[Some excerpts on this very important scripture and subject. How do we get the power
to live this Christian life? God teaches us as told in these excerpts and scripture verses.
He takes much time to teach us…as H.A. Ironside said: “may we enter into these truths
more and more.”]
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. 2 Cor.12:9
“[For] whenever I am weak, then, just then, I am strong, I am able; it when I ask Him to be my all, in the confidence of self-despair, then for all things I have power: ‘I can do all things through Christ which strengthens me.’ (Philippians 4: 13)
This…is a word spoken by the Lord Jesus, in and from His glory, to a disciple still wrestling along the path of the pilgrimage. None is more precious, more pregnant of ‘comfort and good hope through grace’, more full of the unutterable heart of Jesus, than this.
We should know nothing of it had not Paul opened up this holy secret of his soul…of that crisis of awful need and of wonderful deliverance. Let us not take up this treasure lightly. It is a sacred thing, not only in itself, but because of our getting it through this personal disclosure and confession. Deep souls (and St. Paul’s indeed, was one) do not lightly open up their secrets. The more let us reverence and prize the gift when, as here, for our sakes and for the Lord’s glory, the effort is made, the sacrifice of individual feeling is offered up.
Such ‘crying out’ will not weaken us; it will only strengthen us. For it is the outgoing of our soul not only to infinite kindness, but at the same moment to infinite wisdom and strength. It is taking refuge in the Rock. It is ‘coming to the Living Stone.’ And that (1 Pet.2: 4,5) is the way to become ‘living stones’ ourselves, by contact, by [fellowship].
So ‘he besought the Lord thrice’. He was answered. There was a divine attention and response. The Lord quite understood his servant. It must have been a help to the servant, heart-broken with the struggle, to reflect that he appealed to One who once said Himself, ‘Reproach hath broken my heart’. [‘Reproach hath broken my heart; and I am full of heaviness: and I looked for some to take pity, but there was none; and for comforters, but I found none.’ Psalm 69: 20].
St. Paul could be sure, then, as we may be sure now, of that Friend’s supreme ‘acquaintance with grief’. The thorn was not willed away. But then and there in all His fullness, in His all-sufficient present Self (for ‘grace’ is just the Lord of all love and power Himself, in action for us), Jesus Christ was given to this saint. In the power of that gift the saint found on a sudden that the dread adversity had changed its character and position. It was not upon his head, overwhelming. It was beneath his feet, overcome. It had been transformed into ‘an occasion’, not ‘of falling’, but of ‘mounting up with wings’. ‘I take pleasure in distresses, that the power of Christ may rest upon me’.
‘As then, so now’. That ear is not heavy today, nor that arm shortened, nor that grace less
sufficient. The story has often been told (it is authentic; it was the experience of a great servant of God recently in our midst) of the agonized [petitioner] who, as he cried with tears, ‘Let Thy grace be sufficient for me’, lifted his wet eyes and saw upon the wall, lately hung there, the words, ‘My grace is sufficient for thee’. The ‘is’ was painted bright and conspicuous, and it caught his eye and filled his heart; and he rose up, there and then, to a new life of peace and power.
Yes, it is true today. It is an everlasting present tense.
‘It is sufficient’, and ‘for thee.’
(2 Corinthians – H.C.G. Moule, D.D.)
“The weaker I am the better opportunity Christ has to manifest Himself in me.” H.A. Ironside
“Three times the apostle asks Him that the thorn may be taken away; but the divine life is
fashioned in the putting off of self….Happy for us when it is by the way of prevention, and not by the humiliation of a fall, as was the case with Peter! The difference is plain. There it was self- confidence mingled with self-will in spite of the Lord’s warnings. Here, though still the flesh, the occasion was the revelations which had been made to Paul. If we learn the tendency of the flesh in the presence of God, we come out of it humble, and we escape humiliation. But in general (and we may say in some respects with all) we have to experience the revelations that lift us up to God, whatever their measure may be, and we have to experience what the vessel is in which it is contained, by the pain it gives us through the sense of what it is–I do not say through falls.
God, in His government, knows how to unite sufferings for Christ, and the discipline in the flesh, in the same circumstance; and this explains Hebrews 12:1-11.
The apostle preached…In the presence of God, in the third heaven…he truly felt that man was nothing, and Christ everything. He must acquire the practical experience of the same thing below. The flesh must be annulled.[ Romans 6]…the suppression of the flesh felt and judged was a most profitable exercise of the heart. Thus humbled, we learn our dependence. All that is of us, all that constitutes self, is a hindrance; the infirmity is that in which it is put down, laid low, in which weakness is realized. The power of Christ is perfected in it. Death is the opposite of the strength of man. Nevertheless it is in it that the strength of Christ revealed itself.
It is not sin in the flesh that is the subject here when infirmity is spoken of, but what is contrary to the strength of man. Paul needed to have the flesh reduced to weakness, in order that there
might not be in it the motion of sin which was natural to it. When the flesh was reduced to its true nothingness as far as good is concerned, and in a manifest way, then Christ could display His strength in it.
But this nevertheless was realized by painful experiences. Christ unfolds in him that strength which could not associate itself with the strength of man, nor depend on it in any way whatsoever. If the instrument was weak…the power which had wrought must have been– not its power, but that of Christ.
As to what he is in himself, he has to be brought to utter nothingness. But neither the glorying in the man in Christ, nor his being made nothing of in flesh, is power: the latter is the path to it; but then, being nothing, Christ’s power is with him, rests on him, and here he has power in service, the man in Christ his own place—Christ in, or His power on, the man, his strength to serve. So that we have the highest apprehension of the Spirit, the lowest failure in flesh, and the way of power in making nothing of the latter. Christ’s power being thereon with us, practical power while in the body.” —J.N. Darby, Synopsis of the books of the Bible, Vol.4
“For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts,
to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.
But we have this treasure [Jesus Christ] in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the
power may be of God, and not of us.” 2 Cor. 4:6-7
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