Inadequacy or His All-sufficiency?
In his heart-on-the-sleeve second letter to the Corinthian church, Paul frequently expresses his delight in God’s all-sufficiency while admitting his personal inadequacies. For example, he writes: “Not that we are sufficient of ourselves … but our sufficiency is from God, who also made us sufficient as ministers of the new covenant” (2 Corinthians 3:5, 6).
This lesson is probably one of the most important truths to grasp: humbly recognising our inadequacy while diving into the all-sufficiency of our God.
Paul then tells of a time when he was really backed-up into a tight corner. He felt the Lord affirm him with these words: “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness” (2 Corinthians 12:9). Notice two important things here. Firstly, the phrase, “My grace is sufficient for you” does not mean God’s grace is just enough … rather it means, grace is more than enough! Paul had just a little earlier explained: “And God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance for every good work” (2 Corinthians 9:8).
Wow! Could he add any more superlatives there?! And secondly, God’s strength is made perfect when we recognise our “weakness;” a word not referring to “unrighteousness” or character flaws, but meaning, “our inability to produce results”. Ever felt like that?
Paul then declares: “Therefore I will take pleasure in infirmities … in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong” (2 Corinthians 12:10). Wow! Rather than feeling insecure and vulnerable in his weakness, he actually delights in it. Notice, he does not say, “When I am weak, then God is strong” – God is, of course, strong all the time! – rather he says, “When I am weak, then I am strong!”
Since Paul knew how to dive into the empowering waters of God’s all-sufficiency, humbly recognising his inabilities, he tapped into divine strength. He walked with El Shaddai, the All-Sufficient One.
And we’re also invited.