Where would we be without Christ? We are each in desperate need of His grace, whether for salvation, or to grow and serve the Lord as a Christian. The body of Christ is so diverse, yet we all are daily recipients of His grace. I am always touched by the stories of people who were saved when they were on a dark and dangerous road. Those who can say, “I should be dead, but Christ rescued me out of the depths.” But there is also something very beautiful in the testimony of the person who says, “I did everything I could to be a good person. But I still needed Jesus.”
In the Bible we see powerful men humbled by the gospel and humble men empowered by the gospel. Isn’t that encouraging? No matter where we come from in life, no matter what talents we have, no matter how big or little we are in our own eyes, we all need the grace of God in equal measure. We all need grace for salvation, to bring us eternal life and a relationship with God. In the same way, we need grace to live the Christian life. Grace to empower and enable godliness and service to God.
“Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think of anything as being from ourselves, but our sufficiency is from God, who also made us sufficient as ministers of the new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life (2 Corinthians 3:5-6).”
What an encouraging verse! When I read this verse I’m reminded of two things:
For those areas I feel weak, I am reminded that, that is okay, because God is sufficient to work through me. He will empower me for His work that is beyond my ability.
And for those areas I feel strong I am reminded to pause and pray for the leading and work of the Holy Spirit and not rely on myself, because I am not sufficient in anything, to think of anything as being from myself, but my sufficiency is from God.
Sometimes I think we are tempted to live the Christian life in our own strength, depending on our own resources. Some of us might get pretty far on our own talents. But when we get to heaven we will see whether our work was built on the foundation of Christ and each one’s work will be tested, of what sort it is (1 Corinthians 3:11-13).
In 2 Corinthians 2:12-14 Paul describes a series of unexpected circumstances that could be seen as discouraging, or even confusing. But he ends by saying, “thanks be to God who always leads us in triumph in Christ…” That is the beauty of depending on the Lord. Our triumph does not depend on circumstances or feelings. Triumph in Christ looks like following the Lord day by day and walking through the trials of life with the Lord Jesus. On earth we often measure things by whether they appear successful or not. These verses show us that what didn’t look successful was indeed triumph in Christ.
I think about the work the Lord has given to Jeff and I. We have plans and dreams in our service to the Lord. It is up to God’s plan though, and not our own. Life and ministry will not look exactly as we plan. This is a beautiful thing because it is the Lord we are following, and as servants, we just offer ourselves day by day and follow His lead and His Spirit. This is what Paul is reminding us in these verses. Follow the Lord’s leading one day at a time, and He always leads us in triumph. It is undeniable that He is working and leading us every step of the way. In the midst of the seasons of waiting, seasons of busyness, seasons of joy, and seasons of struggle, Christ is leading us in triumph.