Thursday, June 20, 2013

weakness? sufficient grace or replacement grace?

“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong. (2 Cor. 12: 9–10) 

Heavenly Father, as I meditate on these words of Paul, I vacillate between feelings of anger and relief, for as a young follower of Jesus, I wasn’t taught to delight in weakness but rather to despise weakness, to deny weakness, to demonize weakness, to dethrone weakness. That’s why I totally understand Martin Luther’s statement that “bad theology is the worst taskmaster of all.” For I’ve suffered much under the merciless whip of several gospel distortions.

It was all about “the victorious Christian life”: overcoming and not underachieving, kind of like having a type A personality on spiritual steroids. I didn’t think in terms of sufficient grace, I wanted replacement grace— getting rid of anything unpleasant in my life. Thank you, Father, for rescuing me from this and other misrepresentations of life in Christ.

Thank you for the godly men and women you’ve brought into my life over the years, the humble and courageous servants of Jesus who’ve helped me understand the true riches of the gospel and the way of the cross. Increase their tribe, Lord; increase their tribe.

Father, I know I’m not to be defined by my weakness and brokenness, but I realize more than ever, that’s where Jesus meets me. I have no ability to change my heart. I very much want your power to rest on me. I very much need for your power to rest on me. I am desperate for all the sufficient grace you will give me.

As you continue to humble and gentle my heart, greatly increase my compassion toward others in their weakness and brokenness. Forgive my irritation, impatience, and avoidance of people whose need is much greater than my supply.

What a wonderful, merciful Savior you are, Jesus. Indeed, it was because you embraced the weakness of the cross that I can gladly boast in the weaknesses of my life and the more-than-sufficient supply of your grace. What a most profound, liberating, and hope-filled paradox. I pray in your holy and loving name. Amen.

Smith, Scotty (2011-09-01). Everyday Prayers: 365 Days to a Gospel-Centered Faith (p. 184). Baker Publishing Group.

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