladly glory in my weakness and infirmities, so that the strength of Christ Jesus may pitch a tent over me and dwell upon me. Now I take limitations in stride and with good cheer, taking pleasure in opposition, in bad breaks, in insults, in weaknesses, in perplexities, in distresses, and in all kinds of hardships. I just let Christ take over! For when I am weak in human strength, then am I truly powerful in divine strength. The weaker I get, the stronger I become!” (2 Corinthians 12:7-10; a weaving together of the Message, NIV, and the Amplified Bible versions).

(from Ken Gire, Windows of the Soul):

“Help me, God, to realize

It is in being crippled that I learn to cling,

and in limping that I learn to lean,

That victory comes not in how courageously I struggle

 but in how completely I surrender;

And that this is how I am to grow,

by being defeated, decisively,

 by constantly greater things.

Help me to understand that your power is perfected in weakness,

so that when I am rendered weak,

you are given the opportunity to be shown strong.”